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Are Davis And Smith Future Dolphins Starters?

Are Davis And Smith Future Dolphins Starters?

While Cutler is getting loads of fanfare, guys like Davis and Smith are mostly unheralded

While Cutler is getting loads coverage, guys like Davis and Smith are mostly unheralded

Little known additions of Davis and Smith are gaining traction and attention

Most Miami Dolphins fans will barely, if at all, recognize the names Jesse Davis and Eric Smith. It’s quite the opposite with the Dolphins staff… and growing number of sportswriters.

First, so you know right off the bat that I’m not bloviating, even Armando Salguero said that Smith might end up taking Ja’Waun James spot by mid season if his health issue doesn’t change. And Omar Kelly highlighted Davis’ pull block against the 1st string Ravens defense that led to chunk yards.

You might say what do sportswriters know, anyway?

Then I’ll counter by saying do you realize the huge amount of snaps both players have received?

To me this biggest tell.

Davis played Left Guard from kickoff until the early third quarter, and then played Left Tackle from the 3rd into the 4th. That’s the entire game! Given the value of live reps this wasn’t done without long-term goals in mind.

Smith came in at the end of the 1st Qtr at Right Tackle and played there till the end of the game. Again, an extended appearance like this has purpose. Of Course, Week 3 will be a far more complete indicator.

Now Davis is the easier evaluation as he faced the Ravens first string for 3 drives and acquitted himself very well. Smith faced some 1st stringers, but most of his snaps came against 2nd stringers and lower. But, the great sign is that he dominated everyone he faced.

It will be huge if Miami can get productive players from the Davis and Smith signings

Nope… this isn’t hyperbole.

Below is a film and play study en masse to prove that my rum and cokes weren’t giving me ‘beer goggles’.

First, let’s look at Davis’ film.

Smith’s study will come in a second article.

Davis displayed point of attack power, technique, and even a fair amount of speed and agility to work the second level.

Below, #77 Davis (6’6” 321lbs) moves both Brandon Williams and Carl Davis with double-team help, mano-e-mano, and in chipping to get to the second level. Given that Williams is 6’1” and 340lbs and has the edge of both leverage and mass, and Carl Davis is big man as well at 6’5” 327lbs, this is no small feat.

Also, as a nice cherry on top, he displays an ability to work smaller and faster opponents on the move.

 

Here’s a still of the pull block. #77 is the key the RB is reading.

Davis also performed very well in his pass blocking assignments. For a big man he has excellent balance and technique, doesn’t lean or let his base break down, and has his head on a swivel to see the whole blocking picture.

#77 could very well be a steal of talent at the price

The second to last play in this clip is the only time he ‘allows’ pressure, and even in this one, it’s not his fault. He blocks a rusher, then passes him off, chips another blitzer en route to a third blitzer. The RB misses his assignment as can be seen in the pic  below with his ‘Uhh-Ohhh’ attempt at putting on the breaks.

In the last play, Brandon Williams offers a bit of respect at the end of a penalty.

 

I’m certainly not saying Davis’ game is perfect. While he seems to have little problem against strength, I did notice this on one play: OLB Za’Darius Smith made a hard outside move and got an excellent jump causing Davis to nearly whiff in run block. Now, given that this was a stretch run, he could simply have ‘allowed’ Za’Darius Smith run himself out of the play, as the inset on the right hints at. But next week I’ll pay close attention to see if this part of Davis’ game turns out to be a weakness.

Any price per head sportsbook will tell you, the universal rule in the NFL is, the more tape a player has the more likely that player will get exposed.

In summery, Davis’ play at Left Tackle was a notch or two below his play at Guard in Week two, as was his competition. This may be the reason he found his way to Miami in such an unheralded manner. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa as a Tackle by the Jets in 2015, but it seems that at that position he doesn’t have the same production.

But I’m here to tell this kid might just have found his home at Guard.

Yes, it’s still early and Week 3 can reveal a lot. But given what I’ve seen from Davis in both Week 1 and Week 2, Davis will not only make the team, he may even end up the starting LG. If Pouncy is healthy, I expect LG to be manned by either Kraig Urbik or Davis. If Pouncey is out for any reason, Urbik will be the starting Center and Davis WILL start at LG.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that Ted Larsen and Kraig Urbik‘s injury may have actually turned into an opportunity to find a ‘diamond in the ruff’–not saying Davis is a diamond… yet. But it’s sure looking like he’s far more diamond than coal. Then there’s the matter of undrafted Smith who too may not only just make the team, but also end up the starter in the future. That though, is for another article. Go Fins!!!


 

 

Edit: mono-e-mono to mano-e-mano. Thanks Jerry Gragg.

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9 comments

  • phinfreak

    Like this analysis and the film study. The thing that jumps out at me is aside from technique tweaks i.e. I would have preferred he kept his head on the outside of the defender during that pull, and he still needs to clean up his finishes – hes giving up on the blocks a little early for me, he never missed an assignment.

    I like this kid and my money is on him becoming the starting G.

    • admin

      Good points freak… didn’t notice, but I should have. If you look at him 2 years ago, he’s near totally transformed his body as he almost looked like a big TE. I think from what he’s showing that he has potential, either this year or the next to push for starter. BUT, that alone is much better than we were looking at at the start of camp as far as young talent… and much better than last year’s Turner and Thomas.

