Dolphins offense struggles in Saturday’s practice
Miami had their first practice after their preseason win over Atlanta on Saturday. Much like their first offensive series in that game, the Dolphins offense looked flat.
The Miami Dolphins came from behind on Thursday to beat the Atlanta Falcons. There was a lot to like from that game, in regards, to Miami’s young players, but their opening offensive possession was not one of them. Having signed with the team just a few days prior, Jay Cutler did not play, and Matt Moore was given the nod as the starter.
Moore played only one possession, but it was an awful one. On the opening play, Miami was forced to burn a timeout because they couldn’t get the play off in time. The series resulted in a three-and-out, forcing a punt. The same punt that Raekwon McMillan tore his ACL, ending his season.
Fortunately, the first preseason game is more about the young rookies, those trying desperately to make the team, and coaching. Miami was able to settle down after that, and made some very nice plays in the process. Even in the preseason, a 99-yard touchdown is exciting to watch.
The Dolphins practiced again on Saturday, but unfortunately, the offense looked similar to how they did in the opening series of the game against Atlanta. Cutler was hitting on all cylinders in his first week with the team, clearing showing that he understands and has experience under Adam Gase‘s system. On Saturday, however, at times it didn’t look like he knew the offense at all.
Cutler was throwing behind his receivers and short on others. He threw two interceptions in the end zone to both Byron Maxwell and Reshad Jones, respectively. The pass to Maxwell was easily a pick six. Both were a result of poor decision-making on Cutler’s part. Moore was not any better on the day, throwing a pair of interceptions as well, one of them also in the end zone.
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Cutler responded, however, with a nice touchdown throw to DeVante Parker against what looked to be pretty good coverage by Xavien Howard near the end of practice.
It wasn’t all bad on Saturday though. The defense continues to improve, Mike Pouncey returned to practice, and Damore’ea Stringfellow continued to impress. Stringfellow is going to make it tough on the coaching staff on whether or not they want to bring in six receivers for the final 53-man roster. Both Ja’Wuan James (shoulder) and Tony Lippett (foot) left practice early, but neither injury looks to be severe.
Saturday’s practice may have been a dud for the Dolphins, but they have another opportunity to right the ship Sunday morning. It may have not been pretty, but there was nothing I saw that should merit an overreaction. This is what practice is all about anyway. Miami could easily come out Sunday looking crisp and sharp, and all will be well again. Obviously, it’s much better to make these mental mistakes in practice and preseason instead of when it really counts.