5 Things We Learned from Miami Dolphins Hard Knocks Season Finale
A very interesting offseason has come to a close for the Miami Dolphins, but the foundation has only been laid for the season to come. What lies ahead will be much more important than anything we watched over the past five weeks on Hard Knocks.
That being said, the HBO crew made sure we were rewarded for tuning into their show week after week. This week was no different.
With final cutdowns being handed down this week, there was no shortage of drama, and HBO squeezed every last ounce out of it by showing the cuts in their gruesome entirety.
But the releasing of several fringe players we have come to love wasn't the only thing we were exposed to this week. Here's everything from the final episode of the season in a nutshell.
Chris Hogan Needs to Improve Against Top Competition
Former Dolphins wide receiver Chris Hogan impressed many of his teammates and earned the nickname "7-Eleven" because he was always open. His coaches weren't as impressed.
"The only thing about Hogan is that he doesn't play like a 200-pound receiver. He plays like a 180-pound guy," said special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, adding, "He gets bounced around a little bit. He has to play bigger, play more physical."
That disappointment led to him eventually being cut. And the Dolphins did so by leaving a voicemail.
"This is Brian Gaine with the Dolphins offices. Sorry to have to make this call, but the team's going to be releasing you this morning. Could you come upstairs? [General Manager] Jeff [Ireland] wants to meet with you."
But they didn't completely close the door on 7-Eleven, leaving the possibility open for a spot on the practice squad.
Philbin told Hogan, "It's one of those things where we see you do all the right things against the three's and the two's, but we need to see it versus guys you're going to be facing day-by-day."
Jarrell Root Can Sing
There was a nice scene with Jarrell Root sitting with his legs in the pool next to his then-teammate defensive linemen Isaako Aaitui. The two were playing guitar, with Aaitui trying to instruct Root how to play.
The struggles grew frustrating for Root, who instead sang along with Aaitui while he played "My Girl".
These would be the least of his struggles, as he would find himself injured during the game against the Dallas Cowboys, and then a victim of cutdown day later on.
Speed Kills, but Slow Development Killed Clyde Gates Chances at a Roster Spot
Clyde Gates was drafted by the Tony Sparano regime as a hopeful developmental prospect for his elite speed and the hope that he could blow the top off a defense.
He takes great pride in his tattoos and his style, but he began rubbing the wrong people the wrong way.
"Is Clyde Gates for real?" asked Philbin. "You may just want to put your jersey on, let's see you run a couple of routes and catch a couple of passes, you know?"
For Jets fans wondering what their team got in Gates, Philbin added that he is "a neophyte as a route runner."
So why didn't the Dolphins give up on him? Ireland said it was because of his top-line speed, but that wasn't enough to earn him a spot on the 53-man roster.
"I was expecting you to develop as fast as anyone that I've ever seen," said Ireland when telling Gates he had been cut, "and it just didn't happen the way I thought it was going to happen."
Needless to say, Ireland didn't sound thrilled about losing Gates to the Jets.
Pat Devlin's Development Played a Role in David Garrard's Release
The Miami Dolphins released David Garrard on Tuesday afternoon, and if Garrard's questionable health wasn't enough, it appears that a heightened level of optimism over the development of Pat Devlin may have played a role in the move.
"Pat Devlin's gotten better," said Philbin. "He's throwing the ball well."
Devlin didn't exactly light up the stat sheet in the preseason, going 29-for-49 passing for 246 yards with a touchdown and a pick, but he did enough to impress the coaching staff.
"Where'd you and Coach Philbin go to dinner last night?" asked Mike Sherman, jokingly referring to the close relationship between Devlin and the head coach.
Philbin said, "Again, I don't want to be—he's a little bit of a teacher's pet—I don't want to be too high on the kid, but I think he's really improved."
As for tight end coach Dan Campbell's comparison of Devlin to Tony Romo, the Cowboys starting quarterback, jokingly told his former positional coach, "Don't you ever compare me to another quarterback again!"
Jake Long Will Be Ready for Week 1
The Dolphins got quite the spook when left tackle Jake Long got his leg rolled up on in practice. It turns out what might have been a worst-case scenario didn't end up so bad after all.
Trainer Kevin O’Neill told Ireland and Philbin that Long suffered a Grade 1 or 2 sprain, and said that he would be ready for the game.
The injury had been reported by The Palm Beach Post about a week ago, but it turns out that should be more than enough time for him to get back to full health.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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