The Miami Dolphins lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night 20-7 in the first full slate of preseason NFL games. However, the results of the game are far less meaningful than the lessons learned, the progress (or lack-thereof) by players, and the health of the team. The Dolphins suffered a few injuries during the game yesterday, howeverthe biggest news actually came before the game, when it was announced that quarterback David Garrard would be sidelined 2-4 weeks with a knee injury.
Quarterback Battle Narrows to Two
Garrard had been the presumed starter heading into Week 1 of the preseason, and was the most likely member of the three way quarterback competition to come out as the Week 1 starter in the regular season. Now, with the injury and his inability to play last night - or through the rest of the preseason - the battle drops down to Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill, with Tannehill looking less like a rookie and morelike the starter each practice.
Garra's knee injury is described as normal "wear-and-tear" on an older body. He said that there are just "floating things" in his knee, and the doctors are going to go in and get them out in the next few days. He expects to stay with the Dolphins, and to be ready to play once the regular season gets here.
Lineman Start to Drop
Other injuries from Friday included Nate Garner and Tony McDaniel. Garner, the backup, do-everything offensive lineman, suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of the game, and was unable to return. Defensive tackle McDaniel injured his knee in the second quarter, but was able to return to action a few plays later.
Wide Receivers Cannot Go
In an already crowded receiver corps, two players were unable to play in last night's game. Brian Hartline, who was thought to be the team's starting wideout heading in to training camp, has been sidelined for the entire preseason rehabbing a calf injury. He has already been dropped on the depth chart, falling from first to fourth, and losing his starting role.
But, where Hartline still has a roster spot, Clyde Gates, may be about to lose his. Gates has been battling hamstring injuries since last season, and they seem to be flaring up again. The speedster missed last night's game, despite having returned to practice earlier this week.
Others Don't Play
Hartline and Gates were not the only players to be held out against the Buccaneers. Running back Marcus Thigpen was sidelined with a leg injury, safety Kelcie McCray, who suffered a broken foot to start training camp and will likely miss the entire season, and Ray Feinga, with an undisclosed illness) were all held out of the game.
Linebacker Kevin Burnett was also held out of the game this week, but it has not been disclosed as to why the starter was unable to play.