It’s the final tune up game tonight for the Miami Dolphins tonight facing off against the Dallas Cowboys in some hardcore preseason action. Miami has been disappointing many as of late – but are we looking too far into what Miami has put on the field? The Dolphins are not going anywhere fast, that is a pretty obvious assumption. The Dolphins do have talent, but not enough to compete this season. With many pessimistic about the season, here are five things to watch for in tonight’s preseason match up against the Dallas Cowboys.
1- Ryan Tannehill growing before our eyes. Yes, Ryan Tannehill has had somewhat of an up and down preseason. But Tannehill has looked impressive during many drives offensively. Tannehill seems to come out sluggish – it would be nice to see him come out looking sharp and on target with his weapons. It will also be encouraging to see Tannehill connect with his weapons on offense – the number in the drops column against Atlanta was depressing.
2- Jonathan Martin’s adjustment to the NFL’s Speed. Jonathan Martin, Miami’s second round pick, has been a huge disappointment this preseason. Martin was looked at as the savior to Miami’s long search for a stud right tackle on the offensive line. So far this preseason Martin has looked nervous and slow against every pass rusher he has faced – not to mention the kid looks lost on many occasions when facing blitzes. Martin will get a chance to fine tune his game against a Dallas team enriched with pass rushers. Cross your fingers and hope that Martin finally calms down and plays like the right tackle this Miami Dolphins team needs.
3- How will the defense follow up a stellar performance against Atlanta? Miami’s defense looked sluggish and confused during the team’s first two preseason games. The squad was missing tackles left and right. Last week against Atlanta, the unit finally looked good. The defensive line was moving the line of scrimmage and everyone was contributing towards tackles. It was also nice to see Cameron Wake take down Atlanta Quarterback, Matt Ryan, for 1.5 sacks – Olivier Vernon also had .5 sack. Miami’s defense needs to follow up this performance by holding Dallas to a few three and outs. (Miami’s starting defense also held Atlanta’s starting offense to field goals for the entire first half – IMPRESSIVE)
4- Who will step up to fill the void left by Vontae Davis in the secondary? It’s no secret that Miami’s weak point last season was the defensive secondary. Unfortunately, the team decided to trade away one of the defense’s key players this past week – leaving a huge void. Nolan Carroll is the hot candidate to take over for Vontae this season by locking down the nickel position on defense. Whether or not Carroll is capable of doing so is still questionable, but Carroll has the skill set to be a solid contributor. Expect to see Carroll play a lot tonight against Dallas – most likely covering the Cowboy’s best receiver on the field when Sean Smith is not out there (if he even plays tonight).
5- Who steps up at receiver for a roster spot? Chad Johnson and Julius Pruitt are both gone – both were expected to be contributors this season…Davone Bess seems to be the only receiver “safe” at this point. Brian Hartline has been struggling with an injury this preseason and is not expected to play tonight – who knows when he will return. Legedu Naanee has been a stand out for Miami – during practice. Naanee has been a disappointment during games. Last week against Atlanta I counted three drops – two hit his hands and one was a high throw by Tannehill but still should have been caught. Rishard Matthews could be a dark horse for a final roster spot. Matthews also had a drop last week, but has had quite a nice preseason for the team. Clyde Gates and BJ Cunningham has been disappointments this preseason. Gates has been dropping passes left and right – without a huge performance tonight Gates will likely be cut. We haven’t seen much of Cunningham – although I would love to. It seems as though the coaching staff either thinks Cunningham is still too raw or Cunningham has not been impressive during practice. Either or, I’d like to see this kid perform tonight. Lastly, will Marlon Moore, Jeff Fuller or Roberto Wallace show up please? Who ever steps up tonight is likely solidifying themselves a roster spot. Better hold on to those passes tonight boys.
Tonight should be quite an exciting game, fans! Be sure to tune in!!!
Keep your fins up fans!!!
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