There are plenty of players for the Miami Dolphins, your 6-3 and a half game out of first place in the AFC East who the national media can’t stop slobbering over Miami Dolphins, that I could have chosen to do a deep dive on. But, I mentioned a few weeks ago in a blog that I was going to write about Eric Rowe and the impact that he is having on this resurgence of the Miami Dolphins.
Eric Rowe signed a one year deal with the Dolphins two off seasons ago after battling injuries for three seasons, while playing with the Patriots. A Patriots team, whose defense, was led by Brian Flores. I think we knew when Flores was hired that he was going to bring in New England players so when Rowe signed it wasn’t to much of a shock.
(Fun Fact: I bet you didn’t know Rowe was drafted in 2015 by the Eagles. I imagine the majority thought he was drafted by New England. It’s okay if you thought that. I did.)
Rowe was a cornerback for his whole career who had average success at the pro level. He was a guy that was just sort of there. Not the worst guy on the field but a guy you wouldn’t care if he got replaced. He gets to Miami, plays cornerback and gets lit up to the point that you can see it from space. To be fair, during the first half of the season, everyone on the defense got ripped apart by every offense.
Then an injury to Reshad Jones gets some gears moving in Brian Flores’ head. This led to Flores having a Eureka moment. “What if I put Rowe to strong safety” Flores probably said. Flores put Rowe to safety in an effort to do something the Dolphins haven’t been able to do ever in my lifetime; not get completely destroyed by tight ends.
How many times over the last 20 years or so have we watched a Dolphin’s game and some tight end, I don’t care which one, obliterates the Dolphins linebackers and just runs free with no one around them only for us to yell ‘how the hell does a guy that big, who we know is good get that wide open?’ The answer is to many times. It didn’t matter who the coaches were or who the players were. Tight ends were going to get open.
That was until Brian Flores came to Miami and made the decision to move Eric Rowe to safety with one of his chief jobs being to cover tight ends. But, even Brian Flores’ big brain couldn’t have seen the, immediate, results of his choice. Once Rowe started playing safety, Miami’s issues with tight ends instantly vanished. The combination of Rowe and safety went together like lamb and tuna fish. It’s why Rowe was able to sign a three year extension with the Dolphins last December.
Here’s how Rowe faired against both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz.
The shining moment for Rowe was the last game of the season where Rowe took Brady to the house.
Cut to this year and Rowe is still doing his thing, erasing tight ends like he has all the Infinity stones on his hand. Every week, he snaps his fingers and dusts(get it now?) the opposing teams’ tight end.
The most impressive Rowe has been this year had to be when he was facing all world tight end, George Kittle. Kittle is a force and that’s a known fact. Rowe was up to the challenge.
PFF has Eric Rowe with 2 receptions allowed on 6 targets for 31 yards, including just one catch and 12 yards from Kittle.— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) October 12, 2020
Kittle was dusted. They all get dusted when they face Eric Rowe.
It be nice if Rowe got the recognition that he deserves. But, he probably won’t. Even thought what he he’s doing is fantastic, it will go, mostly, unnoticed by the national media. Not much conversation about safeties guarding tight ends on the morning shows. He has the stats that warrant a pro bowl bid, but we know how that goes. It will go to a guy with a bigger name that has a few more INTs than Rowe. That’s alright. We know he’s the real deal.
This week, Rowe has another formidable foe in Noah Fant. Fant is a good player with good wheels. I have all the confidence in the multi-verse that Rowe will do what he does to every tight end he has faced in the last year and a half. I have this confidence because, well, Eric Rowe was inevitable.
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