- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Lazor focus: Much has been made this offseason and in training camp about offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s new scheme. Dolphins players and coaches have praised Lazor for the job he’s done with Miami’s offense, and Friday is the first time everyone gets to see it in a game situation. Lazor arrived in Miami this season after a stint with Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Dolphins are adding many of the concepts from Kelly’s high-powered offense. Does Miami have the personnel to pull it off? It’s been up and down early in training camp. But performing well against Atlanta will give Miami’s offense some confidence.
2. Tannehill kicks off Year 3: Just as Lazor’s offense will be in focus, a lot of eyes will be on Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as well. The third-year quarterback is 15-17 as a starter and enters a make-or-break season. Tannehill is learning a new offense and could use some early momentum in the preseason opener. He was inconsistent this week in training camp. Tannehill threw seven interceptions in the past three practices. Tannehill is not expected to play much more than two or three series on Friday.
3. Familiar faces: It’s just a preseason game, so don’t expect regular-season intensity. However, it is worth noting Miami will face former longtime Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai for the first time. Soliai spent seven years with the Dolphins from 2007-13 and wanted to stay in Miami this offseason as a free agent. However, the Dolphins disagreed on Soliai’s value and the Falcons signed him to a $33 million contract. Soliai could be motivated to perform well in his limited playing time. Friday also marks the return to Atlanta for Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes. He played against the Falcons last year in the regular season in Miami.