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Dolphins fans confident in direction of team, expect change at guard for 2023 season

The Miami Dolphins are preparing to play their second preseason game of the year later today. The fans seem confident in the direction of the team this year but are not sold that Liam Eichenberg will hold on to the left guard position.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins will kick off their second preseason game of the 2023 campaign later today as they face the Houston Texans in Texas. Miami dropped their first game last week, falling to the Atlanta Falcons 19-3. It was not the greatest showing by the team, but the result is not as important as the evaluation and development of the players on the roster. It would be nice to see the team come out and execute, though, and, according to our latest SB Nation Reacts poll brought to us by DraftKings Sportsbook, the national audience did not think Miami executed well.

According to this week’s national poll, Miami was ranked fourth in terms of teams that came out flat last week. The Carolina Panthers received the most votes, picking up 30 percent of the responses, while the Kansas City Chiefs were second at 18 percent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers third at 15 percent, and the Dolphins fourth at 13 percent, tied with the Indianapolis Colts. How the team looked in the first preseason game will not have any impact on the regular season - but maybe the Dolphins coming out looking flat according to the national responses indicates there are expectations for how this team will look this year.

As for the Dolphins-specific questions for this week, our Reacts polls have brought back the fan confidence question, a weekly look at how the fan base feels about the direction of the team. Last year was a roller coaster for fan confidence, reaching as high as 99 percent a couple of times during the season, but also seeing a low of 34 percent in Week 17. As we start the 2023 season, the fans seem to be back on board with the direction of the club, with 83 percent of the responses indicating they are confident in the team’s direction.

We asked two more questions this week, taking a look at two of the key position battles being waged in training camp and into the preseason. Miami has starting spots up for grabs at both left guard and cornerback, and there are several players for both positions trying to claim the role.

At left guard, Miami’s incumbent starter Liam Eichenberg has not locked himself on top of the depth chart and could be fallen behind in the battle. On paper, he is being chased by Lester Cotton, Robert Jones, and Isaiah Wynn, though he could technically already be behind any or all of them. This afternoon’s game against the Texans might be the key signal for who will claim the spot, but Dolphins fans seem to have a favorite in mind. According to 40 percent of the responses, fans believe Wynn will be the Week 1 starter at left guard for Miami. Then 25 percent think Eichenberg will hold on to the position, with 22 percent leaning toward Jones and 13 percent seeing Cotton as the starter when the season begins.

At cornerback, Miami has an unexpected battle for the starting position opposite Xavien Howard. The team traded for Jalen Ramsey in the offseason, looking to create the top cornerback tandem in the league. A meniscus injury during training camp now has Ramsey sidelined, potentially until December, opening his spot on the depth chart to whoever can claim it. According to our responses, that should be Kader Kohou, who claimed 35 percent of the vote. Veteran Eli Apple, who was signed after the injury to Ramsey, picked up 28 percent of the vote, while rookie Cam Smith had 22 percent of the vote. Noah Igbinoghene had 15 percent of the response.

Miami kicks off against the Texans at 4 p.m. ET this afternoon. Who will step up during the game, potentially solidifying himself as a starter for the team this year? Will the battle be settled on Saturday, or will either position’s starting spot remain a question mark heading into next week’s preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Today’s game will be televised live on NFL Network.

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