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Aaron Rodgers says Luke Getsy’s next stop is ‘probably head coach.’ But first Getsy must unlock Justin Fields’ potential and revive the Chicago Bears offense.

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Aaron Rodgers Says Luke Getsy’s Next Stop Is ‘Probably Head Coach.’ But First Getsy Must Unlock Justin Fields’ Potential And Revive The Chicago Bears Offense.
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When the Chicago Bears left the field at halftime of Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers down 7-0, the offensive coaches and players didn’t have a lot of positive stats to discuss on the rainy day.

The Bears didn’t reach 49ers territory until there were 2 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second quarter and even on that drive failed to get points because of an odd towel penalty on a field-goal attempt. Bears quarterback Justin Fields had completed 3 of 9 passes for 19 yards with an interception and a 2.8 passer rating. The Bears had 68 net offensive yards, and no wide receiver or tight end had a catch.

Yet as the Bears regrouped in the locker room for what would become a 19-point second half in a comeback win, Fields saw body language from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy that “brought everybody (to) their feet.”

Getsy was smiling.

“It’s confident,” Fields said Wednesday. “That’s one thing that I take from him, he’s a very confident guy. He gives the rest of the guys confidence. I didn’t ask him why (he was smiling). That’s just how he is.”

As Getsy prepares this week to return to Green Bay, where he spent seven seasons coaching for the Packers, the first-time NFL offensive coordinator still has a long way to go to have Chicagoans smiling on a consistent basis.

There has been a lot of false hope over the last decade about the Bears offense, which finished 22nd or worse in the league in scoring in seven of those seasons.

Enter Getsy, who spent his previous three seasons as the quarterbacks coach for Aaron Rodgers, the player whose brilliance on the field has deepened the wound of the Bears’ ineptitude at the position. Again there’s hope, though maybe more tentative and fragile this time, that Getsy, the offensive leader hired by defensive-minded head coach Matt Eberflus, can help unlock a different style of brilliance from Fields.

Getsy is operating with confidence as he tries.

When asked Thursday about his halftime demeanor, Getsy returned a compliment to Fields, saying the quarterback’s “stone cold” mentality helped get the Bears through their struggles. It’s an attitude Getsy tries to model for his players.

“I try to be as consistent of a person every day for those guys,” Getsy said. “Positive energy is important to me.”

Getsy’s conviction comes from a coaching climb in which he has solidified his belief in who he is, how he wants to teach and what he values in an offense.

A ‘pretty strong dream’

Bears fans’ fear, premature but potentially valid, already has been expressed on sports radio and social media.

If Getsy actually succeeds in reviving the Bears offense, he could go the way of so many young, gifted offensive coaches before him — to a head coaching job. And with forgiveness for being asked about the topic before he even started his first game as Bears offensive coordinator, Getsy agreed that is his ultimate goal.

“I think so, yeah,” he told the Tribune last week.

Getsy, 38, thinks at one point in his career he might have said he didn’t want to be a head coach. He was turned off by his experience as a player at the NFL combine, when “they try to turn you into a recording” and subsequently feeling like he needed to conform to some predetermined mold in coaching interviews.

But working under guys who brought their own personalities to their jobs helped convince him he would like it. That started with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and continued with Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State, Matt LaFleur with the Packers and now Eberflus.

“I watched (McCarthy) and I got to see a guy be humble, a guy get to be himself and not have to put on some show or be a fake person,” Getsy said. “(Watching all of them) proves you can be yourself and you can attack it the way you want to and still have success and people will rally around you. So it’s becoming a pretty strong dream of mine now.”

Coaching wasn’t necessarily the dream when Getsy was a quarterback at Akron, where he threw for 6,117 yards and 41 touchdowns over two seasons.

He signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2007, but they released him before the season, and he went back to Akron to train between tryouts with other teams. Zips coaches asked him to help, noted his aptitude for coaching and suggested he try it full time.

Getsy had to discard the idea of playing in other professional leagues as he began a coaching career that took him to five colleges in seven years, but the NFL dream was still alive.

