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Miami Dolphins: Rise, demise after first preseason game


A 27-10 win over the New York Giants seemed to start the Miami Dolphins’ season out right. There were plenty of players that contributed on both sides of the ball for the Miami Dolphins. After starting the game in a 10-0 hole, Miami came to life in the second quarter scoring 27 unanswered points. The major takeaways from Friday’s matchup should leave Miami with plenty to think about as well as plenty to be excited for. So who for the Dolphins looks like they’ll be a game changer after week one?

Rise

Two Thumbs up
Offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil’s performance was as advertised. The rookie’s game probably isn’t where it should be, yet, there is plenty to get excited for. There were whispers surround Dolphins’ camp that Tunsil not in the starting lineup was proof why he fell in the draft. However, On a Damien Williams touchdown, Tunsil’s side of the field had enough room that Williams could’ve walked the ball in. After watching Ryan Tannehill run for his life with the fist unit, it won’t be long before Tunsil moves up the depth chart if plays like that continue to develop.

One Thumbs up
Brandon Doughty is buried on the depth chart behind starter Ryan Tannehill and backup Matt Moore. Luckily for Doughty, during the game, he seemed to be the only quarterback who was 100% comfortable under center. If you looked into his stats, nothing jumps off the page. However, on the field, he looked comfortable, found his targets, and had complete control of the offense. With Matt Moore struggling from time to time, expect Doughty to see more playing time down the preseason stretch.

Honorable mentions:

When it comes to Jakeem Grant, there’s nothing like an underdog. He might not have the size and stature of your typical NFL wide receiver, but he’s packed with NFL talent. Grant showed his quickness finding holes in the return game; he tallied 41 yards. Miami also utilized him in the passing game as well. A quick screen pass easily turned into a 20+ yard gain. Grant also lead the team in receiving for 68 yards on 4 receptions. 17 yards per catch is a stat any coach wants to see. It’d be easy to call him the gem of the Dolphins offense if not for a late injury. Again his size is his only concern, and while it only was a mild rib injury, it’s a little scary coming this early out of a potential playmaker.

Adam Gase did in one preseason game, what fans had been waiting for all last season. He opened up the playbook. While nothing jumped off the page as the big go to play, Miami’s offense was all over the field. During the match up, four different quarterbacks passed to 12 different receivers. It’s easy to do in the preseason, but the tight ends, receivers, and running backs were all involved getting full use out of every position. After the first unit had exited the game, Miami settled in, and the play calling showed why Miami went out and got Gase.

The Dolphins backup running backs shined. Isiah Pead ran the ball well. With 10 carries for 50 yards, he was at the front the team’s ground attack. Daniel Thomas had another 10 carries for 40 yards. Running the football will be key for the Dolphins this season, 4 or 5 yards per carry is what Gase wants to see. Miami struggled on 3rd down conversions last season and setting up 3rd and short will set the offense up for an easier chance.

Bobby McCain was another player it was hard not to rank as a major contributor. While he came up huge for the Dolphins, it was a small sample size. He got beat on a few passes, but every corner is from time to time. What the real concern is, can he keep up without the d-line putting on that kind of pressure? How will he hold up downfield when plays have a little more time to develop? After that performance, he’s showed he looks a bit more comfortable and aggressive in Miami’s new defense. Miami’s next opponent is the Dallas Cowboys. If McCain can continue to improve, he’ll add some much-needed depth in Miami’s secondary.

Demise

Two Thumbs Down:
The entire starting line was awful. Between the whiffs on defenders and holding penalties the unit looked terrible in short work. With the backup units showing much more stability, it won’t be long before moves are made. The Dolphins will be tested in their week two matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Which unit shows up?

One Thumbs Down
Matt Moore looked okay in his first game. However, okay might not be enough to earn him the backup role forever. With rookie quarterback breathing down his neck, Moore continues to look like a rookie himself. To his credit, the deer in the headlights act only lasted a few plays. He settled in and finished 10 for 14, 122 yards, 1TD, and 1INT. He’s got to get a little more comfortable from the jump and take command of this offense if he intends to be in a Dolphins uniform past this season.

 

Dishonorable mentions:
Kiko Alonso only worked in a handful of plays for the Dolphins. However, what should have been a stuffed run, turned into what looked like a belly flop at his local pool. A healthy Kiko is an upgrade for the Dolphins, but Miami can’t afford another player who struggles to tackle in key situations. Maybe it’s just postseason rust, but Miami assumed that’s not what they traded for.

Game 2 of the preseason will be a much better test for the Dolphins. If the Dallas Cowboys play more of their starters, The Dolphins will face a deep threat, a tough, tight end, and this year’s top running back prospect. Dallas also boasts one of the best offensive lines in the league. Can Miami continue to get pressure the way they did against the Giants? Will the first team offense show up for a game? Find out Friday at 8 pm.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]