The Dolphins had their second preseason game on Friday night in Carolina. We lost 20-27. Like I mentioned last week, the winner of these games is meaningless. These games are opportunities to possibly test out some plays from training camp and for the players to show they want to be on the team come end of preseason. Collectively as a team, the Dolphins struggled. However, several individual players made some definite impacts on the game and shined like a lighthouse on a foggy night. If you followed the game on Twitter, like myself, you will find mixed reactions from fans (some good and ugly ones). Personally, I rarely overreact or put too much emphasis on the first couple preseason games. That being said, several players stood out that definitely give me hope for this upcoming season.
There were several players to choose from but I narrowed mine down to three top players from Friday’s game. Ryan Tannehill has to be my first mention. I saw a quarterback come out that was decisive, accurate, and played with confidence. Honestly, watching him play and not knowing anything about him, I would have a hard time believing he came from having a year off from a major surgery. He completed 100yds on 14-of-17 passes. Sacks on him were zero. Interceptions were zero. He should have had a touchdown or two, if it weren’t for offensive penalties causing negative plays and resulting in unfavorable 3rd down conversions. With that being said, he was leading our offensive down the field while missing some of our key starters like Stills. I’m also liking the chemistry between Tannehill and Amendola. I have a feeling they are holding back on us a bit, because it’s preseason, and we have yet to see what these two can truly do once the season starts. Let’s remember it was the second preseason game, which has zero impact on the 2018 season. I’m not disappointed in what I saw out of Tannehill. I see a quarterback who is continuing to grow as a confident leader of our team. Tannehill just had national media attention for tossing Ballage out of the huddle last week, during training camp, due to causing a sack. I remember many fans voicing how they were wanting a more vocal/confident quarterback back in 2015/2016 seasons. Well, you’re getting one fans.
Real quick: Anyone else get a bit triggered by the announcer’s pronunciation of Tannehill during the game Friday? Just me? Here is an example of one of Tannehill’s solid passes to Grant for a 12yd gain and first down.
tannehill was slinging the rock and looked decisive all game. here’s a laser to grant at the sideline. nice throw and catch. pic.twitter.com/TNewsuRRDD— josh houtz (@houtz) August 19, 2018
Here how he said Tannehill? It’s pronounced as Tan-uh-hill. Not Ta-knee-hill. You’re welcome! Moving on.
The next player that impressed me, and probably everyone watching that game, was RB Kenyan Drake. The dude was explosive on Friday against Carolina. Dolphins acquired Drake as a third round draft pick in 2016 from Alabama. (Side note: I remember when we drafted him. It was a love/hate moment for me. I’m a big Auburn fan, so that means I never root for Alabama. Well, I have to say I’m grateful he had a successful college career there.) Drake carried eight times for 54yds on Friday including a 34yd run.
So ready for this Kenyan Drake breakout season. pic.twitter.com/93CKxOXZCt— Cian (@Cianaf) August 19, 2018
I could fill this article with multiple video clips of plays like the one above. Let’s take for example, this clip from Drake from 2017 at the Monday Night Football game against Carolina.
I happened to be at that game. It was brutal to watch, but did have a few decent plays. Here is another impressive play, last year at MNF’s game (we actually won), at home against Patriots.
Kenyan Drake killed a dude pic.twitter.com/Xw0poz8Znt— Eric Elizondo (@EricElizondo8) December 12, 2017
I was at that game and it was definitely fun to watch. I mean, Brady was outplayed by Cutler. Probably the highlight of 2017 for me, Alright, one more clip because it’s too beautiful to miss. Here is Drake with a 96yd punt return for a touchdown week 9, 2016, at home against Jets. This play caused us to win that game. Yes, I was at this game too and it was glorious.
Kenyan Drake with a GW Kickoff Return for a TD. pic.twitter.com/PO5UgNLABc— Eric Elizondo (@EricElizondo8) November 6, 2016
Alright, I may have a slight crush on Drake but who wouldn’t? I believe I can say that we are all looking forward to Drake having a breakout season. PFF is right about this guy.
