The Miami Dolphins play the Dallas Cowboys in the Death Star/Cowboys Stadium later tonight. While the starters will get some time in the game, this game is more important for the guys fighting to make the roster. This is the final preseason game and the last game before Friday's 53-man roster deadline. With that as a measuring stick, here are five non-starters to watch tonight.
Jarrell Root - Root took a staring role in last night's Hard Knocks episode, but for all the wrong reasons. The show highlighted the relationship Root has with the now-cut Chas Alecxih. Root is playing for his life tonight, hoping to avoid the fate of Alecxih. He is currently listed as the third left defensive end, behind Jared Odrick and fellow undrafted free agent Derrick Shelby. Root has to have a memorable performance tonight if he wants to stay with the team past Friday.
Pat Devlin - Devlin is in a strange situation tonight. He is the fourth quarterback on a team likely to keep three. But, with David Garrard's injury, Devlin could still have a spot on the team. Devlin has to come out tonight and play to a level that makes the team realize it does not have to keep waiting for Garrard's knee to heal - or that Devlin can cover the backup role if the Dolphins decided to trade Matt Moore. The team really could look to move Moore, especially if a team suffers a quarterback injury this week, but Devlin has to show he can be the guy until Garrard is ready to serve as the understudy to rookie starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Nolan Carroll/ Quinten Lawrence - Okay, this is technically two players, but this won't be the worst of my "five players" violation. Carroll and Lawrence are facing a lot of pressure with the team's trade of Vontae Davis. Now, they are both going to have to step up and prove that they are ready for the larger role.
Will Yeatman - Yeatman is shifting from tight end last year to tackle this year, and is playing in a position that is clearly a depth concern suddenly. Left tackle Jake Long went down with a strained MCL earlier this week, leaving the Dolphins to juggle the offensive line to try to cover the loss of the All Pro. Yeatman could use this opportunity to step and show how he is coming along in the transition, and if he could serve as added depth for the o-line.
Any Miami wide receiver not name Davone Bess - After cheating to get Carroll and Lawrence onto the list, I am blowing the "five player" limit out of the water with this nomination of nine players in one paragraph. Legedu Naanee, Brian Hartline, Roberto Wallace, Jeff Fuller, Marlon Moore, Clyde Gates, B.J. Cunningham, Rishard Matthews, and Chris Hogan are all trying to make the roster, and as of now, none of them have shown they are worthy of a slot. Hartline is probably the only one of them that gets a pass, since he has been injured all preseason and has not been a disappointment - but he is also in danger of ending up on injured reserve this week. One of the other eight wide outs have to do something to stand out of a crowd, and to give the team and the fans some sort of positive feelings heading into the regular season.
Those are my five non-starters to watch tonight. Who are you going to be watching?