In their fifth and final game of preseason action the Miami Dolphins will host the New Orleans Saints tonight at Sun Life Stadium. Kick off is at 7:30 Eastern Time tonight and the Dolphins will be looking to add one more win to their 1-3 preseason record.
Miami’s first team units have put together a very good preseason, in my opinion. It’s second and third team units on the other hand, have been, well let’s say below average. But that is what this fifth game is all about. The second and third team guys showing the coaching staff that they belong on this team. For those who do not make the cut, they will also be showing their talents for the other 31 teams around the league. Careers can be made and destroyed in this final preseason game, here.
So let’s take a look at a few things to watch for tonight:
- Will a receiver FINALLY step up? – It seems like I have been saying this for weeks but a receiver has got to step up this week, right? Receivers Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson will likely see a small amount of snaps tonight – could even be in the single digits if that – therefore the coaching staff will get a good look at some guys trying to make the roster. Receivers Rishard Matthews and Marvin McNutt are thought to be the two guys making the 53 as of now. But keep an eye on Brian Tyms. Tyms has looked decent thus far and if he can put together a solid outing tonight, Miami may have to consider giving him a spot on the 53. And will we actually see Chad Bumphis in the game?
- What about the tight end position? – Last week, TE Charles Clay was given an opportunity to grab the starting TE position for this team and run with it. He did not complete this task. Hell, it didn’t even look like he tried. Clay must put together a solid game to give Miami fans hope. On the other hand, rookie Dion Sims, Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller will all be attempting to show the coaching staff their stuff. Egnew looks improved but has yet to make an impact. Miller hasn’t played much since the Hall of Fame Game. And Sims is your typical rookie. Someone has got to step up.
- Will RB Mike Gillislee show promise? – RB Jonas Gray likely sealed his fate last week with a fumble late in the fourth quarter that lead to a Tampa touchdown to win the game. I would like to see more of Gillislee this week. The former Florida Gator has seen very few touches against second team defenses due to Gray’s emergence. Gillislee runs with power and hits the hole hard. I liked this kid coming out of Florida and I would love to see what he can produce against a second team defense.
- How will the rookie corners perform? – CB Will Davis has been a ball-hawk in practice and has actually even gotten his hands on the football during a game – an interception against Jacksonville. Davis, however, has been very inconsistent this preseason and was beaten badly by WR Lestar Jean of the Houston Texans for a 38-yard touchdown. Davis must prove his worth to this team this week. Miami’s other draft pick, CB Jamar Taylor, has been hampered by injuries this preseason, but finally looks healthy. Taylor will likely see a decent amount of playing time against New Orleans and we should be able to gauge where he is both physically and mentally. Taylor was one of my favorite draft picks and I am hoping he can show excellent coverage skills. I would love to see him playing the slot over CB Nolan Carroll – Carroll sucks.
- Will Marcus Thigpen recover from a terrible outing against Tampa? – Thigpen, who emerged as one of the best kick and punt returners in the league last season, had a performance to forget last week. Thigpen not only muffed a punt but he also was widely to blame for another. Thigpen must bounce back with a big return tonight or else the coaching staff may try to find a more reliable return man.
- And finally, who will step up and make a play, ultimately leading to a roster spot? – The most interesting part of this game will be to watch who makes the big plays when they count which will better their chances of making the 53 man squad. Linebackers Josh Kaddu and Jonathan Freeny flashed last week showing they could be worthy, but how will they follow up that performance? Offensive linemen Josh Samuda,Will Yeatman and Dallas Thomas all must show they have potential. Receivers Marvin McNutt, Rishard Matthews, and Brian Tyms must show up and make some plays tonight. Safety Kelcie McCray will have to prove his worth tonight also. And along the already deep defensive line Derrick Shelby, Kheeston Randall, and AJ Francis will have to show they belong by putting pressure on the passer tonight.
Miami Dolphins tickets for tonight’s preseason finale against the Saints are available for as low as $6. You can even grab tickets in the lower level for $17. make sure to stop by and see the second and third team units fight for a roster spot.