The Miami Dolphins are preparing for their final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans and will be sitting most of their starters. Here is what to expect from the reserve players that will see most of the action on Thursday night.
This will be the last shot for many players on the Miami Dolphins roster. It will be the last opportunity to show the coaching staff why they should make the 53 man roster. With the starters sitting out, this will be the chance that many young and reserve players have been looking for. Here is what to expect defensively from Miami and who to watch for.
Lineman: This is probably the Dolphins deepest position, with so many players that could contend for roster spots. With the trading of Chris McCain and the injury to Terrence Fede, this will the opportunity for players like Julius Warmsley, Cleyon Laing, and Chris Jones to show off their talents. Warmsley has had a great preseason so far registering three sacks and one forced fumble. McCain has played well as a reserve defensive tackle, if he continues to impress he could see a lot of playing time in the regular season.
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Linebackers: All of the Dolphins starting linebackers have a history of injury, so having reliable backups is very important. With Zach Vigil being placed on the reserve injury list, the battle will fall to players like Neville Hewitt, Mike Hull, and James-Michael Johnson. Hull’s production should have guaranteed him a roster spot, but the other two will need to fight it out. Whoever can produce not only on defense but also on special teams will be someone Miami will keep.
Cornerbacks: The cornerback play this offseason has been very disappointing. This will be a chance for young players to get much needed reps and develop. Xavien Howard will likely be a starter on week 1, but he has missed all of training camp due to a knee scope surgery. This will be his first opportunity to get quality reps against another team. Howard will need this time to get ready for the regular season. Jordan Lucas, Lafayette Pitts, and Rashaan Melvin should also see a lot of playing time.
Safeties: Rashad Jones, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and Michael Thomas will all likely sit out for this final game. Expect Walt Aikens to be a key starter for some of this game. Aikens has performed well this offseason and shown growth, but he will still need to prove to the coaches why they should keep him. Shamiel Gary and A. J. Hendy will be the starters for the rest of the game and will need to play well at safety as well as in the nickel. Gary and Hendy have both stood out in the time they have had on the field, so whoever Miami doesn’t keep will certainly have a job somewhere else.