“Even though maybe I didn’t have the ability to play in the league, I wanted to be a part of it,” Getsy said. “How it happened, it happened organically. I wasn’t necessarily chasing it, but when it was there, I was prepared to jump on it.”

After joining the Packers as an offensive quality control coach in 2014, he was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2016 and worked with Davante Adams during Adams’ rise to becoming one of the best receivers in the league. Former Packers offensive coordinator and current Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said at the NFL owners meetings in the spring that Adams and Getsy learned from each other and that “Luke’s fingerprints are on that — 100%.”

Hackett noted Getsy’s ability to connect with people has helped him on his rise. And part of that ability comes from how Getsy strives to be his authentic, passionate self.

“Later in my career, I just got to the point where I’m going to talk about what I believe in, I’m going to talk about the kind of person I want to be, what I believe in — my faith and my family are important to me,” Getsy said. “And I’m not going to change my thoughts or my philosophies or my beliefs for somebody else to have a job or be in a position. That’s where you hear the authentic part of it. I truly believe in being myself and … I want to be an example for my children. And I would expect my children could be in that room and enjoy the experience the same.”

‘Constant dialogue’

When Getsy returned to Green Bay to be quarterbacks coach after a one-year stint at Mississippi State to work for Moorhead, the first season under LaFleur in 2019 wasn’t entirely smooth.

The new staff encountered bumps as they tried to merge Rodgers’ background with LaFleur’s vision of the offense.

“You had a guy who had been in a system for a really long time, and he became really strong in his beliefs and the way he wanted to play the game,” Getsy said. “And now here comes a new staff, new philosophies, new style and asking him to conform to that. Initially it just didn’t work.”

But as Getsy began to understand what LaFleur wanted and how Rodgers learned from past experiences, he tried to adjust his teaching.

“I was able to apply it a little bit more to the way I know Aaron likes to hear it, how he can reflect on what he’s done in his past and how really it’s not that (different),” Getsy said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, I know we called it this, but really we’re just trying to accomplish the same thing. We’re just calling it that.’ And then you give video evidence and then you talk about the footwork and how it matches and marries, and now there’s a connection. Once you have a connection to a play, you’re able to perform it at a much higher level. Each player is a little different in how they connect to that play.”

Hackett said Getsy was an “incredible communicator” during that process, and his understanding of the game was instrumental. With the help of LaFleur, Hackett and Getsy, who was named passing game coordinator for his final two seasons, Rodgers put together back-to-back MVP seasons in 2020 and 2021.

On Wednesday, Rodgers told reporters in Green Bay that Getsy, who is a few months younger than Rodgers, was a close friend and confidante, though the two are in “different stages of life.”

“He’s just a great human being, a great father, husband, phenomenal coach. He’s fun in the room,” Rodgers said. “I loved our constant dialogue during the week. I loved being coached by him and just kind of watching his development. … The next stop for him is probably head coach.”

Getsy has developed a tailored approach to working with players — from different motivating techniques to how he presents information — stemming from his experiences of how he connected with different coaches.

Getsy was never a guy who could read a book and then ace a test. He understands players absorb information in different ways, so he strives for a variety of presentations — film, slide shows, power points and demonstrations on the field and in various classroom settings around Halas Hall.

He records himself speaking and will make it available to players, so those who learn best by listening can watch it on their iPads. Coaches have used the multiple-choice quiz app Kahoot! to see who knows their homework. Getsy will call on people to teach or throw out snacks to those who get questions right.

“Now there are so many different ways technologically that people connect to each other,” Getsy said. “Why don’t we tap into those?”

Getsy also tries to keep it light. Early in his first stint with the Packers, he was struck by the idea that a team could simultaneously have fun and be demanding of focus at the same time. He doesn’t necessarily use the Star Wars references superfan Hackett incorporates in his teaching, but he adds his own twist.

“We might have a video, a GIF, a picture, but it’s always something,” running back Khalil Herbert said. “He’s going to have something on the slide and have a story with it to get the guys going and just make everybody laugh or be entertained.”

