It’s just the preseason: Dolphins fall to Buccaneers 26-24

It’s just the preseason and worrying about anything that happened tonight in Miami Gardens is just that-it’s nothing.

Fans of the Dolphins are a passionate bunch and live and die with every snap of the football and sometimes they have a snap judgement or two. With 50,000 tickets sold, where did the fans go? It looked like only 20,000 showed up.

Surely, the Dolphins almost persevered 24-23, but the Dolphins reserves-numbers 75-90 on the roster had other plans and allowed a late game deciding drive resulting in a go-ahead late field goal.

Big highlights from tonight:

Ryan Tannehill can move in and out of the pocket rolling right and throwing with the same zip we saw at the end of his 2016 season. Tannehill finished 4 of 6 and led the Dolphins on a drive stalled by penalties and dropped passes. As Travis Wingfield of Locked on Dolphins, pointed out on Twitter-we can see Tannehill “climb the pocket” and get out of harms way.

However, what we saw of Tannehill was promising and it seemed like he was in sync with Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Kenyan Drake.

Things look promising and as the preseason gathers steam into the season, this game was a positive stepping stone to the future of the Dolphins offense, but Tannehill has to find a way to build on tonight and lead his offense-he needs to bang the table and demand the best from them.

Next, rookie safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is the real deal and his range is incredible as a safety. Tonight, he showed what he can do by making tackles and breaking up passes. If DC Matt Burke can get Reshad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick on the field at the same time, that would be huge for this defense and make teams run the ball instead of trying to throw deep. The Dolphins have linebackers that want to go to the ball and that could serve them well.

In terms of the backup QB job, Bryce Petty put himself in the conversation with some good touch and a touchdown drive where he found Isaiah Ford-Ford looked good, but he’s so far down the depth chart. Perhaps Gase and Co. put something together for him with the 1s in the next game. David Fales continued the steady climb to earning Gase’s trust with being the backup to Tannehill. Brock Osweiler on the other hand, he failed on so many levels going 10 of 21 and had several passes batted down at the line. Almost laughable.

However, defensively when Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux are battling for the DT starting job, you need to see a little more surrounding them. It seems like DE Jonathan Woodard showed something getting after the QB.

If I’m the coaches, I like the look of the corners overall. We saw Torry McTyer tonight and he’s been hyped to be the next starter opposite Xavien Howard, but we can’t be completely sure if he’s a 1 or a 2 until he gets to play against starters in the next few games.

Coaches overall need to lock down and lock in to getting tight end Mike Gesicki the ball. He’s the most athletic tight end in the NFL. Never mind Gronk and Kelcey, Gesicki is next to steal the limelight at the tight end position.

My hope is he gets more time with the 1s and not worry so much about his blocking issues. Have him run his routes and expand his capability a bit. He can handle getting more targets and the Dolphins need help in the red zone.

Coaches need to look at opening up a bit on defense and dial up the aggressiveness. Linebacker Jerome Baker flashed tonight and in my mind, he’s going to grab a job before week 5. Baker said things were slowing down for him which is a good thing. My main concern isn’t the vanilla look of the 4-3 defense-it’s mainly getting enough pressure on the QB. It can’t just be Wake every couple of plays-we need to see more from Harris and Quinn. Someone has to step up!

Here are 5 things we want to see next week:

1. More Tannehill and really get him going with 1s and 2s. He needs to play with the guys he’ll throw to on game day. With Tannehill back, coaches have to use every ounce of his ability to move the football and get touchdowns to open a drive. The offense has to work to get first downs and score touchdowns.

2. Improved defensive coverage. Matt Burke needs to dial up the attack and be the aggressor. The talent is there-it’s a matter of allocating it to the right guys. Find the right mix and this can be a dominant defense.

3. Give Jason Sanders more reps at kicker. Both he and Greg Joseph struggled on deep field goal tries, but it would be good to let Sanders kick on kickoffs. I’m not opposed to Dolphins letting this drag out and see if a kicker gets cut from another team and sign said kicker to push these guys.

4. Wide receiver Isaiah Ford. Get him in with the 1s. Get him the ball. See if he can get open and become the threat he was drafted to be.

5. Better o-line play. Tonight was ok with the 1s, but tough for the 2s. Dowell Loggains needs to help out with protections. O-Line needs to do their jobs. I didn’t like the pre-snap penalties across the board, but the holding penalties due to poor technique are awful and can’t happen in season.

All in all losing 26-24 and the Dolphins playing well in spots is nothing to worry about week one of the preseason.

Clean things up and the Dolphins have a good offense and a good defense-enough to compete with the big boys.

Photo credit: Phinsider.com

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