Last night the Dolphins capped off a weeks worth of joint practices with the Eagles in what everyone knows is the dress rehearsal(drink) before they strap it up for real in a few weeks. Remember if you’re playing the 2017 Preseason Drinking Game you have to take 1 drink when the announcers say that week 3 is the dress rehearsal for the regular season for the starters because they won’t play much in week 4. Anyways, it was actually a good game that only saw the starters mostly only play a little bit past the start of the 2nd quarter. That was mainly due to Wentz getting consistently hit by Miami’s defensive line, which looks like it has the depth and talent to get to the QB often. Miami’s new front man, Jay Cutler made his 2nd appearance since taking the long painstaking journey back out of retirement and the booth. Jay looked like he felt more comfortable compared to last week. Cutler finished with a nice statline of 5-8 for 105 yds and a TD. That’s impressive because it usually takes Tannehill 15 completitions to reach a 100yds. He had a nice play deep in their endzone where he climbed the pocket(sorry not sorry for flexing my football brain) to find Stills for a 1st down. Then the play happened that had Miami fans and fantasy football folk tongues fall out of their heads
We all know Jay can do that. Even though he was retired all that while, it’s still nice to see that he still has that club in the bag. Also, not saying Parker is the truth yet, but he does look solid so far. He seems like the prototype receiver Jay has done well with in the long long ago so here’s hoping Parker stays healthy. Could be in for a major year.
Miami’s offensive live also had a decent day. The return of Mike Pouncey made a significant difference. The guy needs to stay healthy, which is a lot to say because he never stays healthy. The guy who struggled the most was Laremy Tunsil. He had trouble keeping up with the edge rushers which resulted in Cutler getting sacked and losing a fumble. Of course Jay needs better ball security but you’re 1st round tackle and most prepared man in the event of chemical warfare needs to do a better job of getting his hands on the end and shuffle his feet. I think he’ll be fine.
Since the O-Line played better, Jay Ajayi had a better day than last week. Amazing how that works. The other half of the Killer Jays finished with 9 carries for 53 yards and 2 TDs. Again, fantasy football people will probably move Ajayi all the way up to a top 5 pick after last night’s performance. I’m not going to tell anyone how to draft but it’s generally never a good idea to base much off what a guy does in the preseason. It was encouraging to see Ajayi break tackles and finish runs especially at the goal line. That’s what makes Ajayi such an inciting RB in fantasy; his ability to get the carries and make the most of them from inside the 5.
As for Landry and Stills, they both had productive nights. Landry had 2 catches for 49 yds and showed the toughness that he also had. Hopefully he continues to play with that big chip on his shoulder and by chip I mean the long-term contract he still hasn’t been offered. Stills had 2 catches for short yardage but he his biggest play was scorching the Eagle’s secondary with a double move which resulted in pass interference in the end zone. That set up a 1 yard score to Julius Thomas. But the most fun play from the receiving core came from Jakeem Grant
Hopefully Grant can get on he field and his speed can be utilized. At the very least I hope he gets solidified as the punt returner but that comes down to catching punts, which is a big part of the job.
Defensively, Miami’s vaunted line played up to that. They had consistent pressure on Wentz and didn’t get gashed to much with by the running game. Consistent tackling still is the main concern for the front 7. Timmons was all over the field. He even had a INT that he snagged out of the air. 340lb Jordan Phillips, whose been sort on the fringe of where he stood on the depth chart made a very athletic INT and took it 20 some yards to the 3. The secondary had issues especially Byron Maxwell.
Certainly a miscommunication between Maxwell and Rashad Jones. Immediately watching it, you can see Jones expected Maxwell to have Torrey Smith the whole way and Maxwell even attests to that
“It was a bust on my part,” Maxwell said. “I saw the guy running the ‘7’ and I thought to come off. I should have just kept on the post. I had him covered, I should have just stayed on the post.”
But even throughout the whole time Maxwell was in there, it looked like he was giving up inside position on every receiver. Like he was surprised every time a receiver came off the line. Maybe they purposefully don’t have Maxwell up in the grill of the receivers by design. It just be nice to have Maxwell and all the corners use the 5 yard bump and run to their advantage and knock guys off course. The secondary really needs to step up their game. They won’t get to the level of the d-line especially after losing Lippett for the year and having to wait for McDonald to return after serving his 8 game suspension, but not being a 1 trick pony of Jones being the only making plays needs to change. Howard and Maxwell gotta hold up their end.
Overall, the dress rehearsal(drink) was ok. The starters played well, Cutler manned the offense, the skilled guys made plays and the line looked slightly improved with Pouncey. Not to sound all Dave Wannstedty, but Tunsil made some mistakes that are correctable and hopefully they will be corrected. The defensive line played up to their billing but the secondary looked out of whack. Can’t have that kind of stuff when they strap it up for real(drink).
I’ll have a state of the franchise breakdown of Miami’s upcoming season when the preseason is over and the roster is in place. Wouldn’t be surprised if Miami is active this week when it comes to trades. Just a feeling. In the end, Fins Up!
PS- This analysis comes from a guy who never played a down off organized football. So feel free to disregard everything I said and say that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Credit to me for putting that out there and owning that fact. Pro Tip- Always get ahead of the storm