I try my best to not overreact during preseason, a task that is easier said than done. If you’re on Twitter, you have the pleasure of watching the game unfold with thousands of other Dolphin fans. Emotions run high, and a lot of regrettable things are said. But during this process there’s one thing we must remember, preseason is for evaluating players and getting the team ready for the regular season.
This week’s game was the most important of the preseason. There was lots of good, some bad, and some ugly. (How did Kiko end up on the Ravens’ sideline?!?!) Despite the Dolphins losing 27-10, we got to see Ryan Tannehill throw a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, and the first-team defense played extremely well.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the Dolphins third preseason game vs the Baltimore Ravens.
Robert Quinn is still very good
Last week, we mentioned Robert Quinn and how dominate he was vs the Carolina Panthers. It was hard to tell whether or not Quinn was that good, or Matt Kalil was that bad. After Saturday’s game vs the Baltimore Ravens, I think we have our answer.
Quinn once again looked dominate, and beat his man (Orlando Brown) time and time again.
mentioned this before with quinn, but his ability to bend and dip around the edge is a thing of beauty. a late hands-to-the-face penalty negated this robert quinn sack. he will reach double digit sacks this season imho pic.twitter.com/nPe9MS4Or5— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
In this play, you can see just how dangerous Robert Quinn can be. He uses his hands to get by Orlando Brown, and then uses his quickness and bend to get around the edge, on his way to the quarterback. Rookie left tackle or not, he never stood a chance.
robert quinn is very #good pic.twitter.com/5nNPJ0Dmyh— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Kenyan Drake is the Dolphins best offensive weapon
A lot of good has come from the Dolphins this offseason, but none more so than Kenyan Drake. Lots of experts believed Frank Gore or even Kalen Ballage would take significant touches from Drake in 2018. That’s not going to happen. Sure, Gore will see goal-line carries and Ballage will get some touches of his own. But there is no doubt in anyone’s mind, Kenyan Drake is the Dolphins starting running back. He might even be the best offensive player on the roster.
Here, you see just how explosive he can be. The right side of the line does their part, and opens up a gigantic hole for Drake to run through. He uses his elite speed and vision to get to the outside.
big run by kenyan drake, but credit goes to the right side of the line, particularly davis/james. amendola does a nice job of sealing the hole and gray blocks not one, but two defenders. drake makes a defender miss and the rest is history. pic.twitter.com/aS3Uto7cRW— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
In this play, Drake is lined up on the outside at the bottom of the screen. He gets a clean release and uses his speed and underrated-route running to beat the defender. A nice throw from Tannehill results in a big gain for the offense.
kenyan drake made plays like this a lot at alabama. he’s a good route runner with natural hands. one of the better receiving backs in the NFL. here he blows by the coverage and catches a well thrown ball from tannehill. expect to see a lot of this. pic.twitter.com/EoxOKViFry— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Dolphins first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick is a superstar
Although a regular season game has yet to be played, it appears obvious that the Dolphins first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick is a superstar. Here, you see how natural he is in coverage. He sees the screen develop underneath, and beats the running back to the spot. Loss of 4-yards on the play.
minkah reads the screen perfectly, blowing the play up 4-yards behind the line of scrimmage. it should be clear to everyone that minkah fitzpatrick is #special pic.twitter.com/UAqTgxhhXX— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
In this play, you see the type of play-maker Minkah Fitzpatrick can be. He gets the defenses aligned and then uses his quickness and instincts to blow the play up in the backfield.
before the ball is snapped, minkah gets the defense in position. he fires through the B gap and meets mcmillion at the HB for no gain. If this defense wants to be great, both of these guys will have a significant role in making that happen.mcmillan looked more relaxed on saturday pic.twitter.com/KMEZOTKJnp— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Minkah is the Dolphins best safety in coverage and it’s not even close. Here you see the type of range he has as a free safety. Despite Howard’s great coverage, Minkah comes over top and lays the wood on the receiver. The ball falls incomplete.
great coverage by xavien howard. the support late from minkah fitzpatrick, shows you why he is an asset at FS. best-coverage safety on the roster imo pic.twitter.com/PdVb9qQMcG— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Mike Gesicki gets his first catch in a Dolphins’ uniform
It took three preseason games, but Miami’s second-round draft pick recorded his first NFL catch this past Saturday Night. Ravens’ safety Tony Jefferson is in off-man coverage, allowing Gesicki to run a quick slant for the easy reception. This was the first of many receptions for the 6-6 Tight End from Penn State.
the first of many...mike gesicki’s first catch in a dolphins uniform. pic.twitter.com/s9qiDdoLPc— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Ryan Tannehill to Danny Amendola for six!!!
The Dolphins offense looked up and down in preseason, so when the team finally scored late in the second-quarter, there was reason for excitement. In this play, Danny Amendola is running a crossing pattern in the middle of the field. He uses deception to sell the route deep, and then cuts underneath Kenny Stills. Amendola is wide open and after making the catch, makes a defender miss on the way to the end zone. Tannehill and Amendola have developed a repertoire this offseason, which should carry over into the regular season.
Jarvis Landry who?
danny amendola is a master of the crossing route. he uses deception to force the defender off, before dropping underneath stills’ route. he makes the first defender miss and finds the end zone. if amendola can stay healthy, we should see a lot of plays like this in ‘18 pic.twitter.com/L17LDXuUkT— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
One more look...
another look at the danny amendola touchdown pic.twitter.com/gfIuJxEZGN— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
T.J McDonald was the best player on the field Saturday night
It may seem crazy to believe, but Dolphins’ safety T.J McDonald was the best player on the field this past Saturday. Here is a prime example of what McDonald can do in the box as a run-stopping safety.
jordan phillips looked like michael phelps with this filthy spin move. hell of a play by t.j mcdonald who looked like one of the best players on the field saturday night. pic.twitter.com/fHwASu6MK2— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
A poor throw from RG3, gives McDonald a chance to knock the ball loose. Great pursuit and finish from McDonald, who looked the part of a game-changing safety vs Baltimore.
another nice play from mcdonald, who jars the ball loose with a big hit on the tight end. need to see more of this from mcdonald pic.twitter.com/pqC48wuvU1— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
McDonald is a menace against the run and showed his worth on Saturday. Initial pressure from Jordan Phillips makes this play possible. McDonald finishes things off in the backfield for a TFL.
nickel package on first down. t.j mcdonald is in the box, next to baker. penetration from phillips almost gets there, but mcdonald cleans things up for a TFL. pic.twitter.com/2P7KRTcjMP— josh houtz (@houtz) August 27, 2018
Lots of good came from Saturday’s game and some bad. It will be interesting to see what the Dolphins do in preseason week 4 and which players will seize their opportunity as 53-man roster cuts approach.
One thing is for certain, in 12 days, meaningful football will be played.
This article was written by Josh Houtz. Follow him on Twitter!