Offensive lineman Lucas Patrick, who at one point in the offseason called his confidence in Getsy “unshakable,” said the coach is good at knowing which players need tough love. That includes Fields, who has informed Getsy he wants him to “get on my ass.” And Getsy knows which ones need a softer approach too.

“Some guys need the pat on the butt and then some guys need you to pick him up on your shoulder and pull him along,” Patrick said. “He’s just really good at doing both.”

There’s no more important player for Getsy to connect with in Chicago than Fields.

Setting the standard

Getsy’s debut as an NFL playcaller comes with some scrutiny, and Fields’ smiling story might be met with a healthy dose of skepticism from the outside given the troubles the offense encountered moving the ball early on.

But what matters from that moment is how it affected Fields. And the quarterback so far has seemed satisfied with how his relationship with Getsy has developed. He called Getsy the best quarterbacks coach he has had, and that starts with Getsy’s ability to be straightforward. It also includes his understanding of the position from his time playing quarterback and coaching Rodgers.

“He’s not going to sugarcoat anything,” Fields told the Tribune. “He has a standard for us. And we’re going to have to meet that standard. Two, he’s the OC, but just his quarterback background with the feet. He has been around Aaron for a long time. So feet, timing, everything, he knows what it’s supposed to look like.”

Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian agreed Getsy is very clear about his expectations and standards but said the coach also allows some give and take with players about what they feel is best.

A criticism of Matt Nagy was that the coach was so married to his idea of what an offense should be that he didn’t take into account what worked best for his players. But Getsy has said from February that the Bears’ offensive identity would in large part be driven by what his players, and in particular his quarterback, do best. The Bears have shown glimpses of that so far with Fields, though a full game in better weather conditions could help give a better picture of the offense.

“It’s an interesting question for coaches, one I wonder too, is what’s the balance of input from players, and then falling back on the things you believe in and the principles you believe in,” Siemian said. “There is a balance there, and Luke does as a good job of anybody I’ve been around of striking that balance and getting feedback from players but also (maintaining) the standard, the expectations and the things he really believes in.”

In a season paramount to Fields’ development but with low outside expectations, it will be worth watching how Getsy maintains those standards when things get tough.

Getsy’s experience in Green Bay gave him exposure to how a winning team operates. The Packers were 78-35 with six playoff appearances in Getsy’s seven seasons there. But the Bears’ challenges this year will be a different animal than the bumps the Packers had with Rodgers in 2019.

Getsy’s halftime attitude in Sunday’s win and the adjustments that followed it — which Eberflus called “outstanding” but Getsy labeled as nothing “earth-shattering” — were at least a good start to how he handles adversity. He thought Bears coaches came up with a good plan together and stuck to it well.

“I’m a ‘feel’ guy. I’m an instinct person,” Getsy said. “That’s just how I’ve always been in my life. You get in the game, you’ve got some instincts and I trusted them. I’m glad I trusted them. Most of the time it worked. Sometimes it didn’t too. I want to stay true to who I am.”

It comes back to the confidence, something Bears running backs coach David Walker said flows from Getsy to the offensive unit.

“He’s a very aggressive guy and he’s very convicted in what he believes about what offensive football should look like,” Walker said. “When the ball is snapped, the offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage, everybody being physical, everybody blocks. There is no, ‘OK, this guy won’t block.’ Everybody blocks. And then the timing in which things need to happen with the quarterback and the rhythm of his feet and his throws.

“He’s very convicted in those things, and it shows in his teachings. It shows with his attitude and energy. And I think it’s going to show on Sunday afternoons for us.”

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Mike McDaniel defends Dolphins’ decision to play Tua Tagovailoa vs. Bengals after injury scare days earlier

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Mike Mcdaniel Defends Dolphins’ Decision To Play Tua Tagovailoa Vs. Bengals After Injury Scare Days Earlier
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Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel firmly defended the team’s decision to play quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night that resulted in Tagovailoa getting carted away on a stretcher due to a concussion, among his head and neck injuries.

