Tonight, the Dolphins will play their final pre-season game of 2010 as they get their first look at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Despite the interest in the new stadium and the storyline of guys like Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano returning to their old stomping grounds, this game is all business for Miami. After sputtering on offense and looking sloppy on defense in what was supposed to be the “dress rehearsal” game against Atlanta last Friday night, the Fins need to show the fans and their coaches a little bit more tonight.
Below, you’ll see what Keith Sims, John Congemi, and I are all looking for. I’ll let Keith set the stage, because he can put it best:
KEITH: This is not a normal fourth pre-season game. Due to the lackluster third game performance, there should be a much greater emphasis on production from both the offensive and defensive first teams.
Well put. Don’t want to argue with the big man. Here’s what we all have to say:
JESSE: Show me rhythm. Consistency. Improvement. Sounds simple, right? With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (2.0 and 3.2 yards per carry, respectively) not doing much, can the offense finally establish the run and allow Chad Henne the time and the receivers the space to sustain an impressive scoring drive?
KEITH: Like Jesse, I want to see Chad Henne take control of the offense and lead them on a scoring drive. I would love to see Brandon Marshall make at least three catches, I want the O-Line to open holes and protect and for goodness sake, will the starting center please stand up and be counted!!!
JOHN: In addition to the obvious, I’m looking for someone to separate at the WR position and claim the #4 and #5 spots. It’s really hard for me to determine who’s in the lead in this race. Marlon Moore did some nice things last week against the Falcons and Roberto Wallace and Patrick Turner have the size and ability to play jump ball and give Chad Henne big targets to throw to. Someone needs to take the opportunity tonight to show what they can do on offense AND on special teams, and earn a roster spot.
JESSE: This is a little more difficult for me. Throughout this pre-season we have yet to see much of anything from Mike Nolan in the way of different formations and exotic blitzes. That said, as Sparano emphasized this week, in order to be successful, this team needs to be able to get pressure while sending only four or five guys at the quarterback. If not, the young corners will be left out to dry. So there ya go–can the D-Line get pressure and make Stephen McGee and whoever else look uncomfortable?
KEITH: Up front, I want to see some pressure on the passer! Meanwhile, I would love to see these outside linebackers step up and show they are ready for primetime–the season is now just days away. In the secondary, I really need to see some better pass coverage and I’m also curious as to how the Dolphins are able to cover the tight ends. If they can show some success doing this, I will feel far more comfortable accepting that the safety position is all settled.
JOHN: I’m very curious to see who gets how much playing time at CB. Even if Vontae Davis and Sean Smith play the entire first quarter, I want to see who comes in next. Will we see someone step up and make a name for himself when it comes to guys like Jason Allen, Nate Ness, and Nolan Carroll? And newcomers Benny Sapp and Kevin Hobbs should get plenty of chances, so will they take advantage of them?
So there you have it–that’s what we’re looking for. What about you? Be sure to tune into The Finsiders radio show this afternoon at 5 to hear all of our thoughts on this game and everything else happening with the Fins and around the NFL. Game coverage begins at 7:45 on 940-WINZ, BIG 105.9FM, and Dolphins.com. We’ll have pre-game coverage for you then and will turn you over to Jimmy Cefalo, Joe Rose, and Jim Mandich right at 8:00. Enjoy the game!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.