5 Things Miami Dolphins Fans Should Hope to See in Their Third Preseason Game
The Miami Dolphins will travel to Houston on Saturday Night to play their third preseason game of 2013.
Houston has long been a house of horrors for the Dolphins, as in regular season play the Dolphins have had yet to emerge victorious over the Texans in the history of either franchise.
So what better place for the Dolphins to tune up for an expectation-laden 2013 season than at said house of horrors against said team of horrors?
What better team to put your offensive line to the test against than one that contains J.J. Watt?
As usual during the preseason, the result of the game doesn't matter, what does matter is how the starters fare. What should we expect from the Dolphins come Saturday Night?
Here are five things to look for when the Dolphins take the field.
How Will the Dolphins Offensive Line Handle the Texans Defensive Line?
Look at the picture up there. Isn't this just the epitome of the Jonathan Martin-era? Here's J.J. Watt running towards the Dolphins backfield, and all Martin can do is hold Watt (it's worth mentioning that Watt does appear to have his hand on Martin's facemask).
This time around, Martin doesn't have to deal with Watt—the only defensive end I would trade Cameron Wake for—as he will be Tyson Clabo and Josh Samuda's problem during the game.
However, the Dolphins still have to deal with an aggressive 3-4 defense that isn't afraid to blitz you early and often. Since this is the preseason you won't see anything too wild or exotic, and while the Dolphins offense will be on the field for a full quarter, there's no guarantee that the Texans defense will do the same.
But when they are on the field together, you have to admit that you couldn't ask for a better test for the Dolphins offensive line than the Texans defensive line. Think of it as their graduate school after spending all training camp up against the also great Dolphins defensive line.
A Hopeful End to This Dumb Running Back Competition
I already stated my argument about this, but I'll rehash it.
Apparently, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are still competing for the number one running back spot.
With that being said, let's hope this thing gets settled on Saturday night with Lamar Miller doing too good of a job blocking, followed by him carrying the ball at least four times and averaging six yards per carry (he's already averaging 6.75 per carry), or maybe breaking through for a home run.
Daniel Thomas could prove me wrong and be much better than Miller at blocking, and play very well while running and catching the ball.
Either way, let's get this thing settled somehow.
Another Victory in the Turnover Battle
You could make the argument that the overall turnover battle will be the difference between the Dolphins making the playoffs in 2013.
Last season the Dolphins were -10 in the turnover department. In a related story, they finished 7-9.
The Dolphins would turn the ball over twice and not force a turnover against the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game. They would lose said game 24-20.
The Dolphins then forced three turnovers against Jacksonville and only gave up one. The result: a 27-3 victory.
There might be a slight correlation between those numbers.
The Dolphins offense will face a challenge against a Texans defense that loves to blitz and force turnovers (Houston was ranked seventh in the league in turnover differential).
The Dolphins defense faces a similar challenge in taking the ball away.
The more takeaways the Dolphins have, the better hope there will be for the season. We will also get to see Brent Grimes on Andre Johnson, which looks to be a rather epic cornerback versus receiver battle.
Tannehill-to-Wallace; Even If It's Only Once
He’s a guy who takes some chances and believes in his arm. A lot of times those work out for him. Today was one of those days.
Mike Wallace seems to like Ryan Tannehill a lot. Since the beginning of what has been an up-and-down training camp for the Dolphins quarterback—who's a loss in Cleveland away from potentially becoming the embattled Dolphins quarterback due to fan and media overreaction—Wallace has stood up for Tannehill when questions surrounded the chemistry between the two.
Me and Ryan are feeling good about each other, I promise you. I'd tell you I felt any different. I feel like he's making great plays. He's throwing the ball to everybody, he's getting the ball to everybody, moving the ball around.
You can't just see him stuffing the ball into me. That's not going to work. That's not going to help us be better. It's just going to be forcing the ball. I think he's making the right reads and he's doing a great job.
They may feel good about each other, but we haven't seen that chemistry translate into results during a game.
We have to see it on Saturday; it's a must. The first play should go to Wallace, whether it's a deep route or a slant.
Speaking of Ryan Tannehill...
Tannehill Needs to Show Consistency
Two initialisms to remember with the Dolphins this season:
- #BIM: Believe In Miami. Started last year by Clyde Gates (ironically cut after training camp and then signed by the Jets), it spread throughout the team and the fanbase.
- #CMF: Consistency Mo—yeah, you know what I mean.
That's what I want to see from Tannehill: some consistency in his throws and how he behaves in the pocket.
No more happy feet, step up and throw with confidence. Don't lock onto one receiver, you're Ryan Tannehill, not Chad Henne.
#CMF Tannehill, that's what Dolphins fans want to see from you. That's what Dolphins fans NEED to see from you.
If you can deliver against Houston—a team that terrorized you in your first ever NFL start—you will definitely bring relief to a legion of Dolphins fans who do Believe in Miami.
But in the end, for fans to #BIM, Tannehill and the Dolphins need to show #CMF.
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