The final pre-season game of the year is as important as that first off-season OTA. Unless of course your fighting for a roster spot. Tonight, there will be quite a few Miami Dolphins fighting to make a final impression on coaches for a coveted spot on the final 53. Or on the teams practice squad.
For the most part, the coaches already know what and who they want. Speaking with an ex-NFL coach, I was told that the final pre-season game only tended to confirm what had already been decided. The game was more about seeing what players played at that 100% plateau and which ones seem to phone it in. More often than not a players position on a teams final roster was never secured during a week four pre-season game but was however affirmed and at times lost.
Tonight the Miami Dolphins will take the field against the New Orleans Saints and if any starters play you can bet it will only be for one series. Two at the most. Tonight shouldn’t be about Ryan Tannehill. It should be about Matt Moore and Pat Devlin. It should be about the bubble WR’s and the TE’s and get them as much work as possible in front of the steamrolling season opener barreling down on the calendar.
Tonight is about seeing guys for the last time. Those camp favorites you followed through high-school. The ones with the cool backstory that made you want to root harder for the guy. Chances are they may not be around come Saturday night. This weekend the NFL will cast over 270 players onto the street in the bloodiest cut down of the year. Some will skip through waivers and find seats on the practice squad while others will get picked up by other teams. For most it will be a quiet end to years of playing the sport.
Tonight could be the culmination in many of those players’ careers. It’s the final swan song for the off-season and the entry into the regular season but it’s bittersweet for so many. No, tonight won’t be the showcased starters or the top of the line back-ups. It will be the rosters edge players and in some ways that makes it entertaining. Especially when compared to the Pro-Bowl.
There will be no live chat tonight due to a prior commitment.