Week 1 of NFL preseason has officially gotten underway, and the Miami Dolphins fell just short of a victory against the Chicago Bears in their matchup this past Saturday. Of course, it’s just preseason but the anticipation was real strong amongst Dolphins fans leading up to the opening kickoff. After a solid first half on both ends of the field, unfortunately the backup units for Miami were unable to overcome the Bears’ surge in the 2nd half led by rookie quarterback Justin Fields. A lot of things stood out for the Dolphins in their first preseason game, some were real exciting, but yet some raised cause for concern.
#1 TUA SHOWING PROMISE
It goes without question that the biggest story this offseason for Miami was how much work quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has put in to better his game after an up and down rookie season. Despite being shorthanded at receiver, Tua looked real comfortable in the passing game. He ended the day completing 8/11 passes for 99 yards and 1 Interception in 3 series of plays. His afternoon was capped off by an endzone interception from Bears safety DeAndre Houston-Carson that was intended for TE Adam Shaheen.
Tua and Dolphins’ TE Mike Gesicki provided the highlight of the afternoon with this 50 yard completion in the 1st quarter
Other than the one mistake, you can tell right off the bat how much progress Tua has made this offseason. Confidence is high, decision making was on point, and he played very aggressively. Fans could not have asked for more and It’s only a matter of time until we get to see what he will be able to do with Fuller and Parker on the field.
#2 MIAMI DOLPHINS DEFENSE PICKING UP RIGHT WHERE THEY LEFT OFF
Much like the offense, the Miami Dolphins’ defense was without some very key players in their first preseason game, but that didn’t stop them from putting on a very strong performance in the first half. Chicago was held to 79 total yards in the first half. This was a very encouraging sight to see early on, again it’s just preseason but given how exceptionally well Miami played on the defensive end last season this wasn’t much of a surprise.
The Dolphins were without Xavien Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips, and many more on Saturday. Chicago was able to hit on all cylinders once the first stringers were taken out of the game, with still plenty of time left before Week 1 let’s hope the 2nd and 3rd units will find ways to adapt and make big plays for the team, let’s not forget there is one extra game this season, and that leaves a lot more a lot more room for fatigue and injury, having that resilient factor within Miami’s defense will be such an important role in this team’s success in 2021.
#3 THE OLINE NEEDS WORK
Again, we know it is just preseason, but this is a familiar issue that is carrying over from last season and without the line, success is going to be very limited for the Miami Dolphins in 2021. The run game had very little room to go in the first half, especially on two consecutive plays for Malcom Brown inside the 5 that resulted in Miami having to settle for a FG.
Left Tackle Austin Jackson had a rough outing finding himself completely ambushed on various snaps, the line did a better job in the passing game than the rushing game but still had its lowlights in both aspects. With that being said, Miami still ended the day averaging 4.1 yards per rush, on 29 attempts. Still a lot of time for improvement but it was certainly a concerning sight.
Less than one month away from Week 1 in New England and it should be exciting to see what the Dolphins show in the remaining preseason games. If there was a lot of highlights today, just wait until they have everybody on the field at once.