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Is there a Dolphins Pro Bowler in the house? And a fill-in Dolphin impresses

by / 0 Comments / 2 View / November 20, 2018

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Tuesday evening:

So who on the Dolphins should be considered for the Pro Bowl?

The two who could have made the best case – Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant – are done for the season with injuries. Same with four-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton.

Five could make a case:

1) Left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who hasn’t allowed a sack this season according to the NFL. He missed the Green Bay game with a knee injury but hopes to return Sunday at Indianapolis.

2) Linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is third in the league with 89 tackles, with three forced fumbles and three interceptions.

3) Kicker Jason Sanders, who is tied for third in field goal accuracy (15 for 16, 93.8 percent).

4) Cornerback Xavien Howard, whose seven interceptions since Week 13, 2017 (his last 15 games) still leads the NFL. His 16 passes defended in that span are tied for fifth.

For the season, Howard has allowed 25 of 45 targets to be caught for 415 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions and an 88.7 rating in his coverage area.

5) Minkah Fitzpatrick. It’s unlikely he makes it because he’s a rookie playing multiple positions, but the 48.5 passer rating in his coverage area is best in the league for cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 20 times.

Fitzpatrick has allowed only 18 passes to be caught in 35 targets, for 130 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

Players for the game are determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 88 All-Star players who will be selected to the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Friday, December 14.

The Pro Bowl is Jan. 27 in Orlando. Rosters will be announced Dec. 18 on NFL Network.

Jake Brendel impressed the Dolphins during his debut at left guard against Green Bay and remained with the starters during Tuesday’s practice.

Brendel filled in for Ted Larsen during that Packers game and graded out well. Larsen has been nursing a neck injury.

Related stories from Miami Herald

“He did well,” Adam Gase said. “He played very aggressive. He finished as well as anybody that was playing on Sunday.

With Larsen, “you saw a couple of games where he came out of the game a couple of times for a decent amount of time and then he’d go back in,” Gase said. “Really, it got to the point where we needed to rest him and just see how his body recovers. Getting through the bye week, we’ve got him on a little program right now to build him back up and really see where he is when it comes Sunday.”

It would be very surprising if Brendel doesn’t start Sunday.

The Dolphins really do need to consider giving Vincent Taylor more playing time when he returns next year from an Oct. 25 foot injury that ended his season. According to the Dolphins, Taylor has made a tackle every 8.6 snaps since he came into the league in 2017 – the second best rate by an NFL defensive tackle in that period (minimum 200 snaps).

Davon Godchaux ranks 24th among defensive tackles on that list since the start of the 2017 season, one every 13.6.

▪ With only four healthy receivers on the roster (Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills, Brice Butler and Leonte Carroo), Gase said Carroo is ready for a potentially expanded role.

“He’s been here for a while,” Gase said. “He’s doing a lot for us in special teams right now and that’s big for our team because any time you can get somebody that steps in and does personal protector on punt and has a whole bunch of other roles, and is a wide out, that’s critical for us because that saves us a spot somewhere else and it gives us another number at that position.”

Quick stuff: T.J. McDonald and Xavien Howard have played 664 of Miami’s 669 defensive snaps, while Alonso has played all 669…. CBS is sending Dolphins-Colts to just 13 percent of the country on Sunday, with Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Bruce Arians on the call. Most of the country will get Steelers-Broncos instead.

A sad note: Several former Dolphins executives have died in recent years, including former team president Brian Wiedmeier from brain cancer in 2016 and former director of pro personnel Tom Heckert Jr. from amyloidosis in August, and most recently, Tom Braatz, who died Oct. 30 in Fort Laudedale at age 85.

Braatz, former executive vice president of football operations for the Green Bay Packers, was hired by Don Shula in as director of college scouting in 1992 and remained in that position until he retired in 2003.

During his 39-year career, 45 players Braatz drafted or acquired played in 117 Pro Bowls, and his teams competed in 17 playoff games.

Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain and Tim Bowens were among the Dolphins’ best picks during Braatz’s time in that position.

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