If there were a word to describe the Dolphins first-team performance last week against the Buccaneers, that word would probably be ass. Dropped passes, bad quarterback play, and a crapload of offensive line penalties kept the Fins in a quagmire of shittiness. It didn't help that they had to play on the football-killing red-clay maw the Marlins call an infield while it rained relentlessly. Hopefully it'll be a dry night weather-wise in Jacksonville come game time. Here are four things to watch for in tomorrow night's pre-season matchup:
1. The Offensive Line: Sure, watching the offensive line is not exactly exhilarating football. But there are questions that need answers here. Miami's offensive line has begun to resemble Spinal Tap's drummers. Members of the O-line have been dropping left and right lately. So much so that the team signed 34-year old journeyman guard Randy Thomas to a contract this week. Also, the ever-important starting center position is up for grabs between Joe Berger and Jake Grove. A good idea might be to reward the better player with a giant lechon marinated in its own juices. Because offensive linemen love to eat, you see.
2. Chad Henne: From the looks of it, you either side with those who like Henne, or those who think he should be beaten with a dead rabbit and stuffed into a potato sack with a wolverine. Holy hell do people lose their shit when discussing Henne. But here's the thing: the guy is a good player. He has the arm, the size, the moxie. And, more importantly, he has the coaching staff's confidence. Chad Pennington was amazing for the Fins two seasons ago. But he's older and, in case you forgot, his throwing shoulder has now morphed into that stuff they make Chinese fortune cookies with. As for Tyler Thigpen -- yes he did a fine job last week. Against the Bucs' second and third teamers. There's no quarterback controversy here. Unless, of course, Henne totally blows tomorrow night.
3. The Other Guys: We're not going to mention the starters here. We know what they can do. And while Brandon Marshall was punting everything in sight this week at training camp because of his frustration over dropped balls, we stand by our belief that The Beast won't let us down when the games matter. No, the preseason is really about the fringe guys, the guys looking to earn a roster spot. It makes for compelling football. Or brain-dead boredom. Depends on your point-of-view. Receiver Marlon Moore is making a strong case to make the team with his speed and with a solid game last week. Safety/cornerback Nate Ness made several game-saving plays against Tampa Bay. Can they each have a repeat performance? These are guys to watch. Unless there's something more interesting on TV come third quarter. And, oh, there most certainly will be.
4. Pat White's Requiem: Pat White took a total of two snaps last week. One of them was a hand-off, the other a game-ending kneel down. White was taken with the Dolphins second round pick last year because they thought they could insert a quick, big-armed QB into their Wild Cat packages. Instead, what they got was a dude who looks like a prepubescent boy who runs the risk of literally dying during a game every single time he has the ball in his hands. Rumor has it White will be cut after this weekend. Aside from Jeff Ireland asking Dez Bryant if his mom was a hooker, this so far ranks as the dumbest draft move by this front office so far. Let's hope it ends there.
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Game time is 7:30 p.m.; broadcast live on WFOR channel 4.