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Dolphins Get Sloppy Win In 10-7 Victory Over Bucs

The Miami Dolphins 2010 season has officially begun. The first pre-season game is now in the rear-view mirror, and everything that the team needs to work on the rest of the pre-season is out in the open for all to see.

Now keep in mind that it is indeed the first pre-season game, so not much can be taken from the game, or the statistics. Not only was it the first exhibition game, but the game was played in a downpour of rain for much of the first half. The weather conditions only made matters worse for the Fins first team offense as quarterback Chad Henne appeared not to ever have had a decent grip on the ball, and both Brain Hartline and Brandon Marshall dropping passes that hit them in their hands.

The game was a sloppy one, and there is not much else to say about the overall plot of the game. Here are the top performers for the Fins, and some aspects of the gameplay that I would like to see improved.

Highlights:

  • Paul Solia: Solia dominated every play that he was on the field for. He was virtually unblockable, and was not only eating up space and taking on double teams, allowing the inside linebackers to get to the quarterback with ease, but was repeatedly in the backfield himself, stuffing the run, and even recovering a fumble. Granted, Solia was playing against the opposing teams second string offensive line, but it is a good sign that he is playing on such a high level this early on.
  • Tony McDaniel: McDaniel was also one of the bright spots not only of the Fins defensive line, but of the game. He looked quick in getting to the ball, and forced a fumble in the game, and stuffed the running backs at the line numerous times. With the help of McDaniel and Solia, the defensive line could very well be our deepest and best unit on the team, ahead of the running backs.
  • Inside linebackers: Both starting inside linebackers Karlos Dansby and Channing Crowder were flying to the ball, and were all over the field, with Crowder dominating the first quarter with three tackles. Dansby showed his quick recognization of various plays and got to the ball quick as well. Dansby in the middle improves the defense so much, and the Bucs were not looking to pass into Dansby’s zone very often.
  • Defensive Rookies: Both Jared Odrick and Koa Misi performed very well tonight. Misi played the majority of the first half, and showed that he can indeed defend against the run, and chase down a ball carrier. Meanwhile Odrick was a disruptive force along with the rest of the defensive line. Odrick recovered a fumble, and put in an admirable performance against the starting offensive line for the Bucs. Both rookies are expected to start on Opening Day.
  • Nate Ness: Ness was seemingly all over the field in the second hald, contributing four tackles, three pass breakups, amd two forced fumbles. Ness saved the game for the Fins twice in the red-zone with his deflections. He was one of the bright spots in a second half that was for the most part uneventful. Ness should see some extended reps for the rest of the pre-season, as he is fighting for a roster spot. If he keeps playing like this, he may beat out Jason Allen. Ness is a star on special teams as well as Allen.

Lowlights:

  • Pass Coverage: The Miami Dolphins cornerbacks were often seen playing 5 yards off the line of scrimmage, and suffered for this early on in the game. The first team offense for the Buccaneers lit up the Dolphins secondary, for 53 yards on four passing plays. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman completed all four of his passes. Sean Smith did register an interception, but it was a poorly thrown ball that was uncontested by the receiver. Over the course of the pre-season, I would like to see how the corners fare when in press coverage, which suits our corners well, with Smiths long frame, and Vontae Davis’ physicality.
  • Pat White MIA: White did not appear in the game at all, and watched from the sidelines as fellow backup Tyler Thigpen registered all of the snaps in the 2nd quarter, and 2nd half. White is on the bubble so as it is, and seeing as how Thigpen performed admirably, throwing for 145 yards on a 10-19 day, White will have to show that he is worth keeping in not only practice this week, but the rest of the pre-season games as well. White will most likely be cut if he does not flash any signs of worthiness to the Fins coaching staff.

All in all it is hard to come away with a huge number of  lowlights for the Dolphins. Their front seven dominated, and while it was disappointing seeing the first team offense stall time and again, I see the weather as a major contributor to that. The Dolphins will have to get back to work, and focus on correcting their various mistakes in tonights game, and show what they can do come next week, when they travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars next Saturday.


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