McDaniel was asked postgame if he would’ve done anything differently given what transpired with Tagovailoa, who officially entered Thursday questionable with back and ankle injuries.

“Absolutely not,” he replied swiftly and adamantly. “If I would have, that would be irresponsible in the first place, and I shouldn’t be in this position.

“I don’t believe an injury last week made him fall the same way this week. I do not have any, like absolutely zero patience for — or will ever — put a player in a position for them to be in harm’s way. That is not what I’m about at all, and no outcome of a game would ever influence me being irresponsible as the head coach of a football team.”

McDaniel reasserted that Tagovailoa did not suffer a concussion or head injury when he exited Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, four days prior to the Thursday loss at Paycor Stadium.

“Yeah, otherwise we would’ve reported him having a head injury,” McDaniel said. “That’s why the NFL has these protocols. Every single NFL game that is played, there’s an independent specialist that specializes in the specialty of brain matter.

“For me, as long as I’m coaching here, I’m not going to fudge that whole situation. If there is any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol, and it’s very strict. People don’t vary or stray. We don’t mess with that. We never have. And as long as I’m the head coach, that will never be an issue that you guys have to worry about.”

McDaniel also reaffirmed his belief that the team received the correct diagnosis.

There has been an onslaught of outside skepticism based on the way Tagovailoa appeared woozy and stumbled last Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium as he got up from a roughing-the-passer penalty when Bills linebacker Matt Milano shoved him on his back. Tagovailoa hit the back of the head against the ground from the whiplash.

Initially said by the team to be a head injury, Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol to return for the second half. Tagovailoa and McDaniel said after the Bills game that it was actually a back injury he suffered, one that originated from an earlier quarterback sneak and was intensified by the backward fall.

On Thursday in Cincinnati, Tagovailoa was spun down and driven to the turf on a sack by Bengals nose tackle Josh Tupou. He landed on his already-ailing back on the takedown, and the back of his head hit the ground violently from the whiplash effect.

Tagovailoa appeared to lie motionless as he was attended to on the field for several minutes before being taken away on the stretcher. He was on the ground with his hands up and his left index finger stuck in an awkward inward-pointing position.

Following the loss to the Bengals, McDaniel scoffed at questioning over what went into clearing Tagovailoa to play on Thursday night.

“What goes into every one of those decisions — that it starts with your medical staff but then there’s independent specialists that look into it, too,” he said as to the process. “There’s an entire protocol, and you’re talking to the player, as well. Probably, I don’t know, five or six, different layers in a process in decision-making, like you do with all players.”

He was asked what specifically gave the Dolphins belief Tagovailoa should play on Thursday.

“Him getting cleared by people,” he replied. “Your standard operating procedure with all players in every single game.”

The Dolphins, after the short week to play Cincinnati, have the weekend off before facing the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Oct. 9.


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Decline in Chicago public school enrollment drops district to fourth in nation – NBC Chicago

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Decline In Chicago Public School Enrollment Drops District To Fourth In Nation – Nbc Chicago
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Official enrollment figures show Chicago public schools fell to 322,000 students this year, dropping them one notch to the fourth-largest U.S. school district.

CPS is now tracking public schools in Miami-Dade County in Florida, which saw enrollment jump to 325,000.

CPS enrollment this fall has dropped by 8,000 students, which is less than some feared.

CPS officials said enrollment declined in elementary schools but remained stable in secondary schools. Pre-school enrollment is up 6%.

Enrollment at CPS has declined by 81,000 students over the past decade.

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‘He’s a coward of a s***’ – Tyson Fury claims Anthony Joshua is dodging and suggests fighting two opponents in one night including Mahmoud Charr

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'He'S A Coward Of A S***' - Tyson Fury Claims Anthony Joshua Is Dodging And Suggests Fighting Two Opponents In One Night Including Mahmoud Charr
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Hours after Tyson Fury said he would give his fight with Anthony Joshua more time, he made another U-turn.

