The final week of preseason football has arrived, and in just one week the NFL regular season will kickoff. First, the Miami Dolphins host the St. Louis Rams in a game that poses many questions, including the mandated roster cut to 53 players this weekend. Here are my five players to watch in this final preseason game between the ‘Phins and the Rams.
1. Olivier Vernon.
After Dion Jordan was suspended for the first four games of the regular season, Olivier Vernon gained an even heavier weight on his shoulders. He and fellow pass-rusher Cameron Wake are arguably one of the best pass rushing duos in the league. Vernon enjoyed a monstrous season last year, and has already gotten off to a great start this preseason. Keep an eye to see if Vernon can finish the preseason strong, and head into the regular season just as much of a force as he left off last year. He won’t have Dion Jordan’s presence to help, though he proved to do just fine last season, when Jordan was highly underused.
2. Orleans Darkwa.
It appears as though the last running back spot will come down to RB Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa. Both have had impressive preseason campaigns, and I like Darkwa’s ability to run between the tackles. Darkwa also broke a 50+ yard run last game against the Cowboys, and will try his best in what could be his final game to make the roster.
3. Jake Long, OT Rams
Long was not great in his first preseason game back from injuring his knee last season that required a surgery in January. The franchise left tackle and former Miami number one selection will need to get back to form quickly. It looks as though the Dolphins made the right move in not re-signing Long, as their offensive line has done a fair job in pass protection thus far, especially given that the Miami O-Line has 5 different starters from last season. Knock on wood.
4. The entire Dolphins first team offense.
Head Coach Joe Philbin is unhappy with the lack of production by his first team offensive unit. Keep an eye out on how the offense does this game compared to last, where they put up a meager 3 points in five drives. This offense needs to gain some momentum before opening against the Patriots in a little over a week.
5. Shaun Hill, QB Rams
Rams HC Jeff Fisher has named backup Shaun Hill “his guy” to replace Sam Bradford, who is gone for the entirety of the season. Hill is a very seasoned vet at age 34, and will get valuable snaps with his first team offense. If everything blows up for Hill, the Rams could be looking at an emergency addition of a veteran QB who can play immediately. Should be interesting.
Tags: Miami Dolphins