Miami Dolphins: Biggest Preseason Disappointments so Far
Other than a season-ending injury to Dustin Keller, the Miami Dolphins' preseason has had limited disappointment.
The swirling negativity surrounding the Dolphins is mostly due to uncertainty.
- Can Joe Philbin be a winning head coach?
- Will Ryan Tannehill take a step forward?
- Will Dion Jordan prove to be worthy of a top draft selection?
- Can Jonathan Martin succeed as an NFL left tackle?
- Will Miami's new linebackers be an upgrade?
- Can Lamar Miller flourish as a full-time starter?
Miami was 7-9 last year, so it's easy to for pundits who have not done their homework to predict a similar season for the Dolphins. Then there are those local media members and fans who have been jaded by a franchise that has made the playoffs only once in the past decade.
The truth is a 7-9 franchise added Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, Brent Grimes, Philip Wheeler, Dion Jordan, Jamar Taylor, Dion Sims, Tyson Clabo, Lance Louis, Brandon Gibson and Caleb Sturgis among others.
Despite the loss of players like Jake Long and Reggie Bush, Miami's incoming talent is far superior to the talent that was let go.
There are still questions that the preseason cannot totally answer, but 2013 will see a very competitive Dolphins team.
While I am optimistic about the season, following are some of Miami's biggest preseason disappointments without dwelling on the injury to Keller.
Nate Garner's Injury
On Aug. 12, Miami lost the versatile Nate Garner to a shoulder injury, according to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported on Aug. 14 that Garner had surgery and that he would return in less than a month.
While it may be overly optimistic to say that Garner will be ready for the first game of the regular season, the timetable set forth by Jackson was a relief for Miami fans.
Garner is an invaluable backup because he is competent at every position on the offensive line. Hopefully, the Dolphins will not need him anytime soon.
Because of their high cap numbers, we had a feeling that either Richard Marshall or Dimitri Patterson would receive the axe.
Marshall was the victim, as the Dolphins will save $4.6 million in 2013 and $5.35 million in 2014 from erasing his contract.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins did pay Marshall a little over $6 million for four games last season to go with 17 tackles and one interception.
In a perfect world, Marshall and Patterson would have been so good that Jeff Ireland would have had no choice but to keep both. Unfortunately for that scenario, Marshall never impressed.
Patterson will be playing opposite Brent Grimes with one of the rookies, Will Davis or Jamar Taylor, joining them in nickel packages. Nolan Carroll should only serve as depth.
The Mysterious Running Back Competition
Everyone expected the speedy Lamar Miller to be the Dolphins' starting running back in 2013 and a fantasy breakout star. As recently as Aug. 2, SI.com's Michael Beller described Miller as a "workhorse" who "is primed for a huge season."
Then came the talk from inside the Dolphins' organization. Both Adam Beasley and Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reported that Daniel Thomas is in the running back conversation.
No one saw this one coming. Since being drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, Thomas has shown us nothing. In two seasons, the Kansas State product has rushed 256 times for 906 yards, averaging an anemic 3.5 yards per carry.
Maybe Thomas is 100-percent healthy and ready for production at par with his draft status. This would be excellent, but highly unlikely.
I believe Joe Philbin and company are using this competition to motivate both backs.
If it is not a ruse, then Miller may not be impressing. That would be a huge disappointment.
The Audition for Right Guard
Who would have thought John Jerry would be missed?
John Jerry was solid, if unspectacular, last season, starting all 16 games for Miami as its right guard. Yet when positions were being evaluated for an upgrade, everyone looked Jerry's way.
ESPN's James Walker reported that Jerry returned to practice on Aug. 14 and Miami "never found a solid replacement."
Lance Louis was one of the contenders.
Louis, who played for the Chicago Bears last season, is still recuperating from a torn ACL in his left knee. Louis will be a year removed from the injury in November and he bet on himself when signing with the Dolphins, only taking $100,000 in guaranteed money.
Louis has made very little impact so far in the preseason and his roster spot is not a certainty.
The other contender was undrafted second-year man, Josh Samuda.
While Walker believes Samuda's play has been underrated, he has been dominated on occasion during the preseason. Walker's analysis shows that, in the Dolphins' exhibition game against the Texans, Samuda allowed a sack, a quarterback pressure and was responsible for Lamar Miller being tackled in the backfield.
Unless Louis heals in a hurry, it seems that the only upgrade for Miami's right guard position will be from within the mountain of a man that is John Jerry.