A six-pack of media notes on a Monday:
▪ The 33rd Team – An NFL think tank – Graded the Dolphins by position last week.
Here’s how Miami fared on offense, with an excerpt of the comments offered:
B-minus at quarterback (“while [Tua Tagovailoa] Not a bad one, his play has not been up to par for a team looking to contend “) …
B-plus at running back (“This position group is very reminiscent of a classic Shanahan-system backfield, with no true number 1 back, but a handful of ball carriers that can make the difference makers”) …
A wide receiver (“This group has star power and a lot of speed”) …
B-plus at tight end (even beyond Mike Gesicki’s receiving skills, “between Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, and Hunter Long, Miami has players that can block and catch, as McDaniel can run as many TEs as he does”). General Chat Chat Lounge
Here’s how Miami graded out defensively:
B for defensive linemen and edge players (“While there is talent, this is a top-heavy group, but the grade can easily be given even bigger years than Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah”).
C-for linebackers (“This group is a clear weak point on the team. While Jerome Baker is good, he is not enough of a superstar to make up for the … deficiencies in this group”) …
A for cornerbacks (“At the top, there might not be a better CB duo in football” than Xavien Howard and Byron Jones) ….
B for safeties (“Jevon Holland is coming off a very good rookie season and one of the better safeties in the entire league. Brandon Jones and Eric Rowe will be competing for the other spot, but both are not likely to be high-level. starting-caliber players “)
▪ COVID-19 continues to handicap ABC’s NBA Finals coverage. Mike Breen missed the first two games – and Jeff Van Gundy missed the opener – after testing positive for the virus.
That left South Florida-based Mark Jones, the network’s No. 2 NBA play-by-play voice, filling in for Breen on both Game 7 of the Heat-Celtics series and Games 1 and 2 of the Celtics-Warriors series. ABC says Breen is expected back for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Information man Adrian Wojnarowski and reporter Kendra Andrews (Malika’s sister) were also sidelined in the early stages of the Finals due to COVID.
▪ As expected, former UM and NFL standout tight end Greg Olsen was promoted to Fox’s lead NFL announcing team, on an interim basis, until Tom Brady retires and takes the job in 2023 or at some point after that.
With Joe Buck and Troy Aikman leaving Fox to join ESPN’s Monday Night Football, former Fox No. 2 NFL voice Kevin Burkhardt will join Olsen on Fox’s lead team next season, which includes the February 2023 Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.
Olsen will likely move back to the No. 2 team when Brady retires, while Burkhardt figures to stay on the lead team long-term.
Fox opted to promote within network executives loved by the Burkhardt / Olsen tandem; They had a lively, conversational rapport. Or, as Fox executive producer Brad Zager said, “An undeniable chemistry and ability to call football at elite level.”
Olsen told Dan Patrick: “Even if I get one year at it, I’m going to try to kill it. I’m going to try to make it a fun season, to have people really enjoy our broadcast. And hopefully Tom plays for a few more years. “
Olsen said he would tell Brady that there was a “very fine balance calling the games. You don’t want to dumb it down and take away the complex nature that makes football so special and so interesting. But you also can’t talk on the air like I would talk to my coach or I would talk to a current player or teammate who understands the language and terminology because you could lose a lot of people. ”
▪ With Christmas and New Year’s Day on a Sunday this year, here’s how that impacts the NFL and college football schedules:
The NFL will schedule most of the Christmas weekend games on Saturday, Dec. 24, with three games on Christmas Day: Packers-Dolphins (1 pm on Fox), Broncos-Rams (4:30 pm on CBS), Buccaneers-Cardinals (8:20 pm on NBC).
The Jaguars-Jets will be the Dec. Thursday night game on Amazon, with Chargers-Colts the ESPN Monday night game on Dec. 26.
During Week 17, every NFL game will be played on Sunday, Jan. Except Cowboys-Titans on Thursday, Dec. 29 and Bills-Bengals on ABC and ESPN on Monday night, Jan. 2.
To prevent conflict with the Rams-Chargers game on NBC Sunday night, Jan. 1, The Sugar Bowl has moved off its traditional prime-time Jan. 1 slot to noon Dec. 31. The last time the Sugar Bowl was played before Jan. 1 was 1995.
The two college football semifinals will be played on Dec. 31 in the late afternoon and evening, in Atlanta and Glendale, Arizona.
No bowl games will be played on Christmas or New Year’s Day, thus avoiding competition with the NFL.
Four bowl games are scheduled for Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, beginning with the Tampa Bay Bowl at noon on ESPN2.
Also on tap Jan. 2: The Cotton Bowl (1 pm, ESPN), Citrus Bowl (1 pm, ABC), and Rose Bowl (5 pm, ESPN).
▪ Alonzo Highsmith, who started his job as UM’s general manager / football operations last week, told WQAM: “The first thing I’m going to do is – when you come in, you sit back and watch. I want to sit back and listen, watch, learn. I can’t come in and say `do it like this, do it like that. ‘ I want to watch how things work and then I’ll interject at another time.
“I’m coming to the University of Miami in a very humble way. I ‘m not the savior of the school. I want to be a part of the program the same way I was as a freshman in college. I want to help build something. “
Among other things, he will evaluate recruits and portal players and “try to be a mentor to our players, teaching them what it takes to get to the next level.”
▪ Quick stuff: As NFL Network reported, former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is negotiating with Amazon to become a studio analyst on its Thursday night package. Fitzpatrick has the intelligence, personality and self-deprecating humor to thrive on television….
Former Marlins CEO Derek Jeter – whose ESPN documentary about his life will debut this summer – joined Twitter and announced his arrival at the social media service by responding to a tweet from Dec. 9, 2014, two months after his final game as a player.
That tweet said: “Derek Jeter has no excuse to have a Twitter account by now.” Jeter’s first tweet: “Looks like I’ve officially run out of excuses.”
Within a week, he had 354,000 followers. Dick Vitale, Pedro Martinez and the Yankees are among 17 people, none of whom are associated with the Marlins….
Mick Hubert retired after 33 years as radio voice of the Florida Gators …
Arizona Cardinals will focus on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” during training camp …
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollom, who gives substantive answers in interviews, will call NBA Summer League games for ESPN, among other projects for the network….
The Portland Trail Blazers hired ESPN NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz as an assistant general manager.
This story was originally published June 6, 2022 5:25 PM.
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