The Miami Dolphins fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night by a score of 17-16, but there were plenty of bright spots for Miami to build on moving forward.
Aside from a sloppy night in the area of turnovers, the Dolphins’ offense continued to come together and the defense again looked very strong. Ryan Tannehill looks to be on the same page with all of his weapons, and the defense has a whole racked up six sacks on the evening.
Here are three of my takeaways from tonight’s 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay:
1) Fast Start: The Miami Dolphins’ first unit led by Ryan Tannehill was able to get off to the start they’ve been looking for throughout the preseason. The first team Dolphins’ offense controlled the football through 17 plays and although they didn’t get 7 points out of it, more importantly, they were able to put points on the scoreboard. That’s an encouraging sign for a team that has been stagnant to start out games in the preseason.
2) Dolphins Get To The QB: It’s evident that the Miami Dolphins’ defense can turn up the heat when they need to, getting six sacks against the offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon, Jonathan Freeny, Josh Kaddu and Kelcie McCray all had sacks tonight. It’s encouraging to see how easily second-year defensive end Vernon has matured to the level that he could be a force for opposing offensive tackles in 2013. The strength of this defense is definitely in the front seven and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle should have fun creating different looks to take advantage of the speed that has been assembled on the unit.
3) Tannehill And Receivers Gelling: This offseason the Dolphins knew they had to strengthen the wide receiver position and with the additions of Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and the re-signing of Brian Hartline, these three will challenge each and every secondary they go up against this season. The trio combined for 12 receptions and 114 yards in two quarters of play tonight. Each one did things individually that were impressive to me. Wallace was able to show toughness catching the football inside the numbers in the redzone while receiver Brandon Gibson seems to be quite comfortable playing the role of the slot receiver. Although he had a drop in the endzone, he came back a series or two later making a difficult catch in traffic for six points. Brian Hartline looks like he has found a nice rhythm outside the numbers running crisp routes and giving an easy target for Ryan Tannehill to find and move the chain.
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