    • admin

      Urbik needs a knee scope “According to the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley, Gase himself has also endorsed first-year tackle Jesse Davis as someone who “has a legitimate shot” at taking over at left guard when week 1 rolls around.”

      • Lemmus

        …that same Beasley just gave the entire OL a major thumbs down, including Davis …just because he may start at LG doesn’t mean he is the future there …just that he’s the best of a rotten draw …and Gase at this point last year was still singing the praises of the turnstile twins …not exactly holding my breath here …hope you’re right mj, but I’ll have to see it to believe it

  • Lemmus

    …”beer giggles” from rum ‘n coke? only if you’ve had way too many …just sayin’ 🙂

    …and “mono a mono” is perfectly valid Espanol …one on one vs the more popular man on man …but literally and vernacularaly correct

    …like the study but I’m of course sceptical …you and Dun tend to wear rose colored shades where the fins are the topic imnsho …but I can’t fault what you think you saw and you’re both long overdue to be right about our OL for once

    …I am hyped by the receivers Cutler has …not just the WRs, but the TEs and the RBs …if Thomas and Ajayi can produce on that side of the ball, we may indeed be a legitimate threat …saw an ESPN article today that has the fins as a possible top 5 offense …considering the source, even one positive article is a huge turn about

    …still, it’s all hype until the rubber hits the road …the schedule is no small matter and we are literally on the road early and often against some strong competition …I live in the Buc’s backyard now and they have the 1st game vs Miami already down as a sure thing …so not everyone is a fins believer as yet

    …but we shall all see soon enough, eh

    • admin

      Thanks… from what I read the mano-e-mano has a dual meaning. Literally it was correct, but mano-e-mano as a saying means both one on one and hand to hand. So it’s good or better. Hey, I was the one screaming for Osmele last season! But I did like Larsen and he was put into LG… even though I didn’t think that was the best fit. We’ll see. But to have Davis play the entire game and do well means he will likely stick and someone unexpected is getting cut. I think Steen… can’t wait to remind Jimmy I was right. At this point it will be Urbik or Davis. IF Davis does pan out, it will force a tough cut when Larsen comes of IR. Hopefully they have those problems.

      Not sure about top 5 O. I’ll be able to gauge it better next week. But even top 10 would be great and if the D can crack the top 20 then we will see a nice 2017 season… long way to go before that.

    • admin

      “According to the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley, Gase himself has also endorsed first-year tackle Jesse Davis as someone who “has a legitimate shot” at taking over at left guard when week 1 rolls around.”

  • Dunner

    Nice article. Actually read this article on another site prior to coming back home to Phinsnews, Sweet! I was going to wait to read a Lemmus response before adding my 2 cents, since this is about our chronic O-Line position(s). Finally seems like there could be a find at one of the guard positions and possibly a quality back-up tackle for now with starter potential. Word on the street is that the game is starting to slow down for Asiata as well, more good signs. How great would that be at a much needed guard position. After a few weeks of dark clouds hovering over Davie (injuries), said clouds may be heading else where (Hopefully Northeast)! I agree Admin., I don’t anticipate a trade at this point, the answers very well could be in house.
    First; we may have lost the Ravens game on the scoreboard, but we actually won the game unlike the Falcons game (we came away healthy, no significant injuries, unlike winning and losing McMillan). So for me it was a victory.
    Nice to see Cutler out there sliding just enough to unleash his cannon. The man can throw it. Gase may just be Cutlers savior. And, Cutler may well just be Miami’s savior for ’17.
    Its obvious that our WR group is loaded, seems like our RB position is not far behind, if we only keep 3, easy decision, if we keep 4 RBs, tough decision ahead (I like Perrys running style and I’ve always liked S.Johnson). The J-Train looked like he hasn’t derailed one bit and he may actually be a receiving threat this season as well. I am super excited for this offense, top 10 should be expected, top 5 could be attainable (even w our guard situation Lemmus, lol).
    How about the rookie DTs??? Very nice surprise huh??? Godchaux will be starting next to Suh and Taylor may well be the second team DT. Have to be excited about those 2. Godchaux again displayed power and explosiveness against one of the better guards in Yanda.
    Xavien Howard looks like a potential star about to blossom. How about Verner, nice piece with the lose of Lippett. Maxwell looked like a savy vet that gets it. Jones has been missed and is nice to see out there. McDonald is a stud and can’t wait for week 9 to see him and Jones next to each other. I can’t see why this defense can’t at least be a decent defense ranking in the middle of the league. With its make up, players and a little luck with the injury bug, this defense could take a major leap forward.
    I know, it couldn’t be all roses, the field was atrocious, thank goodness it is being replaced. Hope that it takes and is ready for opening day.

    • admin

      I, like you, think Perry is the 4th. Storm made a couple of bad blocks and that is critical. Also, Perry it seems is a better runner. There is wiggle in his game. Storm has nice burst, but doesn’t have the details that Perry seems to have. He made a few runs where he worked very well in close quarters and looked very smooth. Really looking to see if this was an aberration or he is a player.

      Team is starting to show a little swell from the middle and back of the roster. This is a great sign. But it’s far from conclusive at this point. This week will be huge!!! So psyched!!

      It was a brutal start of the season, and finally some good is rising up to help smooth over the bad. But again, this is still too early to tell, but it does offer hope.

      Yeah, Phins.com was gracious enough to take us on and give us a chance to hang on the coat tails of the big boys…