The Miami Dolphins are no longer winless under Joe Philbin in pre-season. O.k. so it means nothing but last nights 27-3 win over Jacksonville gives the team a confidence they lacked heading into 2012. The start of the game was sluggish with Miami and Jacksonville both enduring three out series. Offensively the Phins looked sluggish at the start and it appeared that Ryan Tannehill was going to greet Saturday morning with more cat calls.
Instead, the offensive line pulled their heads out of the dirt and the blocking gave way to an offense that found a rhythm. Tannehill connected on several passes and concluded his evening with a 26 yards strike to Dustin Keller for a TD. The TD pass is important because Tannehill actually threw the ball to the back shoulder in blanket coverage allowing Keller to drop low and fall back into the ball. It was a great catch by Keller and solid throw by Miami’s sophomore QB.
Tannehill finished the night 5-9 for 75 yards and one TD. Most of his missed passes came on the first two series under intense pressure.
Moore would play into the 3rd quarter before yielding to Pat Devlin. Moore had a strong quick drive culminating in a TD and Devlin showed a lot of skill and recovery from his hand injury of a week ago.
This game wasn’t about stats though. It’s about competition and last nights game really has put the focus on WR Chad Bumphis.
Bumphis returned punts with mixed results. He muffed one punt and made a nice 20 yard return on another but he made several plays in the game as a WR and is making a strong push to become the possible 5th WR on the roster. With Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, all locks to make the team, Bumphis is competing with Brian Tyms who had another solid game, Jeff Fuller who had a very quiet evening, and Marvin McNutt who had a decent night. With Rishard Mathews out due to injury, Bumphis is getting a legit shot to make this roster. With the top three guys sitting out most of the first quarter, Bumphis is also playing against 2nd team defenses.
The battle for that final spot could come down to McNutt and Bumphis and it’s likely both may have a shot if Mathews doesn’t recover quickly enough.
In the kicking battle last night belonged to Caleb Sturgis the Florida rookie. Dan Carpenter played last week. Sturgis connected on all of his extra points and a 36 yard field goal. It was his 58 yard shot that caught fans attention. The 58 yard FG was one of the longest in Phins history and easily cleared the crossbar. It’s not a good sign for Dan Carpenter who is considered on the roster bubble.
Defensively Will Davis was once again around the ball. He is making a very strong case for the nickel back role but definitely is showing promise for the future. A project in the 4th round, Davis recorded an INT last night when took a ball out of the air in tight coverage. No tip. He simply turned and went up for the ball off the WR. It was a veteran type play.
On the offensive line it’s still hard to see what kind of progression they are making. The first three drives of the night were brutal but they settled down and made plays after the shaky start.
All in all it was a very solid effort after a sluggish start. Something however to build on.