Take a deep breath, it's okay! The Dolphins got trounced at home last night in their second preseason outing against the Ravens. 31-7 is quite a defeat, factoring the Dolphins scored first. While many are already throwing in the towel (it is the preseason people), here are my 5 takeaways from last nights game:
1. Jay Cutler and the Offense will be different than under Tannehill- Jay Ajayi takes the ball for no gain on the first play of the game, Cutler and the offense lines up a few seconds later to run another play. This is a big change from the offense under Tannehill. I wrote a few months ago about if the switch to a high paced offense was good or bad to do. Tannehill did struggle with this at the beginning of last year and when the offense slowed, things worked out for the better. I don't see this with Cutler. I believe Gase is going to run a hurry up scheme with his QB from his days in Chicago. With hopes the running game remains consistent as last year, this could be a very good offensive attack. And no, we will not see the full scheme until week 1. Why put it on tape?
2. We have found our new Surtain and Madison CB Duo- While Byron Maxwell impressed last night with 2 forced fumbles, it was Xavien Howard and rookie Cordrea Tankersley who stole the show. Both with interceptions, both with a high level of difficulty. Howard had a nice over the shoulder interception on an overthrow. Tankersley absolutely RIPPED the ball away from the opposing receiver before hitting the ground. This unit could be special this season, especially these 2 young guns. I hope they stay healthy!
3. Lineback depth is a huge issue- Mike Hull is a great back up, but he is not an every down, run stuffing middle linebacker. Chase Allen, while providing the most tackles and was all over the field last night, he also does not solve the issues at MLB. It is imperative that the front office gets it right, and sign a veteran (looking at you Rey Magaluga). The team will continue to hinder themselves if they can't stop the run. They gave up 141 yards on the ground last night to the Ravens.
4. Take a seat Phillips, you are the weakest link- I tried to back Jordan Phillips. I really did. His name wasn't called last night. Godchaux and Taylor, both rookies this year, have absolutely played the part next to Suh. Godchaux has entrenched himself as the starter right now with Taylor right behind him. Phillips will need to put on a hell of a performance these final two preseason games to get back his spot. I just don't know if we will see it.
5. Offensive line cannot afford injuries- the starting unit played well on the opening couple series before being replaced. That's when I started to sweat. The second and third units were not very good. Asiata, who played a ton last night looked decent and sprung the TD run by Perry for the only score. Sam Young held just about every play. The tackle and guard depth is very alarming. Week 3 of the preseason we should see the starting unit play (except Pouncey, who may only get a series or two of work). As with Linebackers above, the Dolphins need to get some better talent, or we will find ourselves entrenched in another Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner situation.
Next week is a big preseason game. We finally get to see more of the starting offense. Hopefully everyone comes out healthy and will get a ton of rest for the final two weeks before the regular season begins. Breathe easy fans, in Gase we trust.