Last Saturday, the Dolphins fell to the Bears in their first preseason game. The Dolphins starting offense showed signs of life, but only put up 3 points. The starting defense locked down the Bears offense. There were still issues for Miami though. Containing Justin Fields and poor OL play were the most significant.
Below is a list of improvements we’d like to see in tonight’s game versus Atlanta.
The starting OL was below average. 2020 first-round pick Austin Jackson had the toughest day out of everyone.
On one play, he was driven straight back at QB Tua Tagovailoa. Jackson was thrown back and flew into Tagovailoa’s legs. The Dolphins escaped disaster on that play. Jackson stayed in after most starters were pulled and finished the first half. The Dolphins will look for more consistent pass protection from Jackson against an Atlanta DL that isn’t as dangerous as Chicago’s. The Dolphins traded for OT Greg Little, so it’s no secret Austin Jackson’s performance was a concern.
The running backs didn’t have a great performance. Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed showed potential with the first-teamers, but hesitated and lacked vision at times. FA signing Malcolm Brown also struggled, with 9 yards on 8 carries.
Some of these struggles could be attributed to poor OL play, but the RB’s weren’t doing their part either.
Ahmed was solid in the passing game and has been contributing all week at practice. Although Miami plans on a committee-styled RB room, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ahmed get more work with the starters.
It will be important to keep an eye on all the RB’s and see how they fare against a slightly easier front-7 in the Falcons.
The starting defense got off to a great start, and the Bears didn’t pick up a first down until the end of the first half. There were still issues with the defense later on in the game.
Miami has always struggled against mobile QB’s, or any QB once they get outside the pocket. Last week, Bears rookie Justin Fields showed that it was still an issue.
Although Matt Ryan and AJ McCarron aren’t dual-threats, Feleipe Franks is. If Franks gets time with the 2nd-team, it will be interesting to see how Miami’s front-7 contains him.
The pass rush was lackluster for the most part. Besides a handful of good plays, Fields had plenty of time to throw. In that game though, rookie Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah didn’t play. If Miami can get into the Falcons backfield, the defense is going to be even scarier than last week.
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