The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons opened their respective NFL Preseason campaigns tonight in a contest in the Georgia Dome. At the end of a 60 minute game that featured players deep on the depth chart throughout much of the matchup, Atlanta came away with the 16-10 victory.
What was some of the good and bad for the Dolphins in this game?
1. Dolphins first team offense - They were only on the field for 10 plays, but the new look Miami offense drove 73-yards down the field on those plays. The drive was capped with a six yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Brandon Gibson. The offense was balanced (six passes, five runs), and seemed to have success moving the ball on through the air. To be fair, this was one series, against a team that struggled on defense last year, and with little film available for the Dolphins' attack, but it was good to see. Tannehill ended the drive (and the game) having gone six-for-six passing, for 62-yards, with the touchdown, giving him a 149.3 passer rating. In a game where big name offensive weapons, including Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Charles Clay, did not play, Tannehill spread the ball around and scored. It was a good start.
2. Brett Brackett - Deep down the tight end depth chart, Brackett is not exactly someone fans are waiting to see each week. In this game, however, he came out and took advantage of his playing time, recording a team high three receptions, for a team high 57 yards, including one play where he caught a short pass and turned it into a 30-yard gain. He looked good on the field and played well, which is all you can ask from a player in his situation.
3. Ja'Wuan James - Miami's first round draft choice was never a focal point of the game - and that's exactly what you want from a rookie offensive lineman. Playing into the second half, James did not allow a sack, and was never called for a penalty. There were plenty of flags during the game (19 combined), but none were on James, and that's exactly what you want. There's still room to grow, obviously, but for the first taste of live NFL action, James held his own.
1. Dion Jordan - Jordan did not really do anything poorly tonight, but, when he had an extended opportunity due to the injury to Olivier Vernon, he did not take advantage of it. He had one tackle during the game. That's it. For a third overall Draft choice entering his second season, one tackle in the first preseason game is a pretty light night. Unfortunately for Jordan, he was on the field for much more than a one tackle performance would indicate.
2. Seth Lobato - Miami's fourth string quarterback played the entire game, minus Tannehill's first drive. He never looked comfortable, and never really got the offense moving. The only score after Tannehill left the game came after a four-yard drive following a Jarvis Landry 48-yard punt return. Lobato was 14-for-28 for 124 yards. He was not bad, he was just not comfortable. The team did not use fifth string quarterback Brock Jensen at all during this game, while second string passer Matt Moore and third stringer Pat Devlin were injured, so this was Lobato's chance to prove himself, and he didn't do it.
3. Tackling - The Dolphins defense allowed way too many runners to run through them. This was a problem last year as well, and it does not appear, at least after one preseason game, to have solved itself. Repeatedly, the Dolphins would hit a player in the backfield, or shortly after the line of scrimmage, only to let the runner continue on for at least a few more yards. Miami has to fix the tackling issue, and they have to do it fast.