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Dolphins Notebook: Waddle Tops Rookies, Coaching Decisions, More

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is on pace to set a Dolphins record

First-round pick Jaylen Waddle had another productive afternoon when the Miami Dolphins faced the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, and now finds himself on a record pace.

Waddle had 10 catches in the 23-20 loss in London, England, giving him 37 for the season. That leads all NFL rookies, with three more catches than Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris.

At his current pace, Waddle would finish with 104 catches, which would obliterate the Dolphins' rookie single-season record for receptions.

It was set by Jarvis Landry in 2014 when he finished with 84 catches. Landry also holds the overall single-season receptions record with 112 in the 2017 season.

For those keeping track, Ja'Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith, the other two wide receivers among the top 12 picks in the 2021 NFL draft, both have 27 catches. Chase, however, is fourth in the NFL with 553 receiving yards thanks to his hefty 20.5-yard average.

Waddle has 301 receiving yards, with an 8.1 average.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Brian Flores came up with one of the best and one of the worst coaching decisions of Week 6, according to edjsports.com, which analyzes the impact of decision on win probabilities.

Not surprisingly, the two decisions involved here were the two fourth-and-1 calls that Flores made in the first quarter, and the win probabilities says he should have gone for the first down both times.

In the game, the Dolphins decided to punt on the first fourth-and-1, after first trying to draw Jacksonville offside. The second time, the Dolphins went for it, but Malcolm Brown was stuffed for no gain and Jacksonville took advantage of the short field to kick the game-winning field goal.

Even though it failed, going for the first down improved the Dolphins' win probability (before the play) by 21.6 percent and was ranked as the No. 1 best coaching decision of the weekend.

Conversely, the decision to punt on fourth-and-1 a few minutes earlier was ranked the fourth-worst based again on win probabilities.

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Lastly, Brown failing to gain the first down was deemed the third-most impactful play of Week 6, moving the Dolphins' win probability from 67.3 to 29 percent.

BACK ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD

As a matter of housekeeping, wide receivers Kirk Merritt and Isaiah Ford both reverted to the practice squad Monday after being elevated for the game against Jacksonville.

Ford played five snaps on offense but didn't catch a pass against the Jaguars; Merritt was active but did not play.

LEDBETTER'S LONG ROAD

Have to be happy for one-time Dolphins defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, who played his first game of the season with the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Ledbetter played 12 snaps in the Cardinals' victory at Cleveland after being elevated from the practice squad, which might not be a major deal in itself except when you consider his journey.

Remember that after Ledbetter made the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in 2019, he started the opener that year before sustaining an injury that landed him on injured reserve and he spent the entire 2020 season on IR again as he continued his comeback.

Ledbetter was in training camp with the Dolphins this summer but couldn't earn a roster spot before he hooked up with the Arizona practice squad.

So good for him for sticking it out.

ON THIS DAY IN DOLPHINS HISTORY

Oct. 18, 1987 — The Dolphins play their last of three strike replacement games and drop a 37-31 overtime decision against the New York Jets.

Oct. 18, 1992 — The Dolphins defeat New England, 38-17, in the game that previously was scheduled to be the season opener before it was postponed because of Hurricane Andrews.

Oct. 18, 2005 — The Dolphins make an in-season trade involving quarterbacks, sending A.J. Feeley and a sixth-round draft pick to the San Diego Chargers for Cleo Lemon.

Oct. 18, 2015 — Dan Campbell makes his debut as Dolphins interim head coach, and the team puts together an inspired performance in a 38-10 rout of the Tennessee Titans.