Who Stood Out
At long last we got our first look at the 2015 version of the Miami Dolphins and more than a few players made an impression. There were a few starters and top tier reserves who made an impression. Highly drafted rookies and undrafted free agents also made an impression as they played in their first live NFL action. I want to look at players beside the obvious, Ryan Tannehill had excellent command of the offense and did exactly what anyone could have hoped for as he led his unit on an 8 minute drive which resulted in a Touchdown in his only series of the night. Ndamukong Suh was impressive as we all would have expected clogging the middle stopping the Bears from gaining any yards on the ground while he was on the field. Jarvis Landry scored the teams only TD and Lamar Miller broke off a long run in his only series but there were others who had good performances and if they didn’t seal a spot on the team they sure moved nicely in that direction.
Dion Sims saw his only action of the evening playing with the starters on the lone drive and made two quality catches to help sustain the drive. What were the expectations for Sims this year? We hoped he would secure his spot as the number 2 TE, keep developing and increase his production as a receiver. This drive showed that everything we want to see from Sims was evident. He moved through the Defense to push his route deeper into the middle got good separation and made good hands catches and was able to gain yards after the catch. Dion Sims looks like a player that is improving nicely and looks to be a big part of the offense this season either catching passes or blocking and helping the O-line protect Tannehill and produce another 1,000 yard rusher.
Jamar Taylor stepped in as the starter opposite Brent Grimes and didn’t do anything to warrant a demotion. In fact we want to see more. Taylor played beyond what the rest of the starters on the Defense played. Taylor played the entire first half and didn’t let anything get behind him. Taylor comes up as an aggressive tackler in the run game. The key for Taylor will be to stay healthy and to continue being consistent. He’s the man the team is hoping will start opposite Grimes he should be a fun player to watch through the rest of the preseason as we watch him wind into a starter for this year.
Every team wants the players they draft in the first or second round to compete for starting positions. Jordan Phillips, this years second round pick, showed that he can play in the NFL. Gaining a starting position will be tough behind this guy named Suh and another cagey vet named Mitchell but Phillips showed excellent power and athleticism and there should be no doubt that he will factor in heavily in the Defensive line rotation. Phillips moves very quickly for such a big man but he is very powerful and difficult for the offense to move him off the line. After signing Suh to such a large contract no one expected the Dolphins to select a Defensive Tackle so early in the draft but in retrospect the pick is brilliant. Phillips began to slide and was a great value pick. The value will be having another body that is difficult to move being in the rotation as the season wears on. You may recall how poor the run defense was the last two Decembers. Phillips just needs to continue to build on what he has done so far and he has an incredible and willing mentor in one Mr. Suh.
Billy Turner played into the third qtr the other night. I didn’t see a sack given up and I didn’t see him getting blown off the ball either. He was resilient, worked hard, earned some valuable playing time and finally blocked someone other than Suh.
Damien Williams, to steal a Joe Philbin line, “just looks like a football player”. He caught a swing pass and gained some nice YAC and driven toward the sideline does he just step out of bounds and move on to the next play – NO – he puts his head down and slams the would be CB tackler and has him singing lullaby. Dum de dum de dum – it was violent. Williams continues to improve since becoming a regular contributor early last season after Moreno was injured. Keep those old Ricky jersies this Williams will make them viable once again.
Finally I want to recognize as probably the Undrafted FA of the game – Zach Vigil. Gaining extra reps due to the injury sustained by Jordan Tripp, Vigil did what a Middle Linebacker is supposed to do. He led the team with 5 tackles, 2 for loss and registered a sack and one QB hit. Vigil seemed to always be around the play. Now Vigil did play against other 3rd and 4th stringers so he has to show he can continue to be productive as he plays against the higher end players but he certainly got the attention of his coaches with the production he had in his first NFL game.
This week the Dolphins will travel to Charlotte to practice with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers before the teams play in preseason game number 2 on Saturday. Coach Philbin is looking forward to the work his young Guards will get against the 4-3 D of the Panthers as opposed to the 3-4 emplyed by Chicago where many times the Guards aren’t covered up pre-snap. It should be a fun and interesting week when these two teams practice.
Is that Turner standing up Suh?
I didn’t think so…
Is this guy coming back soon?