Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Miami Dolphins Stock Watch
By James Walker
MIAMI -- We are entering Week 3 of training camp for the Miami Dolphins, and the team already has one preseason game in the books.
Let’s take an updated look at whose stock is up and down in Miami:
1. Dallas Thomas, tackle/guard: Sunday’s game was not a strong debut for Miami’s rookie offensive lineman. He struggled mightily against Dallas in his audition for the backup left tackle spot. From my viewpoint in training camp, Thomas performed better the past two weeks as a guard. However, he has some versatility and Miami is thin at left tackle. So the Dolphins coaching staff wanted to provide Thomas a look in a game scenario. If the first preseason game is any indication, Miami may want to keep Thomas at guard going forward.
2. Dolphins’ tackling: I know it’s just the first preseason game, but Miami’s defense put on a poor tackling exhibition on all levels. Both the starters and backups showed poor form trying to stop Dallas ball-carriers. That was a major reason why Dallas’ starters and backups rushed for 170 yards on 34 carries. The Cowboys averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Perhaps this was just early jitters. But tackling is an area to keep an eye on later in the preseason.
3. Philip Wheeler, linebacker: Wheeler is having a good training camp, but he struggled in limited playing time in the Hall of Fame Game. On the opening drive, Wheeler was beat by Dallas tight end Dante Rosario for 18 yards. Wheeler also displayed some poor tackling and whiffed in the open field against Cowboys tailback Lance Dunbar. It almost looked as though Wheeler was playing too fast. But, again, this was a small sample size and there’s no need to go overboard. I’ve seen more good than bad from Wheeler since the spring.
1. Young defensive ends: Miami’s defensive line from top to bottom has been dominant in training camp. The Dolphins showed some of that depth Sunday against Dallas with backup defensive ends Derrick Shelby and Dion Jordan both wreaking havoc. Shelby led the Dolphins with two sacks, and he also had two additional hits on the quarterback. Jordan, who played only on third down, also had a pair of tackles and two quarterback pressures. Miami’s defensive-end rotation looks very strong with Pro Bowler Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon currently the starters, and Jordan and Shelby as the backups. It’s early, but Miami’s pass-rush definitely looks improved.
2. Chad Bumphis, wide receiver: I owe Bumphis an apology. He’s been making plays with regularity in training camp. But I’ve mostly looked the other way and ignored Bumphis, because he’s done it mostly against the third team. Bumphis showed up against Dallas and led the Dolphins in receiving with five receptions for 85 yards. The highlight was a 45-yard reception. Bumphis did have a big error when a dropped pass led to a pick six. But overall, it was a good night for the smallish receiver. He continues to push for a roster spot.
3. Lamar Miller, running back: Similarly, Miller had mostly good plays but one big mistake. It was that kind of night for Miami. Miller botched a hand off from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Miami’s first offensive play. Tannehill got credited for the fumble, but it appeared Miller deserved most of the blame. Otherwise, Miller had a strong night. He looked explosive in his two carries for 21 yards. That was enough work for Miller, who has an important role replacing former starter Reggie Bush.