The highlights and lowlights

The Dolphins finally got a win in the preseason Saturday night, but that continued to remain of lesser importance than the development of players individually, of particular units and of the team as a whole. So, with that in mind, we run down the positive and negative aspects of the 17-14 victory over Tampa Bay, along with revisiting the things we told you earlier to watch for.

Let's start by examining the five things to watch we had presented:

1. Ronnie Brown -- Coach Nick Saban said he thought Brown did a good job given the amount of time he has been in camp. He did have a nice 11-yard run, but also fumbled at the end of one run. Bottom line is it wasn't a memorable debut and, although it's unfair to make such a statement this early, we're thinking he's not the best back on this team. That would be Ricky Williams.

2. The offensive line -- Much, much better. The new-look starting unit of Damion McIntosh, Jeno James, Seth McKinney, Rex Hadnot and Vernon Carey did a much better in just about every aspect. As a matter of fact, the only real problems in the first half were a couple of holding penalties, and those were called on Stockar McDougle, who subbed in for Carey at right tackle in the second quarter.

3. The quarterbacks -- We have thought for a while Gus Frerotte had this job sewn up, but for the second consecutive week A.J. Feeley outplayed him. Frerotte did a nice job on the first drive of the game, but really struggled after that and ended with a lowly 32.0 rating. Feeley had a 100.3 rating and he did a solid job outside of throwing a really low pass to wide open tight end Lorenzo Diamond on a third-and-1. So now what? Saban wasn't saying after the game, and we frankly don't know anymore. The bottom line is the Dolphins have issues at this position.

4. The run defense -- The big problem here continues to be runs to the outside. Sam Madison is a terrific cover corner, but he has been really porous in run defense all preseason and he lost containment a couple of times again against Tampa Bay. The Dolphins still aren't giving up much up the middle, and we can tell you Keith Traylor is a stud inside.

5. Randy McMichael -- A week after his horrible performance at Pittsburgh, McMichael was back to his old self. He caught only one pass, but a nice move after the catch helped him get free for 31 yards. McMichael left the game with a shoulder injury in the second half, but it didn't appear to be serious.

Other highs and lows, starting with the highs:

-- Jason Taylor was outstanding, with two sacks and a break-up of a third-down pass while covering RB Michael Pittman out of the backfield.

-- DT Vonnie Holliday continues to make plays; he had a fumble recovery and shared a sack.

-- CB Reggie Howard had a very strong game, sharing the sack with Holliday and also dropping a running back for a 4-yard loss. He was injured on that last play, but that also didn't appear serious.

-- Ricky Williams continues to look good; he had 59 yards on 10 carries.

The lows:

-- McMichael was one of the few receivers who didn't drop a pass. Chris Chambers, in particular, had a very difficult game. Marty Booker also dropped a pass, as did Bryan Gilmore and tight end Donald Lee. Lee also had a holding penalty, as he continues to play his way off the roster.

-- With Matt Turk sitting out the game because of a groin injury, Donnie Jones had a chance to make some headway in the battle for the punter job. But Jones had a bad game, putting three punts into the end zone with long kicks and then coming up with short punts when he had plenty of room to operate.


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