Everything in the Fury vs Joshua negotiations seemed to be going wonderfully earlier this month, with both men agreeing to terms and contracts being sent.

Fury vs Joshua negotiations are a mess, with all parties saying different things

Since then, however, it has descended into chaos as contracts have been put on hold with Joshua’s lawyers and Fury has grown impatient, calling off the fight after AJ missed his self-proclaimed 5pm Monday deadline.

As a replacement opponent, Fury named 37-year-old former WBA “regular” champion Mahmoud Charr, who was not well received by boxing fans and pundits alike.

Fury’s promoter Frank Warren was then able to convince ‘The Gypsy King’ to give Joshua some extra time to finalize the deal and he agreed.

Taking to social media, Fury explained that everything had been sorted in terms of date, venue and broadcasters and it was now up to Joshua to sign the contract.

Fury ended his message by saying, “Get this contract signed today, big p****. Let the UK fans have what they want. There’s no more umm. You gotta fight me, you can’t escape The Fury is coming… shit!

This was very good news for everyone except Charr, who posted an Instagram story calling on Fury to go back on his word.

Charr Was Initially Furious With Fury For Going Back On His Word, But Now It Looks Like The Pair Could Fight

Instagram: @mahmoudcharr

Charr was initially furious with Fury for going back on his word, but now it looks like the pair could fight

“Fury, you’re the same s*** as Anthony Joshua,” Charr said.

“A man is a man, when you say Joshua is out, he is out. You tell everyone you want to fight me, now you’re like a duck, take the fight.

Hours later, Fury changed his mind once again, saying he would actually fight Charr and Joshua was dodging him.

“Manuel Charr,” Fury began. “So now it looks like AJ is finally out, he ducked out, he’s a *** loose bag, and you’re the man who wants to fight, so I like that.

Fury Is One Of The Most Unpredictable Boxers, Inside And Outside The Ring


Fury is one of the most unpredictable boxers, inside and outside the ring

“I love that you are very vocal and call for a fight like a real man should.

“Any man who wants to fight another man should call him what you did to me, so I accept your challenge Manuel Charr, let’s go on motherf *****.”

Fury then followed up with another Instagram Story, suggesting he could have two fights in one night on December 3.

“I just did a little brainstorming,” Fury said. “December 3 is approaching and Mahmoud Charr has given his consent. Why not fight two people in one night, Mahmoud Charr and someone else.

As It Stands, Charr Looks Like The Favorite For A Fight With Fury In December.


As it stands, Charr looks like the favorite for a fight with Fury in December.

“That would be damn awesome. I would probably be the first WBC heavyweight champion to have two fights in one night and that’s a guaranteed fact, what do you think?

Charr responded on his own Instagram Story and he seemed pleased with the news, describing Fury as a “real man” and he said, “UK make sure the diamond boy comes along King Charr!”

That being said, Charr didn’t appreciate Fury saying he wanted to fight two guys in one night, as he replied, “Listen to me, you want to fight two guys in one night, my friend, I need of you five in one night.

“When I come I’ll make sure to put your long legs on like a lumberjack and get you down to the ground.”


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What went really wrong in Britain

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What Went Really Wrong In Britain
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Everyone needs a scapegoat in an economic crisis, and much of the world has decided to blame the UK Prime Minister Liz Trusseconomic plans. The International Monetary Fund and the Biden administration have stacked up, conveniently distracting from their failed policies that produced inflation and slow growth.

Also expect criticism from conservatives in the US big government who fear Ms Truss’ program will not succeed. As the blame game continues, let’s take a step back and recount what really happened in Britain:


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Google Class Action Settlement for Illinois Residents Approved by Judge – NBC Chicago

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Google Class Action Settlement For Illinois Residents Approved By Judge - Nbc Chicago
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An Illinois judge this week approved a multimillion-dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit involving Google.

