The Highlights and Lowlights

As is always the case, the final score mattered little in the grand scheme of things Friday when the Dolphins faced the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason opener. What was important were the individual performances we saw and how some of the position groups worked together. The big plays stood out among the defensive highlights, but the offensive line still has work to do.


• The obvious starting point would be rookie Phillip Livas and his 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. What was even more positive about Livas is the fact that he showed big-play ability on returns all night ... except now he has to work on keeping his footing better when he gets nicked around the legs.

• After a shaky start, Matt Moore looked very good throwing the ball. His fourth-down pass to Clyde Gates in the third quarter was especially impressive.

Kory Sheets and Nic Grigsby both showed impressive quickness when making moves with the ball in their hands.

• Punter Brandon Fields boomed each of his punts at least 50 yards. He looked in midseason form.

• Defensive end Jared Odrick really made his presence felt in the first half, both against the run and rushing the passer.

• Rookie defensive back Jimmy Wilson has been a playmaker throughout training camp and he was at it again on Friday night. His forced fumble was obviously the biggest play he made, but he also had an impressive pass break-up in the end zone. The guy looks like a keeper.

• Linebacker A.J. Edds also was impressive, making plays in coverage and as a pass rusher.


• Chad Henne's stat line is going to show two interceptions, but the first one clearly was on Anthony Fasano, who not only failed to catch a pass slightly behind him but tipped the ball into the air on top of that. It's the type of play someone like Fasano, who won't make any big plays because of his lack of speed, absolutely must make.

Daniel Thomas had absolutely no success running the ball, but the biggest share of the blame there has to go to the offensive line, which opened up nothing for the ground game. The pass protection wasn't great, either.

• The starting defense could not handle Atlanta's running game. That was disturbing.

• Cornerback Nolan Carroll had a rough, rough night in coverage.

• Quarterback Pat Devlin showed a tremendous amount of indecision during his time in the game. He looked like, well, an undrafted free agent who's going to need some time to develop.

Dan Carpenter missed his only field goal attempt, even though it was from 50 yards and only one of his kickoffs reached the end zone. Not a good night for a very good kicker.

• Dedrick Epps is trying to make the team as a backup tight end, but his blocking is going to have to pick up because he was really poor in that department against Atlanta.

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