Five Things To Watch Revisited

Before the Dolphins took on the Jacksonville Jaguars in their preseason opener Monday night, we presented five players or issues to closely watch during the game. So how did those play out during the Dolphins' 12-9 victory at Land Shark Stadium?

1. What do the Dolphins have in Pat White?

We've been hard on White this summer because he frankly has looked very unimpressive throwing the ball, but we have to say he actually turned in a solid effort against the Jaguars.

Those who only saw the boxscore will notice his stats of two completions in seven attempts for 14 yards with one interception.

But here's what those stats don't tell you: Three of the five incompletions were the result of dropped passes — one by Patrick Turner, one by Anthony Armstrong and one by Anthony Kimble, which also happened to land into the arms of Jags defensive back Pete Ittersagen for an interception.

So, really, White should have been 5-for-7, which suddenly looks pretty good, doesn't it?

As we suspected, the Dolphins didn't do anything fancy with White, although they did have him roll out on naked bootlegs quite a bit. He ended up rushing six times for 20 yards, including two runs for first downs that helped the Dolphins kill the clock after their late defensive stand.

Look, things haven't changed as far as White's immediate future is concerned. If he's going to help as a rookie, it will be as a utility player, but his showing against Jacksonville at least will provide some comfort about what might happen should he have to play quarterback in an emergency.

2. How close to being ready is Donald Thomas?

As he's done in practice, Thomas split time with Shawn Murphy at right guard with the rest of the first-team offensive line, but without the benefit of game tape, it's actually hard to decipher how well he performed.

We can tell you he came out of the game in good shape and we also can tell you he was on the field when the Dolphins had their best drives of the game.

From this vantage point, it's still only a matter of time before the rotating stops and Thomas is at right guard with the rest of the starters on a full-time basis.

3. Is this really Ted Ginn Jr.'s breakout season?

Now, talk about an encouraging preseason opener. As far as Ginn was concerned, this was a smash hit.

Not only did he catch a couple of passes, one of those came when he had to stretch out over the middle. He also drew a pass-interference when the Dolphins were backed up in their end on a fly pattern down the sideline.

Never mind that it looked like a bad call, this is what can happen when you stretch the field.

It was only one game, but this was about as encouraging a showing from Ginn as Dolphins fans could have hoped for.

4. Just how good can Cameron Wake be in the NFL?

Wake got a good bit of playing time starting with the second quarter, but he really wasn't much of a factor except for one play.

It came on a third down with Jacksonville driving late in the first half, and Wake beat right tackle Tony Pashos to the outside and forced quarterback Todd Bouman to get rid of the ball quickly to avoid a sack. Wake actually got to Bouman before he released the ball and the play easily could have been ruled a sack.

It was impressive stuff, but Wake unfortunately didn't do anything the rest of the way. It probably didn't help that a downpour in the third quarter make the field tougher to play on, but things like that happen.

Based on his reputation, we were expecting Wake to be more of a factor in the pass rush, particularly against backups. Then again, it was only the first game.

5. Can Vontae Davis and/or Sean Smith separate himself/themselves in the preseason?

Our column "A Tale Of Two Cornerbacks" answers that questions pretty thoroughly.

The Reader's Digest version is that, yes, there was separation among the two rookies, with Smith taking a big step forward with a clutch interception in the end zone while Davis took a big step back by giving up a couple of completions and getting flagged for three penalties.


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