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Dolphins roster bubble update ahead of preseason game three vs Falcons

The Miami Dolphins have one more preseason game remaining before they reach the first set of roster cuts.

NFL: Miami Dolphins-Minicamp Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins will face the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night in a nationally televised game. More important than the win or loss from this contest, this game is also the third preseason game for both teams, meaning the starters should be in the game longer than in any other preseason game. It also means the team is getting closer to the first set of roster cuts, which have to occur by Tuesday.

Heading into tonight’s game, there are plenty of players who will be looking to validate their position on the 75-man roster for the next week, and ultimately for the 53-man roster heading into the season. Who is on the bubble?

8/6 Roster Bubble Watch:

1. Brandon Doughty, quarterback
2. Damien Williams, running back
3. Terrence Fede, defensive end
4. Griff Whalen, wide receiver
5. Jordan Lucas, cornerback

8/14 Roster Bubble Watch:

1. Brandon Doughty, quarterback
2. Daniel Thomas, running back
3. Jordan Lucas, cornerback
4. Griff Whalen, wide receiver
5. Jamil Douglas, offensive lineman

8/18 Roster Bubble Watch:

1. Brandon Doughty, quarterback
2. Griff Whalen, wide receiver
3. Jordan Lucas, cornerback
4. Earl Mitchell, defensive tackle
5. Chimdi Chekwa, cornerback

Preseason Game 3 (8/25) Bubble Watch:

1. Earl Mitchell, defensive tackle
2. Chris McCain, defensive end
3. Jamil Douglas, center
4. Griff Whalen, wide receiver
5. James-Michael Johnson, linebacker


  • Brandon Doughty, who has been at the top of the bubble watch since it began for this season, is no longer on the watch because it appears he may be on the roster. The concussion injury to Matt Moore, and knowing how one concussion can make you susceptible to future concussions, makes keeping Doughty the right move at this point.
  • Earl Mitchell jumps from the bottom of the bubble watch to the top, making him more likely to make the roster, mainly because the defense has not shown anything as he has missed practice time, which could make him earn the roster spot by default as Jordan Phillips has not taken charge.
  • Chris McCain is clearly on the roster bubble, and may be on the wrong side of the cut line, based solely on the names in front of him on the depth chart. He said this week that he was basically building a resume for 31 other teams, and he may be foretelling his fate in Miami. He probably deserves a lower spot on the bubble watch at this point, but he could still surprise someone and make the 53-man roster.
  • Jamil Douglas fell off the bubble watch last week as someone who probably was not making the roster, then Mike Pouncey was injured, and it appears the team needs to keep another backup center, so Douglas jumps into the middle of the bubble watch.
  • Griff Whalen has not done anything to cement the need for Miami to carry a sixth wide receiver, so he continues to slide down the bubble watch. Whalen needs to make an impact play on special teams - especially if he is to make up for his muffed kick in the endzone (which he did recover and get the touchback) - to justify the need to keep six receivers, especially if Miami is forced into keeping three quarterbacks and three centers.
  • James-Michael Johnson probably deserves a roster spot, especially if he can make some plays on special teams, but it is a numbers game at this point. Assuming Koa Misi, Kiko Alonso, Jelani Jenkins, Spencer Paysinger, Neville Hewitt, and Mike Hull are making the squad, the Dolphins may have to make a hard choice on the seventh linebacker spot. If you were to make the argument that Johnson is the backup middle linebacker ahead of Hull, so you keep Johnson over Hull, I would not disagree with that decision either.