The Dolphins fall again, but what have we learnt after two weeks of the preseason?

After watching the Buccaneers and Panthers games there are some worrying signs. We have to remind ourselves this is the pre-season after all, but it is a time to get up to game speed and there are a number of things that need to be ironed out before the first week of the season. 

  • Penalties, this is one of the most concerning areas as it plagued the team last season and has already raised it ugly head in key moments of both games thus far, both offense and defence continue to get called which puts the team in awkward down and distance situations.
  • We are consious that it is the pre-season and Adam Gase does not want to give away the playbook but are we going to see balls thrown down field, it could be argued that the offense was handcuffed against the Panthers because Kenny Stills and Devante Parker were not playing but that is a poor excuse as Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson have got plenty of speed and not once did we see any shots to soften up the back end of the Panthers secondary.
  • Linebackers, against Tampa Bay we are not sure they actually played, against Carolina they made some great plays but they also gave up a number with two resulting in long touchdowns. And yes that was Raekown McMillian chasing after a third string tight end of all positions and looking very slow while doing it.
  • The defensive line improved from last week but that wouldn’t have taken much, there were shocking against the Bucs, this week, apart from the long TD run by McCaffery it wasn’t to bad a performance which leads us onto the secondary...
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick made plays last week and was around the ball, this week did anybody spot him? And then there was the long score, TJ McDonald took a bad angle and got burned for it and Reshad Jones was to far away to catch up. On a positive the interceptions were encouraging, Xavien Howard made an athletic play, Cam Newton probably didn’t see him but non the less he snatched the ball out of the air and returned it back the other way. The worry is there isn't a dependable corner opposite Howard. At present Bobby McCain may have the job but he is better placed at slot corner. Cordrea Tankersley and Tony Lippett are supposedly fighting it out for the N° 2 spot but neither have shown they can be relied upon so McCain may get the job which is what the team had planned on.
  • The offensive line is having problems creating holes in the middle, there was little or no space, it seemed the only time a run was successful was when it bounced to the outside, this needs to change because teams will pick up on this and scheme accordingly.

You may read this and think it is all doom and gloom, there are some positives, the hurry up offense can clearly operate efficiently with number 17 back under centre, it moved the ball with relative ease providing it didn’t get bogged down by penalties, that is where the problems will be. It looks like it can gain 5 yards all day long but set it back ten yards on a second or third down and the drive stalls. 

Kenyan Drake has picked up where he left off last year, he is a threat when ever he touches the ball and has big play potential was on display against the Panthers, give  him an inch and he takes a mile.

It looks like the acquisition of Robert Quinn may be a stroke of genius if he displays the quickness he showed against Carolina, he is obviously very comfortable back in his preferred position on DE rather than edge rushing linebacker and on the opposite end Cameron Wake still looks like he has the tools to terrorize QB’s.

There are more questions than answers at this stage that need to be sorted pretty quickly as next week is the last dress rehearsal for the starting units before the final pre season game which is an audition for the players on the back end of the roster to make the team. It will be interesting to see what transpires next week.