Well, it looks like only one trade went down on Deadline Day – the Rams paid a 5th round pick to the Dolphins to get rid of CB AQIB TALIB. Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:
The Dolphins are buyers at the trade deadline. Sort of.
The Rams sent Aqib Talib and a fifth-round pick to the Dolphins for a future pick, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Without knowing what the future pick the Dolphins are sending back is, we can’t really assess that trade, but it seems likely that the future pick is actually worse than that fifth-rounder, and this is actually the Rams unloading the remainder of Talib’s salary this season. Talib is a vested veteran, which means his full salary is guaranteed for the rest of the season, and the Rams would have been on the hook for the rest of his salary if they had released him.
Talib becomes a free agent after the season.
Whether Talib actually plays for the Dolphins remains to be seen. He’s currently on injured reserve, and the Dolphins may just leave him there for the rest of the year and pocket that pick from the Rams.
All the other trade targets – CB CHRIS HARRIS of the Broncos, T TRENT WILLIAMS of the Redskins, TE O.J. HOWARD of the Buccaneers, everyone not named QB SAM DARNOLD of the Jets – stayed put.
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The Patriots and 49ers have played the two easiest schedules in the NFL – and it’s not even close.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
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The Colts can take on salary and the Vikings cannot. Albert Breer has the whole list:
1) Colts $43.56M
2) Browns $32.72M
3) Dolphins $29.02M
4) Bills $24.66M
5) Titans $24.44M
6) Raiders $22.89M
7) Chiefs $22.63M
8) Eagles $21.95M
9) Cowboys $21.73M
10) Texans $21.34M
11) Lions $19.88M
12) Bears $16.77M
13) Broncos $15.68M
14) Panthers $14.55M
15) Bengals $13.81M
16) Redskins $13.36M
17) Jaguars $9.61M
18) Packers $9.57M
19) 49ers $9.15M
20) Buccaneers $6.44M
21) Seahawks $6.26M
22) Jets $5.98M
23) Falcons $5.78M
24) Rams $4.38M
25) Chargers $4.35M
26) Cardinals $3.87M
27) Steelers $3.00M
28) Patriots $2.49M
29) Giants $2.09M
30) Saints $2.04M
31) Ravens $1.52M
32) Vikings $754K
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The DB’s Tuesday morning chatter in texts and at water cooler is all about two things from Monday night.
This, from Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com is one of them:
No one expected Monday night’s Dolphins-Steelers game to be a good one, but one part of the game in particular, at the end of the third quarter, was so bad that it should cause the league office to take notice of what a mess officiating has become.
That was the moment when the Steelers challenged the spot on a run by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the ensuing delay lasted 10 minutes.
That’s right: Ten minutes between Fitzpatrick’s run, which was reviewed and overturned on replay, and the start of the next play. Halftime in the NFL lasts 13 minutes, and the delay at the end of the third quarter was basically another halftime.
On fourth-and-1, Fitzpatrick ran the ball and was initially ruled to get a first down. The clock ran down to the end of the fourth quarter.
But then Steelers coach Mike Tomlin challenged the spot, and it was ruled that Fitzpatrick was down short of the line to gain. So it was Steelers ball, first-and-10. This should have taken maybe a minute to review, but for some reason it took much longer.
The referee re-spotted the ball, then brought the chains out to measure, and signaled that the Dolphins were short.
As the on-field officials talked and the referee communicated with the officiating office, the review kept going, and going, and going. It shouldn’t have taken more than another minute to see how much time was on the clock when Fitzpatrick went down and to give the Steelers the ball there, but it did.
The operative word in “instant replay” should be “instant.” The league office needs to use the available technology to fix bad calls quickly and get the game going again. A replay review should never take 10 minutes. Referees should have a sense of urgency to keep the game moving. Officiating in the NFL is a mess, and the league doesn’t seem to feel a sense of urgency to fix it.
The other was the strange defense called by the Dolphins before the half. Safid Deen of the Orlando Sun-Sentinel:
The Miami Dolphins were clicking on all cylinders.
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The Dolphins jumped out to a two-score lead, had Pittsburgh Steelers fans in Heinz Field booing their beloved home team, and were making an impression on a national stage during Monday Night Football.
Coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins seemed primed to finally get their first win of the season.
That’s before one questionable play-call, shortly before halftime, derailed their momentum.
Pittsburgh scored 27 unanswered points to beat Miami, 27-14, handing the Dolphins their seventh straight loss to start the season.
And it brought the issue the now 0-7 Dolphins franchise has been dealing with all season: Are they truly tanking to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft?
“I don’t have any regrets on the call,” Flores said after the game. “They made a play just like we made some plays prior to that defensively. We just move on.”
The Dolphins had quarterback Mason Rudolph and the Steelers offense facing a third-and-20 from the Miami 45-yard line with 17 seconds left until halftime.
Then, Flores and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham called for an all-out blitz leaving just three defenders to man the secondary in prevent defense in excess of 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Rudolph threw a short pass to receiver Diontae Johnson in the middle of the field, Howard fell out of position on the left side of the field, and the Steelers scored a 45-yard touchdown to trim Miami’s lead to, 14-10, in the final seconds of the first half.
It was an aggressive defensive play-call when the Dolphins had down, distance, field position and momentum all in their favor.
And the Dolphins paid for it.
“We have to make a play. We have to get to the quarterback. Cornerbacks have to do their job,” Howard said.
“It was major. At the end of the day, you look back on it, it definitely hurt us,” starting linebacker Jerome Baker added.
Added defensive tackle Davon Godchaux: “Once they got that touchdown, that was all the momentum they needed.”
The hole in the Miami defense, said some, was big enough to drive a tank through. Tank, get it?