Entering his second year with the Miami Dolphins, safety Eric Rowe had the most unique offseason of his professional career, and not just because of the restrictions presented by COVID-19.
Rowe, a former college safety, was drafted as a cornerback and played the position throughout the first four-and-a-quarter seasons in the NFL. He made the switch in 2019 and impressed to the a degree that Miami rewarded him with a new contract.
The offseason workload changed just as the position in front of Rowe's name did.
“I feel like I made a lot of improvements in the run game, something I had trouble with last year obviously coming from corner. And then working on that in the offseason, obviously always working on coverage stuff. You can never get enough work at that. I think for me just to make that next jump is to make those few plays that I left out there on the field against All-Pro-type of players that I’ve got to be able to cover those type of guys if I want to be considered one of the best covering safeties.” Eric Rowe
Run defense improvements: check. Rowe made 91 tackles with only nine missed attempts, according to Pro Football Reference. His 91 percent success rate as a tackler was better than all five of the 2020 first- and second-team All-Pros.
Removing the Kansas City and Las Vegas games, Rowe surrendered just 4.77 yards per target in coverage. That would've been the lowest rate among all safeties in the National Football League. Factor those games in and Rowe still checks in with a 6.6 yards per target allowed, top 10 among safeties.
This season, Rowe joined the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield to talk about football, fashion, Halloween, and a whole lot more.
Rowe's pre-game fits are almost as much of a show-stopper as his play on the field.
"The drip, that's my wife's thing. She likes to dress me," Rowe said. "She says put this on and I'm like, 'alright, I'll throw it on.'"
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Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went 6-3 as a starter in his rookie season. He posted the lowest interception rate (1.7 percent) by a Dolphins quarterback since Chad Pennington threw an interception on just 1.5 percent of his passes in 2008.
Thursday, Head Coach Brian Flores talked about the expectation of a jump from Year 1 to Year 2 for Tagovailoa and the entire 2020 rookie class. ESPN's Cameron Wolfe has more.
"A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I'm excited about the future with him," Flores told ESPN. "He's a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important, like it is for all rookies."
The Miami signal-caller is making an even greater impact away from the football field with a charitable focus on underprivileged youth in South Florida, Alabama and Hawaii.
Josh Tolentino of The Athletic has more.
Tagovailoa overcame a career-threatening hip injury and was drafted by the quarterback-starved Miami Dolphins. He worked hard, learned and earned the respect of his teammates while waiting for his chance. When he took over as the starting QB at the bye week, he produced victories and respectable stats.
News came down earlier this week that the Dolphins staff would coach one of the two sides at the Senior Bowl at the end of this month. The week prior, a trio of Dolphins assistants will coach at the East West Shrine Game.
What Are Your Dolphins Up To?
The Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee announced that they have joined the Lennar Foundation to fund Florida Memorial University's Certificate Program in Construction Trades. This program, the first of its kind at a Historically Black College in Florida, will play a key role in economic empowerment by providing equitable access for minorities in South Florida through employment in the construction business. Tuition, along with meals and transportation, will be free for all participants in this 12-month certification program. The donation is in collaboration with Miami Dolphins players, the organization, the Lennar Foundation and a NFL Foundation social justice grant. Participants can register for the program at www.fmuniv.edu/trade.
First-team All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard appeared on the on the Man-to-Man Podcast with Darius Butler.
The season is over but can still watch your Dolphins compete. You can catch linebacker Kyle Van Noy on the sticks on his Twitch streams.