Observation deck: Falcons-Dolphins
August, 24, 2012
By James Walker | ESPN.com
MIAMI, Fla. -- The Dolphins had their "dress rehearsal" game Friday night at Sun Life Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons won the game, 23-6.
Here are some notes and observations:
What I liked: The good news is the Dolphins' defense finally got stops. Miami entered the game allowing 24 first quarter points in two preseason games, which is well below expectations. The Dolphins' starters only allowed nine points in the first half and rested in the second half. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake returned to the starting lineup and made a huge difference with three tackles and 1.5 sacks.
What I didn’t like: It's looks like it will be a loooong year for Miami's offense. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled. He was 11-of-27 for 112 yards, an INT and a 37.9 passer rating. But I am more concerned about Tannehill's shaky supporting cast. Tannehill received little help against Atlanta. His receivers dropped four passes in the first half. Starting tight end Anthony Fasano had three drops alone. If defenses stack against the run, Miami's offense is really easy to game plan against. I just can't see how the Dolphins will consistently score points this year. There's not much this group does well. You wonder how much this could stunt Tannehill's growth. The rookie quarterback has to make strides this year in spite of his supporting cast.
Matt Moore sighting: Moore is the designated No. 2 quarterback behind Tannehill and didn't do much better. Moore was 4-of-12 for 49 yards and a lost fumble. He was sacked from behind and coughed up the football. Moore played with backups so you have to grade him on a curve. But he didn't do much playing against Atlanta's backup defense, either.
Injury update: The Dolphins still had three key injured players who did not suit up. Receiver Brian Hartline (leg) and starting linebackers Karlos Dansby (knee) and Kevin Burnett (knee) did not play against Atlanta. There is a good chance they will not play much or at all in the fourth preseason game, either. The Dolphins just want to get out of their preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys healthy.
What's next: The Dolphins have their final preseason game on the road Aug. 29 against the Dallas Cowboys. It's a game where Miami likely will just try to get out healthy before its Week 1 matchup against the Houston Texans.