One of the best backups in the NFL, Dolphins QB Matt Moore played well despite an interception that wasn’t his fault. (Scott Galvin/Associated Press)
Dallas Cowboys–Miami Dolphins
24 - 20
It may have just been the first preseason game, which practically means squat to some, but this is where jobs are won and lost. And if you don’t have what it takes to go at it 100% from week one, you won’t win a job. Here are a few notes that I took away from last night’s exhibition opener.
I like what I saw from the running backs last night. Phillip Tanner and rookie running back Joseph Randle combined for over 120 yards with a 5.6 yard per carry average. Why is this position battle so important? Because given Demarco Murray’s injury history thus far in his career, the winner of the number two job could very well have ample opportunity to showcase their talent and open up eyes in a meaningful game this fall.
Former South Florida prospect and 2007 Big East defensive player of the year George Selvie had a terrific game and fits very well in Monte Kiffin’s Cover 2 scheme. His relentless ability to fly to the ball(of course Kiffin is preaching that to all the Cowboys) was in effect while disrupting the line of scrimmage time after time. If Anthony Spencer were to miss time during the regular season, George Selvie could take his spot for the time being if he continues to perform.
It may have only been one drive, but the Cowboys offensive line looked pretty decent behind Tyron Smith and Doug Free at tackle. They did a good job of opening up seams for the running backs to maneuver through, and this could possibly be the influence from offensive coordinator/offensive line coach/new play caller Bill Callahan. Looks like we got a triple threat here, folks.
Whenever your team records only 16 takeaways, which turns out to be the worst recording in franchise history, changes have to be made on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas brought in Monte Kiffin because they knew that his scheme warrants turnovers, and last night was a good start with rookie linebacker Devonte Hoffman running back an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Holloman, a sixth rounder out of South Carolina, is expected to compete for the backup outside linebacker spot and more positive plays will guarantee him a spot in Dallas.
Lamar Miller, the only bright spot other than Dion Jordan, redeemed himself after botching a hand off from Ryan Tannehill on the first play of the game. Afterwards, he showed the explosiveness that many have known about since his days in college. I would have liked to see more from the rookie out of Florida Mike Gillislee. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said last night that he felt Gillislee did too much shaking and baking and didn’t show enough patience.
“I thought Mike did a good job. There were a couple of time I think … there might have been some dancing going on. Sometimes a young back, he sees a flash of color in front of him and it’s difficult for him to adjust.”
The other bright spot, Dion Jordan, played exceptionally well for the defense. Jordan was just about everywhere on the field, making some type of impact on the field. The Dolphins positioned Jordan in multiple positions, having his hand in the dirt on some plays and having him stand up and drop back in coverage much like his days in Oregon under Nick Alotti. Overall, if Jordan can keep performing to his number 3 overall status, there’s no telling how good this Miami defensive line can be.
Utah State rookie Will Davis, who received a lot of acclaim for his performance in training camp, made a big no-no for NFL cornerbacks, never keep your head turned away from the ball. The violation of that rule resulted in a pass interference in the end zone that in turn created a rushing score for Phillip Tanner. Davis will need to step it up for a backend that, other than safety Reshad Jones, has many question marks heading into the season.
Last season the Miami Dolphins were 5-0 when they won the turnover battle. In fact, the Dolphins have preached all offseason about taking care of the football. Two early turnovers that resulted in 14 points is not what the Dolphins coaching staff expected or want to see.
This post is part of the thread: 2013 NFL Preseason – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.
The cliche “Numbers Never Lie” is the philosophy of Damon. With a ton of knowledge in the sport of football, Damon aspires to one day be a featured football analyst for a big time company. Look for his sense of humor and references to pop culture in his writing as well. Damon has worked for several sites and was a statistics recorder and beat writer for a semi-professional football team in Atlanta.