The $100 million settlement, which was pre-approved in the spring, received final approval from Cook County Judge Anna Loftus during a hearing on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, which mirrors a recently settled with Facebook that saw many residents receive checks worth nearly $400 this year, claimed the company violated the city’s biometric information privacy law. ‘Illinois by “collecting and storing biometric data of individuals who, while residing in Illinois, appeared in a photograph on the photograph sharing and storage service known as Google Photos, without notice or appropriate consent.”

A settlement agreement was reached in the case earlier this year and eligible residents had until last weekend to file their claims. Google did not respond to NBC 5’s request for comment, but admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement and denied all claims made in the lawsuit.

So how much could eligible residents receive and when? Here’s what to know if you’ve filed a claim:

Who was eligible?

According to the settlement’s website, residents are eligible “if at any time between May 1, 2015 and April 25, 2022 you appeared in a photo in Google Photos while a resident of Illinois.”

Eligible residents had to submit a claim by September 24.

For those who wish to object or opt out of the settlement, that deadline was August 10.

How much money could I get?

Those eligible will receive a portion of the $100 million settlement fund, after deducting legal costs, fees and expenses.

Under the settlement approval, each of the five named plaintiffs in the lawsuit will receive $5,000 and the attorneys in the case will split $35 million in fees and expenses incurred during the case.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the judge indicated that around 420,000 claims have been filed in the case, which would mean each person could get around $150 each. This number remains lower than the 200 to 400 dollars initially estimated by the lawyers.

When will I receive my payment?

Now that final approval is granted, as long as there is no appeal, eligible participants could receive their payouts within 90 days.

Lawyers warn, however, that although the court has approved the settlement, there may still be appeals in the case.

“It is always uncertain if and when appeals can be resolved, and resolving them may take time,” the settlement website states.

What is the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Law?

Illinois Biometric Privacy Law prohibits private sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting citizens in the state or online, regardless of where the company is based. Data cannot be sold, transferred or exchanged. Unlike any other state, citizens can sue for alleged violations, which has sparked hundreds of David and Goliath legal battles against some of the world’s most powerful corporations.

If a company is found to have violated Illinois law, citizens can collect civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, compounded by the number of people affected and the days involved. No state regulatory agency is involved in enforcement.

Since BIPA is an Illinois law, it only applies to residents of the state.

What other companies are accused of violating Illinois law?

So far, no company associated with lawsuits surrounding the law has admitted wrongdoing, though many have agreed to settlements.

A class action lawsuit was filed earlier this month against Walmart, alleging the retail giant violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law by improperly using “cameras and tracking systems.” advanced video surveillance”.

Recently, a federal judge in Illinois granted final approval for a $92 million class action settlement between social media network TikTok and users of the platform, with Illinois residents to receive the most large part of the payment due to BIPA.

A class action lawsuit has also been filed against Snapchat’s parent company, accusing the social network of breaking the law. A $35 million settlement was recently announced in the case, although a final approval hearing has yet to take place.

Earlier this year, more than one million Facebook users in Illinois began receiving checks following a $650 million class action settlement alleging it violated the rights of residents by collecting and storing digital scans of their faces without permission.

Microsoft and Amazon are also among the companies accused of violations.

NBC Chicago

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Things we learned in Miami Dolphins’ 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals

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Things We Learned In Miami Dolphins’ 27-15 Loss To The Cincinnati Bengals
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Here are some takeaways from the Miami Dolphins’ losing starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a scary head injury, and falling to the Bengals in Cincinnati:

Teddy Bridgewater is a capable backup

There were questions about backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater after his brief 0 for 2 appearance last Sunday against Buffalo. Bridgewater had a costly interception late in the fourth quarter Thursday with the Dolphins trailing the Bengals, 20-15. He threw high and behind tight end Mike Gesicki and the pass was intercepted by safety Vonn Bell with 3:05 left. But Bridgewater had a nice first half Thursday in relief of injured Tua Tagovailoa. Bridgewater had a touchdown on a 7-yard shovel pass to running back Chase Edmonds, who fought his way into the end zone. Bridgewater also had a nice 64-yard completion to wide receiver Tyreek Hill that resulted in the go-ahead field goal at, 15-14. — Chris Perkins

