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Miami Dolphins Looked Overwhelmed In First Preseason Game

Dolphins Looked overwhelmed Addison Via Flickr

NFL

Dolphins Looked Overwhelmed Offensively And Defensively

The general consensus is that NFL preseason games usually don’t hold any weight and it’s a chance to shake the rust off. While that may be true, Miami got outplayed in every aspect of Thursday night’s preseason game against the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Miami won the contest 20-23 after a couple of big time passes secured the lead. Even so, the Dolphins looked overwhelmed on defense, offense, and special teams. Here are five thoughts on Miami’s preseason opener.

1. Rookie Linebacker Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan left the game after he was injured on the first punt coverage of 2017. After McMillan went down, he was able to walk off the field under his own power. However, like we saw with Tannehill, this does not always mean good news. McMillan has torn his ACL and will be out for the entire 2017 season. This is a huge problem for Miami, who just lost their starting linebacker. Mike Hull and Neville Hewitt will likely fill in for McMillan inside, granted Kiko picks up the slack outside. Furthermore, Miami is deficient with depth at linebacker, and things just got a lot trickier.

2. Little Room For Optimism In The Running Game

With Jay Ajayi out nursing a concussion, Damien Williams, Kenyan Drake, De’Veon Smith, and Storm Johnson took all the carries. Without their starter, Miami’s running backs combined for just 63 yards on 21 carries. Not exactly the impressive performance you look for from your reserves. “It’s tough to play Dan [Quinn’s] defense,” coach Adam Gase said after the game. With a 44-yard kickoff return, Storm Johnson was the highlight for the offensive backfield. The Dolphins looked overwhelmed in the running game behind a makeshift offensive line. Jay Ajayi is going to take a beating this season. That being said, the players behind him need to be ready to step up when the time comes.

3. Did The Defense Really Look That Bad? 

Miami made considerable upgrades on defense after finishing 29th in total yards allowed in 2016. Using five draft picks on defense, and adding multiple pieces via free agency, Miami is making changes. However, those changes have yet to show. The Dolphins looked overwhelmed on defense as well, first, second, and third-team included. Atlanta’s third-string quarterback torched Miami’s first-team defense while driving down the field for a touchdown. Generally speaking, the amount of yards and points given up aren’t exactly relevant. Teams are experimenting and shaking the rust off. However, the tone and physicality Miami showed is troubling. If Atlanta left their foot on the gas, it would have looked a lot worse.

4. Embarrassment Of Riches At Wide Receiver

The wide receiver corps in Miami is arguably one of the best in the NFL and shined bright Thursday night. The big three of Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and Da’Vante Phillips aside, the backups show promise. Leonte Carroo beat Falcons reserve corner C.J. Goodwin on a 33-yard touchdown, and made a nice move before the catch to secure the score. The Dolphins looked overwhelmed everywhere besides catching the football. In addition, the wideouts all showed good blocking on rushing plays, despite the running game staying quiet all night. The big surprise of the night came from Ole Miss undrafted rookie Damore’ea Stringfellow, I’ll leave it up to you to pronounce his name. The rookie snagged a 99-yard TD pass from David Fales to secure the game-winning score. Stringfellow beat third-year veteran Jalen Collins on the play, also making a move on the safety to take it to the house. Jay Cutler is going to have some weapons this upcoming season.

5. Defensive Tackle Davon Godchaux Is Moving Up The Depth Chart

A rookie from LSU, Godchaux was expected to provide depth behind Suh and third-year player Jordan Phillips. On the contrary, the best player is going to start, and that may be Godchaux. Jordan Phillips has under performed the last couple of seasons and was expected to take a step forward. However, Godchaux has shown enough flashes to earn meaningful snaps. If Phillips was making strides, the feeling is that he would have seen more snaps. Miami needs three or four guys to rotate at tackle, so everyone will see reps. It’s only the first game of the preseason, but this battle may be something to keep an eye on. Miami has never been the team to start rookies on defense, maybe that will change this year.

 

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