The Dolphins will hold an intrasquad scrimmage at FIU's Ocean Bank Field tonight at 6:30 p.m.
The Miami Dolphins are eager to get on the field, and will do so tonight for the first time for the 2015-2016 season. No, they won’t be playing another team and the game won’t count towards anything, but it may be the start of players working towards making the team. And it will give us something to officially analyze without speculation. We will get to see some football!
With that being said, here are the specific things I will be looking for heading into the scrimmage.
Ryan Tannehill’s command of the offense and the dreaded deep ball…
Ryan Tannehill has made waves so far in training camp with minimal mistakes and some completed big shots down the field. Will Bill Lazor and Joe Philbin finally let their fourth year quarterback free and take control of this offense? Will he finally be a leader on the field and off the field on the sidelines? Will they let him audible? And maybe the most intriguing prospect of this scrimmage: will Tannehill complete an in-game deep pass? He has before, but it has definitely been his biggest criticism so far. Keep an eye on RT17 and specifically look for the intangibles.
Which running back steps up behind clear starter Lamar Miller?
Lamar Miller is the clear starter. From there, so far it looks like Damien Williams and LaMichael James are competing for the second running back spot and Jay Ajayi is close behind. A lot of people have said Ajayi has struggled so far, and I wish they would just relax. He’s a rookie and he’s learning a new offense. We will get to see just what Ajayi is made of in an in-game scenario. The race is still wide open, and it will be fascinating to see which running back can step up in the pass blocking game too.
I still think Cameron and Stills will turn out to be the biggest assets to this newlook Dolphins offense, and I am eager to see Stills on the field. He is explosive, and Cameron is a fantastic red zone threat. Can one of them or both pull down a big play on the outside or over the middle. I want to see where they line up too on the field. As for Preston, he was considered a long shot to make this team a week ago. Now, he is moving up the depth chart and played with the second team offense at practice yesterday. But, the only way he makes this deep unit is by making plays on the field. He would be the team’s tallest wide receiver if he can make this team. Tannehill’s got new weapons, let’s see what they can do!
The Offensive Line…
Branden Albert, Ja’Wuan James and Mike Pouncey seem to be locked in, but Albert may not play too much as he is still coming back from his MCL and ACL damage, so expect to see some different looks from this offensive line tonight. All eyes should and will be on the two guards. Can Douglas prove he deserves a starting spot, and who will emerge from Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas and Jeff Linkenbach? This should help to give the coaching staff and idea of which two guards work best together, and if things go very wrong, we could see a move for Evan Mathis. All eyes on the guards!
Will Juice continue to dominate?
Jarvis Landry is on his way to becoming a top 20 receiver, and he has completely owned the Dolphins’ secondary in camp thus far. I want to see how he does in different positions and situations on the field. Will he get touches to run the ball. What about screens? Will he become a deep threat following his deep bomb from Tannehill? If the Dolphins want to upend the Patriots, they need to give Juice the ball more.
Sophomores Stepping Up
Terrence Fede, Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain are the up and coming faces of this Miami Dolphins defense. I want to see if Fede can get a few sacks no matter who he is facing, and I want to see if Tripp can step up and compete for one of the linebacker spots. These three are likely going to be the leaders of the second team defense (McCain has a great chance to start), and they need to start stepping up and making plays. The Dolphins struggled to tackle last season, and that is what these three do extremely well.
I know it is still early in Dolphins camp, but Brice McCain and Jamar Taylor have emerged as the likely candidates to start opposite of Brent Grimes. McCain is fantastic in the slot and Jamar Taylor is developing his ability to play more physically. Watch these two compete, and enjoy what competition can do to a player’s ability. Who will step up and force a turnover?
One of my biggest fears heading into this scrimmage is that Ndamukong Suh will hurt one of our own players. The guy is that destructive and that good. He has dominated the offensive line, and is making this defensive line look like one of the toughest and fiercest the Dolphins have ever had. The question isn’t if they will record a sack, but how many? My money is on four or more. Especially with the uncertainty the Dolphins have at guard. Just don’t hurt Ryan Tannehill!
Returning Kicks and Punts
Many people have been fielding kicks and punts, and there is one rookie who has a shot at making the team solely because of this purpose. Christion Jones, the former wide receiver and special teams player from Alabama. I want to see if anyone can step up and compete with Landry as the team’s return man, especially since his role on offense is increasing.
Caleb Sturgis vs. Andrew Franks: Who’s Worse?
Sturgis and Franks have been absolutely awful so far, and it seems to be a battle for who can kick worse. I don’t like either of them, and am eager to see which one can refrain from falling apart the longest in this scrimmage. Hopefully, the Dolphins will let both kick. I would also like to see Franks on kickoffs, as Sturgis was not great on touchbacks last season. This is a position that could cost the Miami Dolphins games next season.
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