Football is finally back my friends! Although the Miami Dolphins dropped their first preseason game last night to the Dallas Cowboys (24-20), Miami threw some positives and negatives towards us. So let’s take a look at some positives, some negatives and some things we want to see more of.
1. Derrick Shelby: Shelby was easily Miami’s best player last night. The former Utah defensive end was a terror off the edge and collected a pair of sacks. Yeah, yeah, “Dude he was going against second string offensive linemen.” Shelby looked the part of a solid 4-3 defensive end.
2. De’Andre Presley: Presley entered the game as Miami’s primary kick and punt returner. He looked great with one exception – muffed a punt late in the game….Call for a fair catch son, nothing wrong with that..Presley also looked good in coverage for the majority of the night. Hopefully we see more of him in the coming weeks.
3. Michael Egnew: Call the police, Michael Egnew actually caught a pass. Oh excuse myself, he actually caught 4! Gold star for you Mr. Egnew. All jokes aside, Egnew played “well”. Well enough to earn a positive grade for his performance. That being said he still dropped a perfectly thrown ball by QB Matt Moore. But, nonetheless, he played well which is something he must do to save his roster spot.
4. Lamar Miller: Yes I understand the fumble to open the game was Miller’s fault. But after watching Miller throughout his career since high school I can firmly suggest that those “pregame jitters” caused that to occur. Minus the fumble Miller looked explosive and FAST. Real fast. If he can continue to be just as explosive, this offense could surprise many with it’s big play ability.
5. The “Unknowns”: Receivers Chad Bumphis and Keenan Davis both put together solid games. Bumphis, an undrafted receiver of Mississippi State, reeled in 5 balls for 85 yards. Davis, who recently signed with Miami out of Iowa, snagged 3 balls for 48 yards and 1 touchdown. Both receivers ran crisp routes and looked great. Safety Kelcie McCray also had a good night. The former Arkansas State defensive back collected 4 tackles and played well in coverage. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle also used McCray as a blitzer and the safety was able to successfully apply pressure.
1. Daniel Thomas: What in the heck was that? Thomas toted the rock 4 times for a pedestrian 5 yards. Yes, I understand the second string offensive line is a little weak. But Thomas entering his fourth year with the team should be able to burst through the line. Thomas looked slow and impatient while running the ball.
2. Jonathan Martin, Dallas Thomas, etc.: Honestly, the only offensive linemen that played “well” were center Mike Pouncey and guard Richie Incognito. Other than those two, the entire offensive line group looked like crap. Jonathan Martin looked slow and sluggish. Dallas Thomas was absolutely horrendous. Josh Samuda was getting pushed backwards for the majority of the night. I could go on all day. These guys have got to pick their game up or else it will be a loooooooong season.
3. Tackling: Is it just me or did the defense look soft and unwilling to tackle? I am not taking any credit away from Cowboy’s running back Phillip Tanner, but Miami’s defense was not willing to stick their nose in there and tackle the guy. As I told my girlfriend last night, the defense is in for a long week of tackling drills.
4. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers: First off, Chad Bumphis, while you performed well you have to fight for the football, son. Giving up on a pass and then allowing a LINEBACKER to return the ball seventy some odd yards for a touchdown is NOT the way to impress the coaching staff. Lamar Miller, you are trying to prove that you can be the bell-cow for this offense. Secure the football son. De’Andre Presley, proving your worth on special teams may be your key to making this team – you are buried on the depth chart at corner. Call for a fair catch, son. Miami must take care of the football and take it away. Simple as that.
5. Receivers?: Are there any receivers on this team? I understand that Bumphis and Davis looked well, but what was the rest of the corp doing? Scratching their butts? Tyms and McNutt looked inconsistent. Terribly inconsistent. Fuller gets a pass, in my opinion. While he only caught one ball for 21 yards, if I am not mistaken that was his only target on the night (I want to see the team target him more often. He has some potential but must prove he can consistently catch the football). Julius Pruitt was a non-factor as was everyone else. Step up and catch the ball fellas.
Things we want to see more of:
1. The first string defense: I understand that it was the first of five games Miami will play this preseason, but the defense that took the field last night to begin the game was awful. I would love to see Miami’s full first string defense take the field just to see what we are in store for this season.
2. The first string offense: Once Miami’s offense is fully healthy, I would like to see their offense hit the field. I have a feeling it will look a lot different with Wallace, Hartline, etc. out there as Tannehill’s weapons rather than McNutt, Gibson, etc. But hey, that’s just me.
3. Dion Jordan: Damn Jordan looked good last night for only having a little over a full week of practice under his belt. Jordan looked strong, fast and attentive. I love Olivier Vernon, but Jordan really could be in line to start come week 1. Jordan also dropped in to coverage a bit and played well. We want more, we want more.
4. Top 3 corners: Brent Grimes, Richard Marshall and Dimitri Patterson looked good last night in limited time. I would like to see more of that combination. I thought it was interesting that in nickel situations, Patterson came in and Marshall shifted to the nickel position. I would like to see if the coaching staff is trying players out in specific roles or if this is how the defense will be played (Obviously Patterson must prove his worth first..).
5. Dustin Keller: I have always been a Dustin Keller fan, yes even when he was a New York Jet. Last night we were teased a bit but we want to see more of Keller! The former Purdue seam-threat gives Miami a speedy tight end, which is something this team has been missing for quite some time. Feed the big man!