The Miami Dolphins have reported to training camp, and the 2018 season is starting to come together. While the first practice will be held tomorrow, we continue to work our way through our annual 90-in-90 series. This series of articles takes a look at each player on the team’s 90-man preseason roster and how they performed in 2017, as well as why they could progress or regress in 2018. It then ends with a look at the chances the player has to make the 2018 regular season 53-man roster.
This year, we have already finished the reviews for wide receiver Leonte Carroo, punter Matt Haack, safety T.J. McDonald, running back Buddy Howell, wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive end William Hayes, wide receiver Isaiah Ford, safety/cornerback Walt Aikens, defensive end Claudy Mathieu, linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Xavien Howard, long snapper Lucas Gravelle, wide receiver Danny Amendola, tight end A.J. Derby, running back Frank Gore, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, wide receiver Kenny Stills, cornerback Tony Lippett, kicker Jason Sanders, kicker Greg Joseph, left tackle Laremy Tunsil, tight end Mike Gesicki, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, running back Kalen Ballage, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, tight end Durham Smythe, quarterback David Fales, wide receiver Albert Wilson, defensive tackle Akeem Spence, linebacker Chase Allen, defensive end Cameron Wake, running back Senorise Perry, and tight end MarQueis Gray, offensive lineman Ted Larsen, defensive end Andre Branch, running back Kenyan Drake, defensive end Quincy Redmon, quarterback Bryce Petty, wide receiver Francis Owusu, defensive end Jonathan Woodard, defensive end Charles Harris, center Connor Hilland, and guard Jesse Davis. This afternoon, we take a look at safety Reshad Jones.
After missing most of 2016 with a shoulder injury, Jones returned to the Dolphins in 2017 and started the year with a new, five-year contract. He then got back on the field and started all 16 games, primarily working at strong safety, earning his second Pro Bowl appearance. He finished the season with 122 tackles, two interceptions, five passes defensed, three fumble recoveries including an NFL-high two touchdown returns, and 1.5 sacks.
Why he might progress
The Dolphins should continue to let Jones maximize his time as a strong safety, working up in the box in run support or blitzing. He will have a full season with T.J. McDonald this year, rather than the training camp/preseason they had together last year before an eight game suspension sidelined McDonald. The two seemed to work well in the summer, but then struggled to find that same chemistry late in the season. Miami also added first-round draft-pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, who should work as a true free safety, freeing up Jones from having to also play center field.
Why he might regress
Jones just turned 30, so he has hit that magic age where people start expecting a decline. He has not shown that, but it is a possibility. He could also have to play more of a free safety if Fitzpatrick is not ready and the team looks to use McDonald in the box more than Jones - and free safety is not Jones’ best position.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Jones’ role as the starting safety is locked in, and the real question is if he is headed to another Pro Bowl when the season ends.