What to look for

The next-to-last regular season often is pointed to as the most significant of the preseason because that's usually when teams do a little bit of game-planning and when the starters play the longest. In addition, it's also the last game before the start of roster cuts. So here are five things to watch Saturday night when the Dolphins take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dolphins Stadium.

1. Brown's debut -- We don't know exactly just how much Ronnie Brown will play against the Bucs, but he figures to get a pretty long look. And, of course, everybody wants to get a glimpse of the kind of running back he might be as well as how the Dolphins plan to use him.

2. The offensive line -- We hate to keep mentioning this unit every game, but until it performs up to par it will be under scrutiny. The Dolphins are going to a new starting unit against the Bucs, with Vernon Carey moving from left to right, Damion McIntosh in, and Stockar McDougle out. If the Dolphins finally can move the ball in the first half, that might be your opening-day starting offensive line.

3. The quarterbacks -- Nick Saban still refuses to say it, but the feeling remains that Gus Frerotte has won the quarterback job. If there's still some doubt, perhaps A.J. Feeley can make a run at it if he outplays Frerotte again the way he did last weekedn in Pittsburgh.

4. The run defense -- The first-team defense has been pretty good throughout the preseason, but has had a habit of giving up long runs. Sam Madison appeared to be the culprit on a couple of those, and he needs to bear down and not lose containment on the outside.

5. Randy on the rebound -- Randy McMichael is coming off an atrocious performance last Saturday at Pittsburgh and we fully expect him to bounce back. The last thing the Dolphins want to see is McMichael starting to get tentative, which sometimes can happpen to guys who run into a little slump. Don't be surprised if the Dolphins get McMichael involved early.


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