The Miami Dolphins lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-24 in what was actually a pretty entertaining first preseason game of the year. The starters for both teams were not in the game long, with the younger players and depth options seeing most of the playing time. The Dolphins used much of the game as a chance to rotate between quarterbacks, looking for one of them to step up to serve as the second string passer during the season.
On defense, the Dolphins struggled against the pass, with no cornerback stepping up to claim the second starting position. The third linebacker role could also now become a position battle after strong performances from multiple players.
To get an idea of who played how much during this game, we review the team’s snap counts from the game. Starters in italics.
- Brock Osweiler - 34 snaps (45%)
- David Fales - 21 snaps (28%)
- Ryan Tannehill - 11 snaps (15%)
- Bryce Petty - 9 snaps (12%)
No real surprises when it comes to the quarterback snap counts for this game. Tannehill was able to get back into a game, but the team got him out of the contest fairly quickly. Osweiler and Fales split the majority of the rest of the game, something that will likely continue through the rest of the preseason. Petty came in at the end of the game, and actually played well guiding the Dolphins to the lead before Tampa Bay struck back to win.
- Kalen Ballage - 30 snaps (40%) | ST: 8 snaps (29%)
- Buddy Howell - 17 snaps (23%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Senorise Perry - 11 snaps (15%) | ST: 6 snaps (21%)
- Brandon Radcliff - 9 snaps (12%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Kenyan Drake - 8 snaps (11%)
- Jeremy Langford - was not included in official snap counts
Ballage getting the most snaps makes sense, letting the rookie get some experience. The Dolphins held Frank Gore out of the game and only gave Drake eight snaps, so the younger players had the bulk of the workload, and they did well with it. Perry and Howell both showed some good moves and running ability. Langford not having a snap count in the official listing is odd and will probably be updated at some point. The special teams snaps were pretty fairly split among all the running backs outside of Drake.
- Mike Matthews - 64 snaps (85%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Eric Smith - 55 snaps (73%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Connor Hilland - 34 snaps (45%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Roubbens Joseph - 34 snaps (45%)
- Zach Sterup - 33 snaps (44%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Sam Young - 30 snaps (40%) | ST: 1 snaps (4%)
- Ted Larsen - 30 snaps (40%)
- Isaac Asiata - 30 snaps (40%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Laremy Tunsil - 11 snaps (15%)
- Josh Sitton - 11 snaps (15%)
- Daniel Kilgore - 11 snaps (15%)
- Jesse Davis - 11 snaps (15%) | ST: 2 snaps (7%)
- Ja’Wuan James - 11 snaps (15%) | ST: 1 snap (4%)
- David Steinmetz - 9 snaps (12%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
The offensive line starters played well in a small sample size. After that, the Dolphins rotated the younger players, giving them all experience. Matthews getting 85 percent of the snaps is interesting. The Dolphins could be looking to develop him as a future backup, potentially having him land on the practice squad this year if he does not make the 53-man roster (besides making up the snaps that Jake Brendel would have taken if he were not injured). Asiata not getting snaps like Matthews was a little surprising, given how much time and effort the team put into him during his “red-shirt” season last year.
- Thomas Duarte - 47 snaps (63%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Mike Gesicki - 19 snaps (25%) | ST: 1 snap (4%)
- Durham Smythe - 12 snaps (16%) | ST: 13 snaps (46%)
- Gavin Escobar - 10 snaps (13%) | ST: 12 snaps (43%)
- MarQueis Gray - 3 snaps (4%)
Gesicki started and looked like the player the Dolphins want him to become. Duarte dominating the snap count protects the potential key members of the roster from injury while allowing Duarte to continue to develop. Smythe and Escobar were given plenty of time on special teams to show they can contribute there if kept on the roster.
- Drew Morgan - 29 snaps (39%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Rashawn Scott - 27 snaps (36%) | ST: 10 snaps (36%)
- Leonte Carroo - 26 snaps (35%) | ST: 7 snaps (25%)
- Malcolm Lewis - 26 snaps (35%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Isaiah Ford - 22 snaps (29%) | ST: 2 snaps (7%)
- Jakeem Grant - 21 snaps (28%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Francis Owusu - 20 snaps (27%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- DeVante Parker - 11 snaps (15%)
- Kenny Stills - 11 snaps (15%)
- Danny Amendola - 9 snaps (12%)
- Albert Wilson - 8 snaps (11%)
Again, nothing overly surprising at wide receiver. The starters were in the game for 11 plays, then the rest of the roster took over. Wilson only getting eight snaps was likely the only part of the snap counts that was unexpected. Ford battled through injury for the game, playing with a hurt shoulder, and he looked like the player we have been seeing/hearing about in training camp.
