Oct 14 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon (50) causes St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) to fumble in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams Vs. Miami Dolphins: Five Things To Watch

This Thursday, the St. Louis Rams travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Dolphins for their final preseason contest of the year.  Here are my five things to watch for heading into the final game before the Dolphins open week 1 against the New England Patriots.

1. Can the Miami offense bounce back?

PhinPhanatic site editor Brian Miller recently wrote an article discussing HC Joe Philbin’s disappointment with the Dolphins’ first team offense.  I know for a fact Joe Philbin isn’t the only one disappointed, seeing that the Dolphins’ offense against the Cowboys was abysmal.  Three points in five drives, against a defense that was notorious for giving up large quantities of points last year?  Come on Bill Lazor, you have exactly one game to turn this offense around before playing against an AFC elite team in the New England Patriots.  I will be watching closely to see if the ‘Fins can bounce back on offense, and how well Ryan Tannehill plays after a disappointing last game.  We may not see much of the first teamers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come out clicking early.

2.  The end of the corner back battle.

Brent Grimes is a lock at one of the CB spots.  The other side is still up for grabs.  The main three competitors are Will Davis, Jamar Taylor and Cortland Finnegan.  Keep an eye on who gains the edge in this game.  Personally, I like either Taylor or Davis for the job.  On a side note, the Dolphins made the right choice last season in letting Dmitri Patterson go.  The former ‘Phins CB has been suspended by the Jets for completely missing their last preseason game.

3.  The Rams QB conundrum.

It has been nothing short of a nightmare of a preseason for the St. Louis Rams, who just lost their franchise QB Sam Bradford to a season-ending ACL injury.  His replacement?  Thirty-four year old Shaun Hill.  The Dolphins have a very able backup in Matt Moore, who has also been a starter multiple times in his career.  He may be a better option for the Rams for an entire season.  This is all complete speculation, but it is still something to keep an eye on entering this game.

4. Running backs eyeing a final roster spot.

After a fantastic first preseason appearance, Knowshon Moreno has gone from future bust to competing with Lamar Miller for the starting role.  Behind those two, Miami has a plethora of backs that they will have to weed out to find their magic number in the 53 men who make the roster.  In the mix is Orleans Darkwa, Damien Williams, Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee.  This final game could be the nail in the coffin for one or more of these guys.

5.  The continuation of pressure on the QB.

A highlight of Miami’s win over the Cowboys was Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake’s domination over the Cowboy’s offensive line.  Those two rushers had a field day, and DC Kevin Coyle kept them coming.  With Dion Jordan one game away from beginning his suspension, I am curious to see how Coyle plans on continuing the defense’s recent assault on the opposing QB.  I love it, and I hope it continues against the Rams and former ‘Phins lineman Jake Long.

FINS UP!

 

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