Looking at our 1st 2016-17 preseason game, remember a few things: We shouldn't go all ESPN after just 1 week, not just yet. Also, no permanent roster yet. However, reasons for hope:
-We had a good 27-10 outing against 2nd-stringers & players still trying to make the final 53-man cut before the season. However, this victory is worth noting against one of the steady & storied NFL franchises, the New York Giants, in a road game.
-Matt Moore looks a little Brett Favre-esque. Maybe he should grow out that beard a little more. The total stat-line between Moore & rookie QB Brandon Doughty is more than competitive enough in the event of a Tannehill injury. Much to my chagrin, we still finished 20th statistically in total offense in week 1 preseason, despite a 17-point win. My takeaway on this: work on offensive efficiency, which begins only by fixing the offensive line.
-NYG backup QB Ryan Nassib . . . 10 passes in 3 years? He just proved, unquestionably, how valuable (and durable) Eli Manning really is.
- Three shutout quarters from a defense that more people should know besides Cameron Wake & Ndamukong Suh. On paper & in 2015's closing NFL Defense rankings, this defense is more talented than the "paper tiger" billing it sometimes receives. I'm hoping that for Suh & Co., especially Suh, that return on these investments come this season. It's only week 1 of 2016 preseason, but we finished 5th-best defense statistically according to MSN. Not a bad start to build on.
- Head Coach Adam Gase & Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christiansen could have called a more balanced attack, but 100+ rushing and aprx. 193 yards passing isn't bad. The ground game is especially important since the Shula/Marino years clearly established us as an air-prevalent attack. Between the acquisition of Arian Foster, Isaiah Pead's good game, the new catching duo of Matt Hazel & Jakeem Grant along side whatever supporting cast is chosen for this season, the 'Fins balanced offense (on paper) should prove challenging this season, barring injuries & off-field controversies, as in seasons past. Next up: A true test for both offensive & defensive lines vs. those perennial 8-8's, the Dallas Cowboys . . . & personal bragging rights, considering the rest of my brothers are Cowboys fans. Last time I lost that best record bet, I had to shave a baldie. Best. Haircut. Ever.