The Miami Dolphins edged closer to finalizing their 53 man roster, but had a change of direction with special teams.
First while the Dolphins had 5 non-drafted players make the team, the Dolphins made some last minute cuts and ended the Dolphins career of kicker Andrew Franks.
For Franks, missing field goals ultimately did him in even though he helped propel the Dolphins into the playoffs with a clutch 57 yard kick at Buffalo putting the Dolphins in overtime.
In addition, the Sam Young at guard/center experiment is over in favor of Eric Smith of Virginia-an un-drafted free agent.
Notwithstanding the cuts of key offensive talent such as Storm Johnson at running back and wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow-claimed by the Jets, the biggest impact name was Justin March-Lillard at linebacker.
Since the Dolphins have been a little light on depth at linebacker for a few seasons, it was time to pick up help on special steams and shore up the linebacker position.
Other surprises included Franks who was replaced by Cody Parkey-who if you remember gave the Dolphins their first win in 2016 with three missed field goals, one in overtime.
For Parkey, and 84.6 percent average (55-65) field goals made was enough to submit the waiver claim after being cut by the Browns.
The Dolphins in addition, cut punter Matt Darr in favor of Matt Haack (pronounced Hawk), rookie out of Arizona State who averaged 43.0 yards per punt during his 4 year college career (Sports Reference CFB). Haack was signed on May 5th, just after the draft so he must have impressed both coach Rizzi and coach Gase.
Cutting David Fales had to be the toughest cut of all for Adam Gase and his coaching staff. Not only was Fales a preseason star, he lit it up in his last and final game and was cut because the Dolphins have more confidence in Moore.
The move was surprising, but since Gase spent a season with Fales in Chicago, it made sense to cut him since he would have a legit opportunity to get onto another team. What Gase did for Fales was a tremendous retooling of his mechanics, footwork, and finally developed his deep throw (something Fales didn’t do at San José State under McIntyre).
More and more Dolphins were falling in love with Fales, but remember it was a preseason of strong stats versus second, third, and fourth string players.
All in all, the Dolphins found a way to keep players that we didn’t know were solid picks for the 53 man roster such as Torry McTyer at cornerback. McTyer played solidly in spots and even took out Kenyan Drake in practice with a hit. Good physical players on the Dolphins can only prove to be an asset. McTyer was decent at UNLV with 134 total tackles and 3 interceptions in a 4 year career. It will be interesting how McTyer practices and ultimately plays.
For a list of the Dolphins cuts-check out thePhinsider.com, a Miami Dolphins fan site who provided an expansive list of cuts and additions.
As the Dolphins prepare for next week versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, know this, they are ready for week one and ready to roll with this 53 for better or worse.
Update: Sam Young (OT) was re-signed this morning per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.