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Friday, August 30, 2013
What to watch revisited: Miami Dolphins

By James Walker

MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins completed their fifth and final preseason game Thursday night with a 24-21 victory over the New Orleans Saints. This game was played mostly by backups on both sides.

Earlier this week, I mapped out three things to watch from Miami’s perspective. Here is a recap of how the team fared in those areas:

1. Players on the bubble: Much of Miami’s roster is set. But this was a big game for those toward the back end. The biggest bubble player was third-string quarterback Pat Devlin. He showed some good and some bad with 259 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Dolphins must decide if it’s worth keeping three signal-callers or use that extra spot on another position. Bubble players with better showings Thursday were defensive lineman Vaughn Martin (four tackles, a half-sack) and safety Kelcie McCray (four tackles) and wide receiver Marvin McNutt (four receptions, 99 yards). This trio may have done enough to claim three of Miami's final roster spots.

2. Progression of tight ends: Miami is still in search of its best option at tight end after losing starter Dustin Keller (knee) for the season. Projected starter Charles Clay was inactive. But Dion Sims stepped up, grabbing four balls for 36 yards and a touchdown. Second-year tight end Michael Engew also got a lot of playing time but didn’t produce, to the tune of one reception for 5 yards. Sims is raw, but he has a good chance to contribute if he gains experience.

3. No injuries: Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin played it as safe as possible in this one. He sat every starter with the exception of right guard John Jerry, who needed the work. As a result, Miami walked out of the fifth preseason game with no significant injuries to its starting lineup. Barring any setbacks next week in practice, the Dolphins should enter their Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns in good health.