Preseason game 4 recap: Miami Dolphins at the Vikings
Aside from the Miami Dolphins winning the game by a wide margin there were other positives on display.
This game showed some things about players that while they may not have shown enough to be made starters they showed how they deserve to be part of the team.
Backup players and rotational players all play a part in the big picture as does special teams players. And this last game had some real bright spots for a lot of players making it a hard decision come cut down day.
Jakeem Grant: he was 4 – 6 for 141 yards and a touchdown. His burner speed was on full display by getting open on go routes and even adjusting for a fine reception from Fales on one play deep while pulling away from multiple defenders.
T.J. McDonald: This game he was a rover getting in hits and tackles. Now I fully see how he was mentioned as a Reshad Jones clone. Teams will be paying the price over the middle late in the season. News today is that the Miami Dolphins will be trying to get a contract extension for McDonald after being impressed from his play as of late according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
MarQueis Gray: showed why he was kept around. Don’t sleep on this player he can and will bite those opponents that do so. He caught nearly every ball thrown his way while fighting for those extra yards after the catch.
I said it before and I’ll say it again “speed kills” Fales put it out there and Grant went and got it.
Still missing in action
Charles Harris: had his spin move and quick first step working during camp getting in on many would be sacks. But unfortunately when the pads came on to play other teams during the preseason it all changed and he never even had one tackle. There is the old adage of the pro game speeding up on players. And some never catch on, let’s hope that’s not the case for Harris.
Rey Maualuga: due to not being ready to get on the field from conditioning and being overweight. Some cuddling is in order here and the right thing to do from coach Gase for all parties involved to avoid injuries. Maualuga has the experience under his belt to be able to perform if and when he gets that call.
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Isaac Asiata: never stood out and made a blunder late in the game on a screen play. He probably just needs more seasoning and seems to have been taxed for playing time. Being thrown into the fire could fix things if an unforeseen injury should crop up on the line.
Brandon Doughty: like Asiata he may have been muscled out of getting in reps from other players doing so well. But unlike Fales he is eligible for the Dolphins practice squad and most likely will be placed there.
Chase Allen: he had seven tackles with almost eight minutes still left in the first half and added two more before it was done. Like T.J. McDonald Allen was all over getting in on plays that would stop drives and played well against the run.
Torry McTyer: has some scrap in him and the ability to cover a zone well. The only drawback was his blunder on special teams.
Maurice Smith: has caught my eye already this offseason and kept it going this game by being all over. He can basically play all over the backfield with his skill set and even fills in on special teams.
David Fales: what a game he had 12 of 20 pass attempts for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eye opening stats that should draw the interest of some team. This was the best audition he could have made. Because of guidelines for the amount of time played in games and his NFL tenure Fales is not eligible to be placed on the Miami Dolphins practice squad.
Mitch Mathews: had a 19-yard touchdown late in the game and looked very sure handed for other plays he was in on. The WR made a point for consideration among the growing list of talented receivers the Miami Dolphins have amassed this off-season.
Honorable mentions to Praise Martin-Oguike, (sack) Drew Morgan (nice catches) and a handful of others I’m sure I’m leaving out.
Breaking: Matt Haack did enough to unseat punter Matt Darr who was just released. The days of the punter being the highest gainer of yards on a season are most likely over but it’s still good to keep the one that nets the most yards heading into the season.
Looking at the final game stats it doesn’t jive with the score of 30 – 9 in favor of the Miami Dolphins, in fact it would match a much closer game or even one they might have lost. There were some breakdowns on defense looking like the same old unit that can’t tighten things up at times. And on offense that unit also looked suspect while stalling out would be drives with Doughty at the helm.
While I may not have the best outlook heading into this regular season from a handful of key injuries placing players out of the picture and a few tentative to return at some point. What this game showed was some talent to draw from if needed. Just like last season there are cries of lack of depth however I can not attest to those pleas. I wanted to see players like Storm Johnson and Chase Allen do well this game and they both passed my eye test.