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With two of the four preseason games complete, with quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore clearly taking to this new offense, with unanswered questions remaining in several important areas and with New England now less than three weeks away, here are some Monday morning morsels to digest:
• I can’t say enough about what I’ve seen from both Tannehill and Moore. Both appear ready for the season to begin. Tannehill has now had two straight sharp performances while Moore probably ended all doubts about any No. 2 quarterback battle with an impressive showing against Tampa Bay. It’s clearly a feel good time for both quarterbacks.
• Wish I could say the same about the running game. There was real concern in Joe Philbin’s words late Saturday night after his starters and key reserves finished the first half at minus 5 yards rushing. That’s unacceptable. You could certainly argue that Knowshon Moreno should return to action next Saturday against Dallas and that will make a difference. But you can’t hide the fact that the No. 1 line lost the battle of penetration and starting back Lamar Miller had 3 yards on 3 carries. I was concerned about this before camp began. I’m just as concerned now.
• What I’m not concerned about are the wide receivers. I can truthfully make an argument for as many as seven to make this team. Unfortunately, there could be as few as four or five. Three have really solidified their status this preseason: veterans Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews and rookie Jarvis Landry. Tough going to keep those three off the field.
• Then there’s the offensive line. I believe we have reached the point in the preseason where Philbin wanted to have a clear starting five. But he has no such luxury at this point. While it appears four of the five spots are relatively secure, the right guard spot remains a concern after Dallas Thomas struggled against the Bucs. It’ll be interesting to see how Philbin handles this. Does he stay with Thomas and look for rapid improvement or does he go with a veteran like Shelley Smith? A tough call. An important call.
• The tackling was better against Tampa Bay, but clearly not good enough, especially in the secondary where both Jimmy Wilson and Louis Delmas struggled some in that area. It was, however, encouraging that the linebackers seemed to step up their game.
• The goal line strip by Brent Grimes against Tampa Bay was big-time in every aspect. Grimes never gave up on the play and showed the type of determination that makes this veteran cornerback a special player.
• I want to keep seeing more of rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp.
• Undrafted rookie linebacker Chris McCain keeps making a case for a spot on this roster. Could he be the surprise of the summer?
• I like what I see from the pass rush, especially by the defensive linemen. This clearly will be one of the strengths of this team.
• Second-year cornerbacks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor continue to enjoy an excellent summer. Both appear ready for serious playing time.
• I’ve got to admit I came into camp with strong doubts about rookie defensive lineman Terrence Fede. I mean how good can a player from Marist be? Well, we are quickly finding out. Fede is contributing both on special teams and on defense and the upside appears considerable.
• This is an important week of practice. The starters figure to play at least the entire first half Saturday against Dallas and it is important that this team quickly advance into a regular season mode. We’ve seen encouraging signs over the first two preseason games. Now, it’s time to take things to another level.
(On Tuesday, AC in the AM takes a close look at offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.)
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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