- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Bubble watch: This will be an important game for several key Dolphins who are on the roster bubble. Running back Daniel Thomas, receiver/kick returner Marcus Thigpen and defensive back Don Jones are among the bigger names who should be nervous entering Thursday’s game. Miami still needs to cut 22 players before Saturday and these three must prove themselves against St. Louis to avoid the chopping block.
2. Special teams: After last week’s poor performance, the Dolphins have a lot of questions on special teams. For starters, Miami kicker Caleb Sturgis is expected to return from a groin injury. Sturgis must prove he’s ready for Week 1. The Dolphins' coverage teams also gave up big returns and Brandon Fields had a punt blocked that was called back due to a penalty. Miami's third phase, as a whole, needs a much better showing in the final preseason game.
3. Quiet homecoming: Partially because it's preseason, there has been virtually no fanfare for Jake Long's first return to Miami since leaving in 2013 as a free agent. Long was a former No. 1 overall pick for the Dolphins in 2008 and had six productive years in Miami. But Long suffered through various injuries the past few years, and the Dolphins no longer believed he was worth the price tag. Thursday will mark Long’s first game in Miami since departing as a free agent.