Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers: 7 Things the Dolphins Showed Us

Brandon ChillingworthCorrespondent IIAugust 19, 2011

Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers: 7 Things the Dolphins Showed Us

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    Tonight the Miami Dolphins had their second preseason contest against the Carolina Panthers. The final score of the game was 20-10.

    This preseason game was especially intriguing because this would be the first time fans got to see Reggie Bush as a featured running back. He was acquired by the Dolphins this offseason from the New Orleans Saints.

    Brandon Marshall also made his preseason debut tonight.

    This game also featured the 2011 NFL Draft's first overall pick, quarterback Cam Newton. Cam Newton would get his first preseason start for the Panthers.

    This was a very exciting preseason game; the Dolphins showed us a lot.

Chad Henne Is Capable of Solid Play

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    Chad Henne came out tonight and looked like he had nothing to prove. Despite all of the criticism that he's received this offseason, Henne didn't look like he was under pressure at all.

    He looked better than I've ever seen in the pocket. He felt the rush well, looked to secondary and tertiary receivers, and made smart decisions with the ball.

    When he had no receivers open, he ran with the ball and gained yards with his feet.

    There was only one pass Henne threw all night that could have been intercepted.

    Early on he got the ball to Brandon Marshall, and all of those throws were on target. Henne found Davone Bess often in the slot with crisp, accurate throws. On two occasions he got the ball to Reggie Bush out of the backfield, and gave him a chance to make plays.

    Chad showed confidence throwing the ball downfield as well. He missed on all of his deep balls, but didn't appear rattled after the incompletions. He had one pass where he found Clyde Gates over the top, but overthrew the pass. This is a positive though; it's better to go deep than short. Considering Henne and Gates have only had a short camp to work together, this is a problem that should be soon fixed.

    Most importantly, Henne gained yards, moved the chains, ate up clock and helped put together scoring drives.

    I have been a tough critic of Chad Henne for a long time, but today I can't possibly say anything bad about him.

Mike Pouncey Was a Great Pick and Will Be a Great NFL Center

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    Snapping the ball has been an issue for Mike Pouncey. Today he had a couple of bad snaps, specifically in shotgun situations. This issue will be fixed; by the end of the season people will forget that snapping was even an issue for the future Pro Bowler.

    Blocking will not be an issue for Pouncey. He was great in the run game today, clearing holes and creating great situations for the Dolphins running backs. He got to the second level fast and manhandled defenders. He was very good at sealing off running lanes and has quick feet.

    Along with Jake Long, Pouncey will be a long-time anchor for the Dolphins offensive line.

    Mike was a tremendous draft pick and will continue to prove that throughout the season.

Jake Long Can't Get Hurt Duing the Regular Season

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    Dolphins left tackle Jake Long has been injured for most of training camp and won't see the field this preseason. Today, Lydon Murtha filled in for the three-time Pro Bowler.

    In short, Lydon Murtha is not Jake Long.

    His blocking was adequate, but got multiple penalties in the first half. One of them prevented what could have been another scoring drive for the Dolphins.

    Run blocking from the line was good today, but with Long it would have been on another level.

    The Dolphins need their best player to be available for the entire regular season or their job will be much more difficult.

The Dolphins Receivers Are Very Good

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    Specifically, Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess had great games today. They had 10 catches combined and really made Chad Henne's job a lot easier.

    Henne connected with Marshall early and often. It was obvious that Carolina had nobody remotely capable of covering the superstar wideout. He will be a great safety blanket this year for Henne.

    Davone Bess is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. He is very good in the slot and can make people miss in the middle of the field.

    Anthony Fasano caught two passes today and made a difference; he is poised to have a good year.

    Clyde Gates is a burner. On one deep ball, Henne threw a pass before Gates was past Carolina's safety, and he had a couple of steps on him when the ball got there. The pass was incomplete, but when they get their timing down, Clyde will be a very good deep threat.

    Brian Hartline will be a good compliment to the main targets; expect him to catch a few touchdowns this season.

Reggie Bush Can Run Between the Tackles

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    Reggie Bush came out tonight with a chip on his shoulder. Reports from training camp are that he is the hardest working player on the field. He constantly stays after practice to work on his game.

    All of the people who said Reggie couldn't run the ball between the tackles, caught their breath tonight.

    He was electric tonight; Reggie ended the game with a six-yard average on runs and caught two passes for 33 yards. He had 81 total yards today and only played in the first half.

    He showed tremendous patience waiting for blocks to set up and had a great burst getting to the second level. Reggie showed that it is almost impossible for the first defender to take him down. He is so elusive that he can make anybody miss.

    The former Heisman trophy winner showed everyone why he was drafted second overall.

    The only question is, can Reggie stay healthy?

    If he can, he showed tonight that he can be one of the best running backs in the NFL.

Miami Has a Really Good Defense

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    There really isn't too much to say about the Miami starting defense tonight. They stopped all of Carolina's drives and didn't allow any points to be put up on the board.

    The Dolphins offense dominated the field and ate up the majority of the clock.

    Kevin Burnett looked great alongside Karlos Dansby. They will be a very good combination inside.

    Jared Odrick started—this was great to see as he was the Dolphins first pick last season. He sat out the majority of the year with an injury, but looked good tonight.

Daniel Thomas Will Be a Solid Running Back

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    Daniel Thomas had a good game after coming up short last week against the Atlanta Falcons.

    He had 52 yards rushing and one touchdown.

    He ran the ball with purpose and never allowed himself to get tackled backwards. He showed he can be a bruising back and will be durable.

    At one point he got stuffed three times in a row on the goal line. He did show that he can be resilient as he punched one in later in the game

Misses

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    The Dolphins were playing against the worst team in the NFL last year.

    It was a preseason game, so this game doesn't mean anything.

    Carolina's star linebacker Jon Beason didn't play; he is a game changer when he's on the field.

Conclusion

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    The Miami Dolphins proved tonight that when they play well and execute, they will be very hard to beat.

    They brought a level of excitement to the field tonight that I haven't seen from them in years. The crowd was fired up and there is a lot of enthusiasm going into this season.

    Next week they play the Buccaneers, so look for them to continue the great play.