There are going to be tons of camp battles when Miami Dolphin’s training camp actually starts on July 27th. Battle for the last few receiver spots, what will the running back depth chart look like, and which one of the offensive coordinators is the one true Highlander. All of these competitions are interesting but one that flies under the radar that I find fascinating is who will be the starting strong safety either Eric Rowe or Brandon Jones?
Eric Rowe is the incumbent starter and there’s good reason to think that he will be the opening day starter. Rowe is a tight-end eraser unless you just happen to be on the best tight ends in the league such as Darren Waller or Travis Kelce. If you’re anyone else, then Rowe will put you in a vice grip. Let’s not forget the work he’s done against Zach Ertz and George Kittle.
Since getting to Miami in 2019, Rowe has revitalized his career. He signed a three-year deal in 2019 and has lived up to the contract. Last year, Rowe had 66 solo tackles, two INTS, and had a major hand in the Dolphins defense being in the top 10 of defenses against tight ends.
He truly has been a real find a true Brian Flores guy. Flores knew what he could do with Rowe with the work he saw firsthand up in New England. He switched him from corner to safety and Rowe instantly looked more comfortable and played with more confidence. I mean, you don’t get dubbed the tight-end eraser for nothing.
On the other side, you have Brandon Jones. Jones was drafted last year in the 3rd round out of Texas. I think you’re lying to yourself if after Jones was drafted if you said that you knew a lot about Jones. I know I didn’t and like most of you, I went and looked at any highlights I could. He looked good but what does that really mean? I figured he would play sparingly. I was wrong. He played more than just sparingly. He played in every game and started four games.
Jones, right now anyway, plays a different game than Rowe. Rowe, currently, is more of a coverage safety utilizing his cornerback skills. Jones is more of an aggressive player who often lines up near the line of scrimmage. That was the one thing that popped off the screen was how ferocious Jones would blitz and cause havoc in the backfield. He had one sack, three hurries, four QB pressures, and three TFLs. I’m not saying that Brandon Jones is like Jamal Adams, but that is the first comp I thought of. He’s not as good as Adams right now, but could he be in a few years? Yeah, maybe why not?
So who has the edge? Well, it’s hard not to go with the guy who was the starter from last year, which was Eric Rowe. It’s a passing league and teams are very much trying to exploit defenses with athletic tight ends. And even though Rowe got taken to task by Kelce and Waller, something he vows to rectify when he says Waller again in Vegas, I think Rowe will be the starting strong safety come Sept. 12.
Rowe has the physicality to body up tight ends and also has enough speed to catch up with athletic ones. It’s a solid combination of skills to possess for that position.
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Jones is more of that throwback style of strong safety where he wants to be screwed down towards the line of scrimmage so that he can use his strength to stop the run while also using his slashing ability to carve up offensive lines and harass quarterbacks.
Obviously, Jones will still be in the picture and on the field a good amount of time. The Dolphin’s secondary is a vast one, but Jones has a skill set of being a heat-seeking missile that can blow up offenses. He will have a spot on the defense.
In a year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rowe was gone and Jones got tabbed as their new starting strong safety. I just think Flores won’t want to pay Rowe again, though I know it won’t be for bank-breaking money. Regardless of what the Dolphins do at strong safety. It’s good to know that no matter what they do that the position is in above-average hands. Have a great Tuesday.
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