The 2017 regular season will start this Sunday, with the Miami Dolphins hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an All-Florida Week 1 showdown. Before we get to the regular season, this afternoon, we take a look back at the preseason for the Dolphins, taking a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the month leading up to the games that actually count.
Throughout the season, we will be bringing you a look at the good, bad, and ugly from each week’s game. Hopefully there will be much more in the good category than in the bad or ugly.
The Good - Preseason
Younger players stepping up - The Dolphins could be positioning themselves to be a contender in the next few years, thanks to the play of several of their younger players. Laremy Tunsil has moved out to his natural left tackle position and has looked comfortable being back out there. DeVante Parker is looking more and more like a true number-one receiver, turning into a professional as he enters his third year. Xavien Howard, the second-year cornerback, looks like he is ready to take his own step forward with last year’s injury issues behind him. Rookies Charles Harris (linebacker) and Davon Godchaux (defensive tackle) are both looking like they will be solid additions to the defensive line, while second-year receivers Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant both flashed at times this summer. The young players on the Dolphins roster all seemed to be stepping up this summer, and now they just need to carry that into the regular season.
Honorable mention: Jay Cutler comfort.
The Bad - Preseason
Offensive line question marks remain - The story of the past 86 years for the Dolphins has been question marks on the offensive line. Okay, it might not be a full 86 years, but it sure feels like it. This year, injuries are the number one cause of the question marks, and the Dolphins’ day-one starting lineup has barely had a chance to practice or play together. Tunsil outside should be fine, and as long as Mike Pouncey’s hip stays healthy, the Dolphins will be fine at center. Ja’Wuan James needs to see his play improve some this year, but he is solid enough at right tackle that it should not be a major issue. Jermon Bushrod, despite Pro Football Focus grading him fairly low last year, is a solid right guard and someone the Miami coaches trust. Left guard is still a question mark where Ted Larsen is out for the first part of the season with a torn biceps muscle and Kraig Urbik was waived/injured for back and knee problems. Anthony Steen appears to be the starter, though Jesse Davis could also claim the spot. At the end of the day, until the line proves itself and plays together for an extended period of time, there will be question marks.
Honorable mention: Linebacker depth.
The Ugly - Preseason
August injuries - August was ugly for the Dolphins, and there is no better way to say it. Concussions to running backs Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake. Torn ACLs to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Torn Achilles tendon for Tony Lippett. Meniscus damage for receiver Isaiah Ford. The torn biceps mucle for Laresen. Knee and back issues for Urbik. It was a bad month for the Dolphins, with major injuries sidelining major contributors.