Tampa Bay Game Observations

As preseason games go, Saturday night's battle between the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Dolphins was about as entertaining as it gets. But what matters, again, isn't the score, but rather what we can take out of the game. Here are the things that stood out.

-- Don't worry about the defense giving up 31 points because while Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Keith Traylor all started, they only played one series, and that series didn't produce any points for the Bucs.

Most of the damage done by Tampa Bay was done against guys who will be backups or guys who won't even be on the Dolphins roster come Sept. 9.

-- That said, it's hard to come up with even one guy who stood out on defense on Saturday evening because the Dolphins really didn't do a lot on that side of the ball.

We probably should mention Matt Roth and his impressive one-handed interception at the line of scrimmage, a play that led to the Dolphins' second touchdown.

-- Offensively, you had to like the performance of the quarterbacks, all three of them.

Trent Green rebounded from an awful screen pass that resulted in a Tampa Bay touchdown and had a good outing. Cleo Lemon continued his strong preseason work, and he looks like a guy who'll be a solid backup.

And finally John Beck made several nice passes where he showed tremendous touch, most notably a 28-yard connection with tight end Courtney Anderson and then a 31-yard touchdown to Derek Hagan.

-- Speaking of Hagan, we'd like to say we think he's going to become a really good NFL wide receiver, but he just continues to drop passes he shouldn't drop. On Saturday night, he had a crucial drop on a fourth-and-7 after Tampa Bay had taken a 31-28 lead. Yes, the pass from Beck was a little behind him, but that pass should have been caught. Very disappointing.

-- Coach Cam Cameron said after the game he wanted to get the receivers involved in this game, but unfortunately what we saw was a mediocre receiving corps. In addition to Hagan's drop, Chris Chambers also failed to come up with a low pass near the sideline and tight end Aaron Halterman also had a drop.

First-round pick Ted Ginn Jr. had some good moments at wide receiver, including a fourth-down catch, but as a whole the Dolphins' WR corps is average at best.

-- We finally saw a lot of Lorenzo Booker in this game, and the early impression is he might not be the weapon we thought. Booker returned kickoffs and also was used extensively as a receiver out of the backfield, and what we saw is Booker will present matchup problems for defenses but he also will not break any tackles. You also hold your breath every time he gets tackled because Booker is very small.

-- Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman once again were used as the kickoff returns at the start of the game, and we still don't understand this. It's bad enough to have a starting running back returning kickoffs, but to have the two guys who supposedly are battling for the starting job back there just doesn't make sense to us.

-- The offensive line slowly looks like it's making progress, but we're noticing starting left guard Chris Liwienski get pushed back way too often. That's going to become a problem at some point.

-- It was too bad that Jay Feely missed a 54-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, but the bigger issue there was that he had plenty of distance on the kick and that tells you he's got great range.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.