Thursday, August 18, 2016
Preseason week 2: Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
After a 27-10 victory in Met Life Stadium last Friday night, the Miami Dolphins travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a prime time game on NFL Network. Kickoff is at 8pm. As many of us felt great about the victory, there were still many questions heading into week 2. Here are a few questions that hope to get answered in this game:
1) Will the first string offense put it together? Can Ryan Tannehill get a grasp of this offense before the all important 3rd preseason game?
2) Will we finally see the starting offensive line, featuring Laremy Tunsil featured at LG?
3) With Suh, Wake, Mario, Reshad and Byron Maxwell taking the field, how will the defense look in limited time?
4) Can the LB unit step up and stop Elliot and the Dallas rushing attack?
Typically in the second preseason game, the offense will typically play at least 2-3 series. Of course, this is predicated on if there is any success in any of those drives. Last week, Miami's starting offense went 3 and out, a common theme we saw last season, on both their possessions. It took until the beginning of the second quarter to get the offense moving. And when the second and third units got going, they outscored the Giants 27-0, after a 10-0 deficit. The starting unit has looked better in the final days of training camp, giving hope to the staff, that it will come together this week. I expect Ryan Tannehill to move the offense more efficiently this week, producing points and getting everyone involved.
This game will also feature Arian Foster, albeit in a very limited role. Foster has said this week he is looking forward to returning to game action. I for one, am excited to see what he can bring to this offense. He is a dynamic runner and a very good pass catching RB. Jay Ajayi is still number one on the depth chart, but after a poor showing in the first preseason game, he is no longer a lock onto that position. I expect Foster to get 10 plays on offense in this game, to see how he holds up.
As I mentioned before, the starting defense will get its first look. Dallas has a formidable offensive line, arguably the best in the league for 3 consecutive seasons. Suh, Wake, Williams, Jason and Reshad Jones, along with Maxwell, will all see some time. What a great test to see what this unit could potentially produce against a great front 5 on the other side. The defense will still be missing Xavien Howard and newly acquired Chris Culliver, both whom I believe will be fighting for the CB2 spot when both healthy. The defense looked great last week after the opening drive. Look for more aggressive play from every line of defense. I also expect a great test for Byron Maxwell, going up against Dez Bryant, who looked un-guardable against the Rams last week.
While many believe these games do not count, they absolutely do matter. This is a great test for this Dolphins team, leading up to the big week 3 match up on national TV against the Falcons.