- Jonathan Woodard - 31 snaps (39%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Cameron Malveaux - 29 snaps (36%) | ST: 10 snaps (36%)
- Claudy Mathieu - 24 snaps (30%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- Quincy Redmon - 24 snaps (30%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- Charles Harris - 23 snaps (29%)
- Andre Branch - 22 snaps (28%)
- Robert Quinn - 7 snaps (9%)
No Cameron Wake for this game, and Quinn was pulled fairly quickly. The rest of the group seemed pretty even, with potential key roster members Branch and Harris getting a little fewer plays that the rest of the group. Malveaux seems like a player the coaches like, so his ten special teams snaps could be a signal that they are looking to make sure he can contribute there before locking him into a roster position.
- Vincent Taylor - 29 snaps (36%) | ST: 1 snap (4%)
- Jamiyus Pittman - 25 snaps (31%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- Gabe Wright - 25 snaps (31%) | ST: 2 snaps (7%)
- Anthony Moten - 24 snaps (30%) | ST: 3 snaps (11%)
- Jordan Phillips - 20 snaps (25%)
- Akeem Spence - 19 snaps (24%) | ST: 1 snap (4%)
- Davon Godchaux - 18 snaps (22%) | ST: 1 snap (4%)
Godchaux and Spence starting is not a huge surprise, though Phillips showed flashes of the high level of play that could push him back up over Godchaux on the depth chart. Those three should all see plenty of playing time during the season - and you can probably include Taylor in that group as well. Pittman, Wright, and Moten are all likely fighting for an additional spot to be kept on the roster, or a practice squad position.
- Chase Allen - 41 snaps (51%) | ST: 7 snaps (25%)
- Jerome Baker - 40 snaps (50%) | ST: 9 snaps (32%)
- Terence Garvin - 22 snaps (28%) | ST: 9 snaps (32%)
- Cayson Collins - 21 snaps (26%) | ST: 9 snaps (32%)
- Quentin Poling - 20 snaps (25%) | ST: 15 snaps (54%)
- Raekwon McMillan - 15 snaps (19%)
- Stephone Anthony - 10 snaps (12%) | ST: 6 snaps (21%)
- Kiko Alonso - 7 snaps (9%)
- Frank Ginda - 7 snaps (9%) | ST: 7 snaps (25%)
- Mike Hull - 4 snaps (5%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
The linebacker position will be an interesting one to watch now. The team quickly pulled Alonso in this game, putting Baker in for him and allowing Baker to team back up with his college teammate McMillan - who was taking his first defensive snaps with the team as well. Anthony was expected to be the starter, but could be challenged by Baker now, as the rookie was everywhere on the field it seemed. Poling seems like the perfect rookie linebacker who contributes on special teams, so his 15 snaps there makes sense. And the Dolphins not putting McMillan anywhere near special teams makes sense as well. Hull’s injury could open up a roster position if he is going to miss time into the season.
- Jalen Davis - 41 snaps (41%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- Cordrea Tankersley - 37 snaps (46%) | ST: 7 snaps (25%)
- Taveze Calhoun - 36 snaps (45%) | ST: 8 snaps (29%)
- Cornell Armstrong - 30 snaps (38%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Torry McTyer - 22 snaps (28%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Walt Aikens - 22 snaps (28%) | ST: 4 snaps (14%)
- Johnathan Alston - 20 snaps (25%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Xavien Howard - 15 snaps (19%)
- Bobby McCain - 10 snaps (12%)
The cornerbacks struggled in this game, even Howard who has been shutdown in training camp, but gave up some receptions at the start of the game. McCain and Howard got out of the way fairly quickly as the Dolphins coaches looked to Tankersley and McTyer to take control of a position battle for the second starting cornerback position. Davis has been strong early in the training camp period, so giving him a bunch of snaps to see if that continued into game situations made sense. Aikens is still listed as a cornerback, though he kind of fills in at both corner and safety; his low special teams number is likely just so other players can get experience and coaches can see them, as Aikens is expected to be the top special teams player this year.
- Jordan Lucas - 43 snaps (54%) | ST: 5 snaps (18%)
- Maurice Smith - 35 snaps (44%) | ST: 10 snaps (36%)
- Minkah Fitzpatrick - 25 snaps (31%)
- Trae Elston - 22 snaps (28%) | ST: 11 snaps (39%)
- T.J. McDonald - 15 snaps (19%)
Fitzpatrick got a solid number of snaps, and he looked like a player the Dolphins have to find a way to keep on the field as much as possible. He made plays like a free safety and like a linebacker. He got the start because Reshad Jones was not playing, but the Dolphins really are going to have to look to get all three safeties, those two plus McDonald, on the field. Smith, Elston, and Lucas will need to show they are special teams contributors to make the roster.
- John Denney - 6 snaps (21%)
- Lucas Gravelle - 2 snaps (7%)
Not exactly a great sign for Gravelle, is it?
- Matt Haack - 7 snaps (25%)
- Jason Sanders - 6 snaps (21%)
- Greg Joseph - 6 snaps (21%)
Even playing time for the two kickers, and the battle seems to be about even.
Did Not Play
- Frank Gore, running back
- Jake Brendel, center
- A.J. Derby, tight end
- Cameron Wake, defensive end
- William Hayes, defensive end
- Tony Lippett, cornerback
- Reshad Jones, safety