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Two weeks into the Miami Dolphins' offseason practice regimen Youth Antonio Brown Jersey , first-round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick's running tally of interceptions is underway.
"Have I been counting them? Every DB counts them," Fitzpatrick said with a laugh after Tuesday's workout. "I've got two picks and a couple of pass breakups. Just doing my job."
Contact drills won't begin until training camp, but early indications are the Dolphins used the 11th overall pick wisely when they selected Fitzpatrick.
The safety from Alabama said he's not fazed by reports Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to trade down on draft night rather than pick Fitzpatrick.
"I heard about it," Fitzpatrick said. "He's a businessman. He's going to see the business side of everything. This is extra motivation to prove I'm a worthy pick and deserve to be here."
The front office wanted a playmaker to upgrade a defense that ranked fourth-worst in points allowed last season, and so far Fitzpatrick looks as if he'll make Miami better.
"He has done a good job," coach Adam Gase said. "He has gotten his hands on a lot of balls. He seems to be all over the place. He has a great motor and a great work ethic. You can tell he takes this very seriously and puts everything he has into this."
The Dolphins' investment goes beyond a first-round choice. Fitzpatrick signed a $16.44 million, four-year deal last week.
But he said he didn't celebrate the contract, and doesn't have any plans for the money besides buying a place to live.
"Anytime you see your hard work paying off, it's a good feeling," he said. "But you've got to keep telling yourself it's not the end goal. I didn't come here just to be a first-round pick. I wanted to be a great player here and establish a great legacy."
Fitzpatrick said the Dolphins are dividing his practice time evenly among the strong safety Jimmy Vesey Jersey , free safety and nickel back positions. He said he doesn't have a preference and is happy to move around.
"They trust me to do that," Fitzpatrick said. "They're not putting too much on me, but they know they can put a lot on me."
Pro Bowler Reshad Jones is certain to start at one safety spot, and veteran safety T.J. McDonald also returns after starting the final eight games last season. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke may decide to play both along with Fitzpatrick at times, and June is a time for experimenting.
General manager Chris Grier has compared Fitzpatrick to a Swiss army knife because of his versatility. And wherever Fitzpatrick lines up, he's making his presence felt.
"He is flying around at practice," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "He plays aggressive and plays fast, and that's what you want to see out of a DB."
Fitzpatrick played for Nick Saban at Alabama, which may be why he hasn't found the demands of the NFL too daunting so far. In fact, the coaching styles of Saban and Gase are similar Authentic DeSean Jackson Jersey , he said.
"They're both very passionate coaches," Fitzpatrick said. "They're both real hands-on. The only difference is coach Saban yells a bit more."
At Alabama, Fitzpatrick had a school-record four interception returns for touchdowns. He's confident about quickly improving his professional pick total.
"That's going to keep going up," Fitzpatrick said. "As I get more and more comfortable, I'll make more and more plays."
With the 49 states that currently don’t have sports wagering now able to launch it, the NFL’s word of choice is “integrity.” As sports wagering takes root, the NFL will have another go-to term.
Yes, the dormant push for an expanded regular season surely will return, as the NFL realizes that 256 regular-season games will be great for betting — and that 288 will be even greater.
The NFL dropped the issue, at least publicly Authentic Alexander Wennberg Jersey , once it became clear more games couldn’t be reconciled with the heightened sensitivity to player health and safety. But the issue undoubtedly lingers, with the NFL likely hoping that it will come up organically and naturally as the league and the union begin to negotiate a new CBA in earnest.
Will the NFL Players Association ever go for it? Possibly, if it comes with more efforts to enhance player safety. Expanded rosters, for example, would help. And don’t rule out a possibility that first came up several years ago: A total of 18 regular-season games per team, with maximum participation of 16 games per player.
That would incorporate more layers and levels of strategy into the week-to-week marathon, with coaches adopting a suicide-pool mentality to determining the right time to rest key players. Of course, injuries will help make the decisions easier, with guys who would have missed at least two games anyway having the chance to make up the two games and get to 16. Players who are dinged up but otherwise would be able to play will be more likely to get a game off, especially during the annual short-week game.
However it plays out Womens Pavel Buchnevich Jersey , the concept of a larger regular season hadn’t died before gambling became something that states could legalize. As that process happens, the urgency to capture two more weeks of TV, ticket, and gambling revenue will give both the league and the union an incentive to come up with a way to make it work.
Don’t be surprised if, by 2021 if not sooner, it does.
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