1.Finally, a Pass Rush!
The Dolphins pass rush finally came alive. Yes, weather conditions made the game a little sloppy, but that’s football not baseball. See: George Carlin, (Football vs Baseball skit)
Former first round pick, DE Charles Harris got consistent pressure (1.5 sacks) and it looks like Coach Flores, Patrick Graham’s scheme is coming into place. Yes, its only one preseason game, but it finally looks like players aren’t playing out of position. The Miami defense held the Buccaneers to 2.5 yards per play, with 3 sacks, and one fumble recovery. First round Pick Christian Wilkins also recorded his first career sack.
2.Linebacker Sam Eguavoen continued to make plays and could start week one.
Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso did not play on Friday due to lingering injuries, but that didn’t stop Miami from frequently playing Eguavoen, the former CFL standout.
In the first quarter, Eguavoen continued to be a bright spot as he made multiple tackles from the linebacker position and forced a fumble on Andre Ellington early in the first quarter. Coaches have raved about Eguavoen’s athleticism and he has consistently been paired with LB Jerome Baker throughout the summer. After a quiet opening preseason game, the rookie LB played with more confidence and assertiveness on Friday. He also lead the team in tackles in the the second game of the preseason.
3. RB Patrick Laird is turning heads, but will it be enough?
Laird had the most efficient day on the ground by rushing for 51 yards on 7 carries (7.3 YPC) and scored on a late TD pass by Jake Ruddock. The two improved their stock on the team and could earn a spot on the Dolphins practice squad. Laird had a more efficient day than Mark Walton and Myles Gaskin, giving the Dolphins brass more headaches with a crowded backfield.
The Dolphins Offensive line is just Offensive.
Yes, the team didn’t have Tunsil in the lineup in the 16-14 loss to the Bucs and yes, the Dolphins are starting not one but two rookie guards. (Shaq Calhoun, Michael Deiter) But this line especially the interior is going to be the Achilles heel for the Dolphins if they don’t fix it soon.
Starting quarterback Josh Rosen was sacked three times in the first half playing behind Miami’s projected offensive line. There seemed to be a communication breakdown at times, which allowed free shots at Rosen. And a few times, where starters Jesse Davis and Shaq Calhoun, were physically beaten 1-on-1.
“Growing pains, for sure,” center Daniel Kilgore said during the television broadcast.
According to Vegas and multiple analysts, the Dolphins are projected to have the worst record in the league with a 3-win projection. The team has had offensive line problems for years, but this might be the worst unit in quite some time. One thing Josh Rosen has done at times is evade pressure and make poised throws down field.
2. Is there anybody winning the Quarterback battle?
In the case of living, dying by the sword, Rosen went 10/18 for 108 yards but was still sacked 3 times after coaches told him last week to take a sack and not force throws, but now there were times where he needed to get the ball out quicker. Rosen’s receivers had a case of the drops as Preston Williams only recorded one catch (7 yards) on 6 targets.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was also unable to display any “magic” against his former team after he went 3/9 for 20 yards (42.9 QBR) in limited action.
While the 40-year-old Fitzpatrick, is expected to start the next preseason game as the Dolphins face the Jaguars at home on 8/22, it is concerning that neither quarterback has been able to solidify the job.
Fitzpatrick did have an eye-opening moment where he lowered his shoulder and gave a truck stick to Bucs safety, Darian Stewart. However, Fitzpatrick will have to make more plays downfield if he plans to be the week 1 starter vs Baltimore.
3. Preston Williams struggles
Williams, who had his coming out party in the team’s first preseason game vs Atlanta, struggled to get going. He had two drops on accurate passes from Josh Rosen and made a nice adjustment on a would be deep TD pass from the second-year QB, but couldn’t keep his feet in bounds. His inefficiency on the stat sheet lead to 1 catch for 7 yards on 6 targets. Will he bounce back?