Dolphins were smart to activate Skylar Thompson

When Tagovailoa went down briefly last week Bridgewater entered the game but the Dolphins didn’t have a backup for Bridgewater. Against Cincinnati, with Tagovailoa battling back and ankle injuries, the Dolphins activated third-team quarterback Skylar Thompson, the rookie seventh-round pick from Kansas State, for the first time this season. It turned out to be a good thing. No one could have predicted Tagovailoa’s injury Thursday but the Dolphins had the foresight to activate Thompson with Tagovailoa possibly less than 100%.

Cornerback Keion Crossen gets the start

The Dolphins started in their nickel defense with cornerbacks Xavien Howard, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen. It was Crossen’s first start of the season. Cornerback Nik Needham, who started the previous three games, didn’t start Thursday. But Needham and safety Eric Rowe played roles in certain packages. Starting cornerback Byron Jones (leg) is eligible able to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list next week and it’s a good thing. Howard left the game with a groin injury early in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.

Tyreek Hill does indeed return punts

For the first time this season Hill was deep to return a punt. Safety Jevon Holland returned all of the previous punts this season. Hill, of course, is a dangerous return man with his speed, quickness and shifty moves. On top of that, Holland played 96 snaps last week (92 from scrimmage, four on special teams) and might have needed a break. Either way, this was an example of coach Mike McDaniel and special teams coach Danny Crossman showing another wrinkle. We’ll see if/when fellow shifty wide receiver Jaylen Waddle returns punts, which McDaniel and Crossman said is a possibility. Holland, by the way, handled punt return duties in the third quarter.

Xavien Howard is human

Howard, the All Pro cornerback who was battling through a groin injury, shadowed Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and was doing well until Higgins broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter. Howard also missed a tackle earlier in the game. Howard was declared questionable to return in the fourth quarter with a groin injury and didn’t return. It’s the same injury he’s been fighting for a couple of weeks.

Special teams mistakes are adding up

Kicker Jason Sanders had a 52-yard field goal blocked in the second quarter and then hit the upright on an extra point later in the second quarter. The special teams miscues are beginning to add up for the Dolphins when you consider the 103-yard kickoff return touchdown and the butt punt (punter Thomas Morstead’s punt hit blocker Trent Sherfield in the backside and bounced out of the end zone for a safety) in last Sunday’s Buffalo game. On a much smaller scale, Morstead had a 67-yard punt in the third quarter but the Bengals returned it 23 yards. The Dolphins won the Baltimore and Buffalo games, of course, and they’ve made numerous special teams plays. But keep an eye on those errors/missteps.

Offense’s No. 3 weapon is by committee/matchup

We know Hill and Waddle are options 1 and 2 for the Dolphins offense. But the No. 3 option among running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, wide receivers River Cracraft and Sherfield and Gesicki might be on a game-by-game basis depending on matchups. At different times the Dolphins have relied on each of the others to be the No. 3 offensive option and it might continue that way the rest of the season. Mostert had 15 carries for 69 yards and two receptions for 12 yards.

Defense is still stout

The Dolphins defense made a fourth-quarter goal-line stand to hold Cincinnati to a fourth-quarter go-ahead field goal at 17-15 instead of a touchdown, marking yet another time the defense stood stubbornly this season. The defense also made a stand in the second quarter, stonewalling running back Joe Mixon on a toss sweep right on fourth-and-1 at the Dolphins’ 24-yard line. The Dolphins defense isn’t great statistically, and it’s sprung a leak here and there, but it still manages to make big plays.

Dolphins pack the house

Cincinnati had its largest-ever crowd at Paycor Stadium Thursday night at 67,260, eclipsing the 66,271 they had for a wild-card game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bengals entered Thursday with a 1-2 record, and were coming off a 27-12 victory over the New York Jets. Most likely the game would have had a big crowd regardless of the opponent because it was a prime time game. But hosting the Dolphins, who came in undefeated, had to help attract a few more folks.