The Dolphins released and traded their two highest graded players from 2017, but watch out for Kenyan Drake in 2018! pic.twitter.com/12BCQKCovS— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 18, 2018
The third player I wanted to mention, who had a killer game, is DE Robert Quinn. We only just acquired him in March, but he is proving he was worth the trade and draft picks. He’s an explosive player and is playing in these preseason games like he is at training camp. It was only a preseason game, but man do I hope to see him take down quite a few more quarterbacks this season (please please please let one be Brady). Here was Quinn’s first sack against Cam Newton.
Did you enjoy that? Well, according to Quinn himself, as quoted by Joe Schad of Palm Beach Post, he said, “But I always have that mindset every year. To break records. Do something extreme.” Yes, please do. Here is his second sack on Newton.
one more from rob quinn with some commentary from baby houtz. again, matt kalil is a fossil, but quinn had his way with the former pro bowl tackle. sack #2 pic.twitter.com/Kn61zhh4Y1— josh houtz (@houtz) August 19, 2018
I agree with Joe Schad’s tweet during the game on Friday. Is Quinn turning into a Cameron Wake?
When Robert Quinn looks in the mirror, does he see Cameron Wake? Quinn has his second sack (plus a pressure). #MiamiDolphins— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) August 18, 2018
It’s just preseason, but I can’t wait to be standing and cheering loudly for this guy when our team is on defense.
The Bad And The Ugly
Now, that I’ve mentioned the good things that came from Friday night, let’s discuss the unpleasant things. I’m combining the bad and the ugly into one section, because the penalties and red zone playing combined, is what cost us the game. We absolutely struggled in the red zone. Tannehill took the offense down the field, but then because of a holding or past interference call, we were pushed back. So, instead of a third and goal or third and five, most our third downs were 12 plus yards. In Sunday’s press conference Gase was asked about what he thought of the red zone and third down conversions during the game and he replied, “It comes from second down. Penalty. Negative plays. We have to clean up our play on first and second down.” Here is a bit of what all Gase said on Sunday about the red zone offense.
Adam Gase on red zone struggles... ♂️ pic.twitter.com/3oSpyMKo8Y— Will Manso (@WillManso) August 19, 2018
I believe Gase when he said they have some plays they will not be showcasing during preseason. Yes, Friday night had some vanilla play calling, but did fans really expect Gase to treat that game, the second preseason game, like a regular season game? You’d think so based on fan reaction on Twitter that night. The Dolphins need some work for sure. For instance, you can see where our team is missing Suh. I still wish we could have afforded to keep him plus add on players like Quinn in the offseason, but we don’t always get what we want. However, one positive note to mention, was the signing of the return of veteran DT Langford on Tuesday and him playing him playing Friday. When asked about signing him on Sunday Gase stated, “His name kept coming up since the Spring.” Gase continued with, “He crushed it.” when asked about his conditioning test.
I believe the Dolphins are on the right path. Coach Gase, along with Tannehill, recognizes the areas of weakness that needs improvement and have admitted as much. In 2016 the Dolphins came back, from a rocky start, to make a winning season at 10-6 and make the playoffs. I know it can be difficult at times to remember when we actually played well, considering the mess of 2017 and Tannehill leaving at the end of 2016 with his acl injury. But, consider this for a moment fans. Maybe, just maybe wait to see how we do once the actual real games start. Last season was absolutely miserable for many of Dolphins’ fans (well minus beating the Patriots at home in December). Our team knows that too. The players know that too. They want to succeed and be a winning team. Let’s try to give them a little faith and encouragement. It’s only preaseason. We have at least 4 months of football to go. Take a deep breath, maybe have a drink or two (if that’s your thing), and just enjoy the last couple preseason games stress-free, because they don’t matter.
Cheers to Saturday for game three against the Ravens. I really want to win, because I’ve always disliked playing them.
P.S. Have we cut Osweiler yet?