Miami Dolphins-Carolina Panthers:Preseason Week Two
It would be unfair to make a game review of this game without reminding this is preseason and teams are still adapting into new players and including several changes on their schemes. Also there's a emphatic evaluation on situations that sometimes are unclear out of the mind of the head coach and require some patience to understand.
Overall, Miami showed some progress compared to last week and this was a pretty close match that both teams tried to win. Thus highlighted SWOT parts - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats - so it keep me busy for hours on the weekend.
I found serious strengths on a revamped O-Line that showed pretty well with Donald Thomas reinstalled in the first team.
A second and perhaps collateral strength (that is creating a nice problem for Sparano and Co) is a powerful backfield with Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hilliard. Each of them ran like demons last Saturday at Land Shark Stadium.
Both situations have both Chads as nice throwers, but there are good opportunities with Wildcat variations. Especially as this package seems to be more difficult to protect than expected. Miami only used what is known of it and they executed fine, so this makes me think about what is still unknown.
On defense there's no clear strength but there are fine chances that this defense may be hard to pass.
Both rookie DB appear to be the solution on a headache for seasons. On week one Sean Smith made a crucial interception and this weekend Vontae Davis showed his first round skills by making impressive solo tackles.
The Dolphins used every defensive back in the roster, consequence of being without Sean Smith and Jason Allen, who suffered of some flu illness. That marked the obvious lack of deep on this zone.
A severe threat is the way DeAngelo Williams broke 7-8 tackles and scored like playing against hi school boys.
The only real weakness I saw, was on special teams, as there are too many failures but seems to be somehow fixable.
Firm roster cuts
Last week, CB Erick Green -the veteran projected to handle the position while any rookie (Vontae Davis or Sean Smith) were adapting- lose his job after a very disappointing exhibition against Jaguars' offense. So with just Green's first game as a Dolphin, he was cut. By this, Miami's sending a solid message about quality and performance required to stay on the roster.
This week, after trying to use him in different positions, the Ernest Wilford experiment ended with a very high price of $ 1.5 million on salary cap. That was caused because by cutting him, Dolphins must pay him the rest of his $6 million guaranteed, that means he'll go with $ 4.5 millions instead of the $ 3 million projected for this season.
So today the Dolphins are purging the roster, with more changes. So Miami cut RB Anthony Kimble, LB Tearrius George and Orion Martin, NT Joe Cohen, KR/PR Chris Williams and the mentioned WR/TE Ernest Wilford.
An injured Williams was waived after a disastrous play that ended on a fumble and destroying his chances as a Dolphin.
Cohen was dispensable after an excellent training camp of Paul Soliai, who is making progress as backup NT. As collateral effect, rookie Louis Ellis increased his chances of making the final roster.
Within a backfield including a healthy Ronnie Brown, a rejuvenated Ricky Williams, Sparano's favorite Patrick Cobbs and impressive Lex Hilliard, there was no hope for Kimble.
Both LB George and Martin were long shoot for the roster.
O-linemen Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe were traded to Kansas City for yet unknown draft picks. Alleman is expected to play as center while Ndukwe will serve as right tackle with the Chiefs.
Next game on Dolphins' schedule: at Tampa bay Buccaneers, Thu, Aug 27, 8:00 PM, Will be televised by FOX.
Next game on Panthers' schedule: Baltimore Ravens, Sat, Aug 29, 8:00 PM.
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