It was a 27-10 win for the Miami Dolphins in their first preseason game of the season against the New York Giants. The starters struggled, does it warrant panic mode?
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A win doesn’t always mean everything, however, as fans are riled up by the six – let me repeat – six plays the first-team offense ran and the opening touchdown given up by the first-team defense in last night’s victory.
We all need to think about what the preseason is for. There’s a reason why these teams carry 90 players throughout training camp into this first weekend of the preseason. It’s not because owners and general managers enjoy having the extra 37 men in the locker room. And it’s certainly not because they like to cut all 37 players over the next few weeks.
The preseason is about working out the kinks and getting back into game mode. It’s about finding that depth every NFL team needs because injuries throughout the regular season will happen. And it’s about getting acclimated with the system – whether you have a new coaching staff or a lot of roster turnover from the previous season – in a real game setting against an opposing team.
There are no records to be set in these first four games. Is it exciting to see the first-team struggle? No, of course not. Any fan wants to see the starters move the ball and create turnovers right out of the gate.
Let’s take a minute to remember week one of the preseason last season. Miami traveled to Chicago to take on the Bears and there was a large amount of hope surrounding the offense and what the new-look defensive line was going to do.
Ryan Tannehill and the first-team offense came out and moved the ball down the field on a 14-play drive that resulted in a Damien Williams two-yard touchdown. That was the only drive for the first-team offense. While great to see it didn’t mean anything in the long run.
Miami lost that game 10-27.
Now I ask the question: how’d the first four games of the regular season go last year?
That’s a question we all know the answer to.
We as fans need to look at the positives to take from last night.
Walt Aikens possibly had the best performance of all. He led the team with five tackles and had a sack that resulted in a forced fumble. That turnover led to the first touchdown of the game.
The defense ultimately shut down New York’s offense the final three quarters, sacking Ryan Nassib four times and intercepting two of his passes, courtesy of Bobby McCain and AJ Hendy. They also forced two fumbles; three of the four turnovers created were cashed in for touchdowns by the offense.
Speaking of the offense the running game got going once Isiah Pead stepped in, running the ball for 50 yards on 10 carries. Daniel Thomas helped his case as well with 40 yards on 10 carries.
Rookie quarterback Brandon Doughty made his case for a roster spot, too, completing 7/9 passes for 66 yards. And Jakeem Grant looked exactly how we thought he’d look: fast. He took a screen pass 24 yards and was about three steps away from breaking a 56-yard touchdown.
We need to trust the coaching staff can make the necessary adjustments and improve in week two otherwise we’re already giving up hope after one showing. We’ll get our best look at what the starters can do in week three.
For now we need to look forward and see what head coach Adam Gase prepares for the Dallas Cowboys.