The Miami Dolphins dropped their second straight preseason game on Friday, losing to the Carolina Panthers 27-20. While the preseason game do not count for regular season standings or playoff positioning, they continue to be important for the development of players and the team. After another frustrating game, where are the Dolphins looking up and where are they trending down?
Mike Gesicki, tight end - The Dolphins are not throwing to their rookie yet, but they are having him block. Gesicki is going to be a red-zone target and a seam threat all season, but he needs to prove that he can be a competent blocker as well. On Friday, he started to show that he can do just that.
Jakeem Grant, wide receiver - The Dolphins did not have DeVante Parker (broken finger) or Kenny Stills (ankle) available for this game, so Grant was thrust into the starting lineup and he played well. His route running looked crisp - even on the overthrown ball in the end zone, Grant was in the right position. After the game, head coach Adam Gase explained that play, stating, “Ryan [Tannehill] was just kind of thinking something else. Jakeem was right in what he did. Ryan just kind of lost it there for a second.” Grant looked like a player the Dolphins should be able to rely upon more this season.
Robert Quinn, defensive end - The Dolphins’ free-agent addition was quiet in the team’s preseason opener, but made noise on Friday. Looking more like the Pro Bowl pass rusher he was in 2013 and 2014, Quinn used his speed to record two sacks in the game. Pairing him with Cameron Wake should give the Dolphins a serious pass rush threat all season long.
First-team offense - As a whole, the first team offense seems to be finding a rhythm, especially with the up-tempo, no-huddle attack. They have to figure out punching the ball into the end zone, rather than settling for field goals, but the team looks like they are going to be able to move the ball easily with both the passing game and the running game.
Cordrea Tankersley, cornerback - The Dolphins offseason projected starter has struggled to find consistency all preseason. That continued on Friday, with the cornerback even calling the performance “terrible, straight trash,” according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. The Dolphins have already moved Tankersley back to the second team, and Friday’s performance did not push him back into starting contention.
Penalties - Eight penalties for 69 yards. That is where the Dolphins ended the game, which was only one penalty more than the Panthers, but Miami continues to find ways to kill themselves on the field. First down? Nope, because of a hold. Momentum building on the drive? Nope, because of a false start or delay of game. Miami needs to figure out this penalty thing quickly, because that could be the biggest hurdle they have this year.
David Fales, quarterback - Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Fales was 8-for-11 for 115 yards and looked like the easy winner of the backup quarterback position battle. Against the Panthers, he was 1-for-6 for six yards. The backup quarterback position battle will continue into Preseason Week 3.