Preseason Game 1: Final Thoughts

The Dolphins beat Tampa Bay, 10-7, to take their preseason opener at Sun Life Stadium. It marked their eighth consecutive preseason victories dating back to 2008, but it was far from an overwhelming performance.

You can start with the two drops by Brandon Marshall, which aren't a big thing in the grand scheme of things but something you still don't want to see from your star receiver.

It didn't help that fellow wide receiver Brian Hartline added a drop of his own.

The drops played in part in Chad Henne's mediocre numbers of 5-for-11 for 19 yards. Also playing a part were the bad conditions brought on by the storm that hit right at kickoff and turned the baseball infield into a muddy disaster.

So anyone who didn't see the game will look at Henne's numbers and conclude that he stunk, and that's just not fair.

What this was was a pure incomplete (and we don't mean pass) for Henne.

The running game didn't accomplish very much after Ronnie Brown gained 8 yards on his first two carries, although Ricky Williams had a nice 6-yard gain late in the first half.

While Marshall and Hartline dropped passes, Patrick Turner and Marlon Moore were two receivers who helped their standing on Saturday. Moore set up the game-winning touchdown with a nifty catch-and-run for 34 yards.

Along the offensive line, what stood out were a few penalties, including two on second-year tackle Andrew Gardner.

While on the subject of the offensive line, we found it curious that Donald Thomas didn't get on the field until the second half. He even got into the game after Ray Feinga, who was re-signed this week after being released.

On defense, the play of cornerback Nate Ness and nose tackle Paul Soliai stood out.

Soliai had a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble, while Ness broke up third- and fourth-down passes near the goal and also forced two fumbles. The second, which was recovered by rookie safety Reshad Jones, clinched the victory.

That said, Ness still might be a long shot to make the team but he certainly helped his cause on this night.

Coach Tony Sparano said free safety Chris Clemons did some good things against the Bucs, but what stood out was his missed tackle that allowed QB Josh Johnson to gain a first down on a scramble. It was reminiscent of the type of shoddy play the Dolphins got from Gibril Wilson last year and certainly troubling.

Finally, kudos to Brandon Fields, who had a huge game punting the ball, with three kicks over 60 yards.


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