Analyzing Dolphins’ First Preseason Drive

The Miami Dolphins converted on their first offensive drive this season for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. What stood out from the drive?

The Miami Dolphins did something they rarely do on their first drive. They converted it into a touchdown.No Tony Sparano field goal. They actually had the guts and marched it in on fourth and goal. Let’s look at the drives most telling moments.

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill was way above average on this drive. He had one bad play, and that was when he telegraphed a screen pass to Jarvis Landry on the outside that was nearly intercepted by Jared Allen. TO be honest, I didn’t like the play call because Landry was the only option on the play, leaving Tannehill without a second check down or safety net. Still, he should have thrown it away. Other than that, his pocket presence was spot on, and his accuracy was almost perfect. He stood in the pocket and delivered strike after strike into the hands of his receivers, including a beautiful 19 yard strike to Greg Jennings. Tannehill’s best moment? Pulling the ball down and running for the first down on third and two at midfield. He kept the drive alive with his wheels, and didn’t force a throw. He felt a sack coming and turned the play into a positive gain.

Grade: A

Running Backs

It was Lamar Miller with the biggest run on the first series, breaking one for 27 yards on a nice cut and a nice burst. However, it was fascinating to see Damien Williams get the carries, especially down near the goal line. Williams got the tough yards when needed, so it looks like they will be the two featured backs heading forward. Both looked good running the ball and blocking.

Grade: A-

Wide Receivers

Greg Jennings still runs some of the most polished routes in the NFL. Dion Sims is emerging as more than just a blocking and goal line tight end, as he was very active on third down in the first series. Looks like he may pass Cameron as Miami’s number one tight end. Rishard Matthews is also making a case to climb this incredibly deep Dolphins receiving corps, as he logged a couple catches. Overall, the wide receivers looked sound. Without Stills or Parker healthy yet, this unit will only get better. They looked in sync with Tannehill.

Grade: A-

Offensive Line

Holding calls on Billy Turner (near the goal line) and Jason Fox almost stunted the Dolphins’ first drive. They really looked like the odd men out on these two plays, but other than that this unit looked pretty good. Replace Fox with Albert and give Turner a few more snaps and this unit will become one of the AFC’s best. Still, those penalties can’t happen, and Miami will need to limit them moving forward. As for run blocking, this unit looked fantastic. They opened multiple holes for Lamar Miller on his 27 yard burst, and other than the first run that was for a loss, they ran the ball with will.

Grade: B

Coaching and Play Calling

This was the most exciting part. On fourth down and goal, Joe Philbin didn’t even hesitate. He trusted his offense, and he went for it on fourth down. And guess what? Tannehill delivered on the smartest play call of the drive, hitting Landry on the outside on a simple comeback route. It was quick, it was simple and it worked. My hat goes off to Joe Philbin, who proved with that play that he does have the guts to win games. I know it is preseason and just one drive, but it really showed what the Dolphins can do in big situations.

On a side note, Bill Lazor is becoming one of the league’s up and coming coordinators. He called a seriously impressive drive, and had the right play for every situation. His running plays were inventive and unique, and he and Tannehill looked to be on the same page. The Dolphins need to secure Lazor for the future, because he will be a head coaching candidate after this season.


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