The Miami Dolphins lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday in a Preseason Week 2 contest. Most of the game was pretty lackluster, but a 21 point fourth quarter made the ending entertaining. With a field goal with just six seconds remaining on the clock, the Buccaneers came away with the 16-14 victory.
Before the game, we took a look at five (plus a bonus) players or positions to watch during the game for the Dolphins. Now, we revisit that list with the results from the game.
Rosen was fine on Friday, throwing for 102 yards on a 10-for-18 night, giving him a 72.0 passer rating. It feels like he and Ryan Fitzpatrick are about even in the starting quarterback battle, but the Dolphins seem to still be leaning toward Fitzpatrick as the starter. Maybe it is a case of the Dolphins wanting to go with Fitzpatrick early, then having the option of brining in Rosen later in the season, which seems to make sense more than going from the young prospective franchise quarterback to a journeyman veteran.
On Friday, Rosen was hurt by several drops, some probably because players were trying to press to show they have a role in the offense and some probably because it was a wet, rainy game. Rosen had some good throws, and he had some were not so good - including one that should have been an easy interception but a drop helped the quarterback in this case. “It was just a bad throw,” Rosen said of the play after the game.
In defining his performance, Rosen stated, “Okay. I think I had some good and some bad, but overall I’d say a positive. But there was definitely a good amount of mistakes that I could learn from.”
Okay seems like a good way to describe Friday’s performance by Rosen. Nothing special, good or bad, and on to the next game.
Mark Walton, Myles Gaskin, Patrick Laird, Kenneth Farrow
The depth running backs actually looked pretty good. Walton struggled the most of the group, gaining just eight yards on five carries for a 1.6 yards per carry average. Gaskin picked up 17 yards on six carries, but then Farrow picked up 41 yards on three carries and Laird picked up 51 yards on seven carries. Laird may have been the most impressive of the group, being patient and running really well. He also can catch out of the backfield, which could bump him up the depth chart. I would guess they are still on the depth chart in the order above, but I would not be surprised if Laird make a push for the third spot.
here's a look at #dolphins' RB' patrick laird vs tampa bay. laird had 7 carries for 51 yards (7.3 ypc) and looks to have the inside track on the #3 spot-right behind ballage and drake. pic.twitter.com/AuwKRR4Fwc— josh houtz (@houtz) August 17, 2019
The offensive line is an issue. It just is. Laremy Tunsil is a stud at left tackle and Michael Deiter actually played really, really well. The rest of the line struggled. The starting group was better than last week, but still left a lot to be desired. Shaq Calhoun is going to make rookie mistakes at right guard, but the team needs him to quickly learn and grow. I guess Daniel Kilgore was unremarkable. The rest of the line is showing more and more how concerning the depth is. Not that many teams have top quality offensive lineman just sitting on the bench.
#Dolphins rookie left guard Michael Deiter was team’s highest-graded player against Tampa Bay with an elite overall grade of 91.0— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) August 17, 2019
Deiter allowed just 1 pressure in 30 pass-blocking snaps and earned a run-blocking grade of 89.9 #MIAvsTB #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/KjghsOKBoB
“I think it was better,” Flores said after the game about the line. “We protected inside out, kept the pocket clean. A good amount of the night there were some instances where the quarterback position was able to help those guys out and stepped up in the pocket. But again, I’ll get a better look at it tomorrow. There were some holding penalties that we didn’t like that kind of stalled some drives. Those are the things that hinder an offense more than anything. We were down in the red zone early, a holding penalty pushed us from 2nd-and-7 to 1st-and-19 – not exactly sure but it was somewhere in that realm. We’ve just got to a better job overall as a team of limiting the penalties, doing a good job of ball security, tackling, basic fundamentals. Look its an imperfect game, so I know we are going to get a holding there, a missed tackle here and there and a drop the ball there. As much as we can limit those things, that will help us.”
Hello Charles Harris! It was only one game, but the Dolphins 2017 first-round pick suddenly showed up. He was in the backfield constantly and he recorded 1.5 sacks, with four quarterback hits. Add in linebacker Jerome Baker and the Dolphins have a pass rush. It may not be conventional, but it showed signs of life. Harris and Baker, who had the other part of Harris’ half-sack, appear to be the top two options in creating pressure, but this year’s first-round pick Christian Wilkins also made his presence felt up the middle, recording two quarterback hits with a sack from his defensive tackle position. Nate Orchard, with his number four jersey, also recorded a sack.
Again, it was one game, and it was a preseason game at that, but the Dolphins’ pass rush made a little bit of an appearance.
After a week which included complaints from Fitzpatrick’s family that the Dolphins are playing him out of position, Miami started him at that “out of position” position, having him play strong safety. The team does not really have a choice at this point, with Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald both dealing with injuries. Fitzpatrick played the fifth-most snaps on defense, appearing on the field for 42 plays, 59 percent of the game for Miami’s defense. He was up in the box at times, playing like a linebacker, and he was deeper, like a safety. He seemed to have roles covering running backs and tight ends on pass routes. The Dolphins like the versatility of Fitzpatrick, so him moving around and doing multiple things makes sense.
He recorded two tackles with one pass defensed during the game.
Bonus: Preston Williams
Williams moved up to the starting lineup on Friday, but he was not able to keep up the performance from Preseason Week 1. He had an amazing catch in the endzone, tipping the ball to himself in traffic, but his toes just barely touched out of bounds after the tip, negating the reception. Other than that, drops were an issue, and Williams still needs to work on his route running. He finished the game with one reception for seven yards on six targets.