Dolphins are used to fourth-quarter deficits

The Dolphins trailed in the fourth quarter for the third consecutive game Thursday. They trailed Baltimore, 35-14, entering the fourth quarter, trailed Buffalo, 17-14, entering the fourth quarter, and trailed Cincinnati, 17-15, in Thursday’s fourth quarter. The Dolphins didn’t rebound from this fourth quarter deficit but they also looked fairly comfortable playing from behind.

It is one thing to be have great speed tools … but another to take full advantage

Last year, the Dolphins had seven pass plays of at least 40 yards. This year, less than a quarter of the season in, they have matched that number after the 64-yard connection from Bridgewater to Hill and are on pace for 30. Miami’s most in the past 28 seasons has been the 17 of 2016. Though it was a different era in the passing game, during the Dolphins’ record-setting season of 1984, when Dan Marino threw for 5,084 yards, Miami had only a dozen pass plays of at least 40 yards. — Steve Svekis

The run defense has been very good

While, indeed, the Dolphins came in to the Bengals game with 348 rushing yards allowed this season (116.0 per game), good for 20th in the NFL, those numbers had been skewed by Miami playing the two most mobile quarterbacks in the league, certainly among those proficient at throwing the deep ball. Taking away the 166 yards on 17 carries by Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, the Dolphins had yielded only 182 rushing yards in 53 runs (3.43 yards a carry). The total yards would be third in the league and the yards per carry fifth. It will be interesting to see how the rushing defense settles in as the quarterbacks they face have more sedentary feet. After 61 yards allowed to the Bengals backs on 25 carries, the numbers only improve, at 243 yards in 78 carries (3.12 yards a carry)

The run game is off to one of the worst four-game starts in team history

Almost one quarter of the year in, the Dolphins, with their 85 rushing yards in Cincinnati, will head into Week 5 with 277 on the season. That ranks tied for fourth-worst in the franchise’s 57-season after four games.

By a key metric, that was the best 3-0 start in team history

Of the 14 times the Dolphins have started the season 3-0, they have never entered Week 4 with the teams they have faced having as good of a combined record as their 2022 opponents do. The Bills and Ravens have a 4-0 record in their other games, and the Patriots are 1-1. And, in the Patriots’ case, they lost to the Ravens. So, in games where the Dolphins first three opponents have played teams that weren’t the Dolphins or an other Miami opponent, those foes have gone 4-0. Here is a list of the other years opponents during Miami’s 3-0 starts and their aggregate record at season’s end and after Game 3: 1979: 23-22, 3-3; 2002: 22-23, 3-3; 1984: 22-23, 3-3; 1981: 22-23, 4-2; 1998: 20-25, 2-4; 1995: 20-25, 4-2; 1982: 10-13-1, 4-2; 2013: 19-26, 4-2; 1996: 19-26, 1-5; 1977: 16-23, 2-4; 1972: 16-23, 4-2; 2018: 17-28, 3-3; 1992: 15-30, 4-5

Dolphins’ defense has stiffened within 2 yards of the end zone

This season, Miami’s defense has faced 14 plays from their own 2 or 1. Three plays have gone for touchdowns, but there have also been two turnover on downs and a forced field goal. In those 14 plays, there have been a net 0 yards gained.

On deck: At New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 9, 1 p.m., MetLife Stadium

The Dolphins will likely be getting their second crack at the Jets’ 2021 second pick in the draft, quarterback Zack Wilson. Last year, in his 10th career game, Wilson got off to a good start against Miami at Hard Rock Stadium, completing nine of his first 13 passes for 118 yards and burrowing in for a touchdown on a goal-line sneak, as the Jets seized a 17-10 lead with a minute left in the first half. The Dolphins however, figured out Wilson after that point and dominated. For the rest of the game, Wilson went 4 for 10 for 52 yards and was sacked six times for 44 yards, equating to a net 8 passing yards over the final 31 minutes of the game.


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