Posts Tagged ‘Nolan Carroll’

Miami Dolphins Deal CB Vontae Davis to Colts

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Vontae DavisLast season, Vontae Davis claimed that he was one-half of the NFL’s best cornerback tandem. Today, the Dolphins traded the 24-year-old to the Indianapolis Colts for a second and a conditional sixth round draft pick, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.

“We appreciate all the contributions Vontae has made to the Dolphins since we drafted him in 2009 and we want to wish him the best of success in Indianapolis,” said GM Jeff Ireland in a press release.

Davis, drafted 25th overall in 2009, had started 36 games of 44 games for Miami over three seasons, racking up 143 tackles, nine interceptions — including a team-high four in 2011 — and one sack, but never seemed to get on the right track with the new coaching staff, who questioned his maturity and conditioning. Davis had already lost his starting job to free agent pickup Richard Marshall, and the Hard Knocks cameras showed Coach Joe Philbin pulling No. 21 aside for his unprofessional behavior during training camp.

Having already dealt Brandon Marshall for a pair of third-round picks and released Chad Johnson during the offseason, the front office and coaching staff have shown a commitment to high character, but have also done little to replace three of their most skilled players on the field in the short-term (Terrell Owens, anyone?) while starting a rookie quarterback who has been up-and-down in the preseason.

While picking up future assets is essential for a rebuilding team, in Davis, the Dolphins are giving up on another young player with Pro Bowl-caliber talent, while also losing significant depth at cornerback, where Marshall, Sean Smith and Nolan Carroll are the only players with veteran experience.

After losing their first seven games to begin last season, there might be a sense of déjà vu in South Florida in 2012.

Best of luck to Davis, who will get a chance to face his former team in Week 9 at Indianapolis.

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 6: Ben Volin

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Dolphins are off to an 0-3 start following a heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post joins us to talk about the team’s future. The topics up for discussion include conservative and questionable play-calling; continued defensive breakdowns and poor chemistry between Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall; and the status of the coaching staff and front office.

[buzzsprout episode=”32370″ player=”true”]

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

Return of the Mack: Dolphins Sign Clifton Smith

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Hate him or love him, the Dolphins were going to miss Ted Ginn Jr.’s speed and playmaking ability on special teams (not so much in the receiving game).  Sure, he’d run out of bounds and try to avoid contact, but he also ranked fifth in kick return yards (1,296) and 14th kickoff return average (24.92) in the NFL last season.

In comes KR/PR Clifton “Batman” Smith, who could end up rivalring Brandon Marshall as the team’s most impactful and game-changing addition of the offseason.  After being waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, the return specialist chose to sign with Miami after also working out for the Green Bay Packers.

The 25-year-old was initially signed to the Bucs’ practice squad as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and went on to be selected to the Pro Bowl after ranking second in the NFL in punt return average (14.1) and sixth in kickoff return average (27.6).  Despite appearing in only nine games, he finished sixth in total punt return yards and (324), and scored on a 97-yard kickoff return and a 70-yard punt return.  Smith went on to improve his yards per kickoff to 29.1 (second in the league) in 2009, and his career average of 28.3 tops all active players and is the fifth-highest in NFL history.

Smith will likely take over primary punt-return duties from Davone Bess, who’s quietly been one of the worst at the position in the NFL.  Over the last two seasons, Bess has returned 49 punts, the 11th-highest total in the league, but his 8.98 yards per return rank 25th out of 35 qualified players.  Smith’s 12.09 average, on the other hand, is second behind only the New York Giants’ Dominik Hixon (12.15).

In even better news, Patrick Cobbs, who’s coming back from knee surgery, will now be relieved from handling kickoffs.  Since entering the league in 2007, he’s posted the second-lowest kickoff return average (20.48) among 72 players with at least 25 returns.  Fifth-round pick Nolan Carroll was also in contention for the job, but didn’t fare much better during the preseason by averaging 22.8 yards on nine returns.

Of course, Pro Bowl-caliber players in their prime don’t get released for no reason.  For all of his special teams contributions, Smith is virtually non-existent on offense, rushing four times for just seven yards last year.  There are legitimate concerns about his durability after a pair of concussions limited the 5-foot-8, 190-pound dynamo to 11 games in 2009 and lingering knee pain forced him to miss two 2010 preseason games.  He’s has also been extremely fumble-prone, losing the ball a whopping seven times (tied with Bess and Ginn, among others, for ninth among non-quarterbacks over the last two years) in only 20 games.

Despite the concerns, there’s no question that Smith is one of the best return specialists in the game and presents a significant upgrade for the Dolphins.  Barring injuries, he’s not likely to receive a lot of carries as the team’s fifth RB, but running behind a better offensive line in Miami should allow him to be a bigger factor on those rare occasions.

Smith will get his first test against the Buffalo Bills, who were held opponents to 21.5 yards per kickoff return (7th-best in the NFL) and 7.7 yards on punt returns (11th), on Sunday.

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