- Fins keep season alive Cam Wake's sack/safety in OT preserves the Fins victory and season
- Fins lose control in 2nd half Dolphins lose a 14 point lead and the game to the Patriots
- Fins trade for OT McKinnie Miami sends a late round conditional pick for OT Bryant McKinnie
- Fins let one get away Caleb Sturgis last second FG goes just left and the Fins lose 26-23
5 Positives, 5 Negatives from Dolphins-Bucs game
I’ve repeated a quote in my head several times since the Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill with the #8 pick in the 2012. It goes like this: “I’m not worried about Tannehill being a bust.. I’m worried about him being Josh Freeman – a smart player with great physical tools, but we spend 5 years in mediocrity because we’re hoping that he eventually puts it all together. And then he doesn’t.”
As the days pass by, I continue to be more and more impressed with second-year QB Ryan Tannehill as he develops under Joe Philbin’s guidance.
The pros far outweighed the cons for the Dolphins on Saturday night. Let’s get to ‘em.
1) Offensive Line.
If tonight was the dress rehearsal for the regular season, the OL passed the test with flying colors. LT Jonathan Martin continues to impress as he kept Tannehill’s back clean on 27 pass attempts. RG John Jerry was beaten on a few plays by DT Akeem Spence, but otherwise looked like the good-but-not-greatplayer we’ve seen for the last 4 years. RB Lamar Miller found room for 35 yards on 8 carries (4.3 YPC).
2) QB Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill’s stat line (17-27, 150 yards, TD) would have been more impressive if not for 4 drops, one being an easy 6 that fell through the hands of WR Brandon Gibson in the 2nd quarter in a drive that resulted in a FG. He made quick decisions tonight and diagnosed 1-on-1 coverages quickly with his top 3 receivers. Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson combined for 12 catches on just 4 offensive drives. Ryan Tannehill’s pre-season stats read like this: 34-56, 399 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s, and a QB Rating of 100.2. Am I excited about Tannehill? Try ecstatic.
3) RB Lamar Miller.
What makes Lamar Miller special is his ability to make a 5-10 yard run look effortless, while having the speed to break one at any time. Miller was exceptional in pass-protection tonight, which has been the most heavily criticized part of his game.
4) Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon.
Vernon and Odrick both had a sack and several other QB pressures in tonight’s game. Olivier Vernon provided constant pressure on Bucs LT Donald Penn, and did so just one week after doing the same against Pro-Bowler Duane Brown. This DL might be the NFL’s best if DE Dion Jordan and DT Randy Starks can overcome their camp injuries.
5) Battle for the #6 LB spot.
Tonight’s game clouds up this competition even more. Jonathan Freeny and Josh Kaddu each had a sack, and continue to improve in their second seasons. Lee Robinson was quick and active again as well. At this point, it would be senseless to keep Austin Spitler and his $1.3 million dollar salary.
1) Replacement TE’s.
TE Charles Clay proved to be a complete liability in his first start, catching just one pass for 5 yards and failing to come away with 3 passes that Dustin Keller likely would have caught. Michael Egnew did not catch a pass, and has only 1 reception in his last 3 games despite constant positive reports about his progression. Dion Sims had an impressive 18-yard catch, but definitely looks like a blocker first.
2) Backup RB’s.
Daniel Thomas and Jonas Gray combined for 15 yards on 15 carries in a nightmare performance from both players. Daniel Thomas demonstrated everything that is wrong with him on his first carry: he took the handoff in shotgun formation, failed to get to the outside fast enough, and was taken down with one hand by Bucs LB Lavonte David. Thomas had a giant hole on another run play, but ran directly into his blocker for a 3-yard gain that should have gone for big yardage. Jonas Gray, who is averaging just 2.23 YPC in his last 3 pre-season games, likely sealed his fate with a late 4th Quarter fumble that cost the Dolphins a win.
This receiving unit dropped 4 passes tonight. Ryan Tannehill’s pre-season numbers would be much higher if not for 8 drops in 56 pass attempts, two of which would have been TD’s (Hartline and Gibson). Despite the promise of these young offensive players, we can all agree that they are not good enough to afford dropped passes in the regular season.
4) CB Nolan Carroll.
I defended Jeff Ireland’s decision to keep Dimitri Patterson and Nolan Carroll over Richard Marshall. And, to some degree, maybe Carroll’s pre-season play is irrelevant because he is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of player. But these last 2 games? Ugh. One week after getting schooled by the Texans #5 and #6 WR’s, he missed a key block on Special Teams, was partly responsible for Thigpen’s first fumble, and was targeted on pass plays throughout the night. My hope is that rookie CB’s Jamar Taylor and Will Davis become our #3 and #4 CB’s, which will allow Carroll be a solid special teamer and emergency option at CB.
5) KR Marcus Thigpen.
Thigpen fumbled one return, and was partially to blame for another. He is #5 on this list because he gets the benefit of the doubt after emerging as one of the best returners in the league last season.
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