Andy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins
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Let’s take one more look back at the preseason opener and, at the same time, look ahead at the challenges and concerns with less than a month left before the Patriots come to town:
• Yes, Ryan Tannehill looked sharp and poised in one series against the Falcons. But now he must take it another step and show consistency. That’s why this Saturday’s game is important for the third-year quarterback. Let’s see if he can put together two impressive showings in a row.
• Still, how can you not admire Tannehill’s opening act? I mean, six for six and a touchdown? Joe Philbin and Bill Lazor could not have concocted a better drive than that one.
• Speaking of that offense, when it “operates” with that kind of precision, can we call it “Lazor Surgery” after the team’s new offensive coordinator?
• We saw some new looks, some new plays. But don’t expect to see a lot more of that in the preseason. There is something to be said about a surprise attack, and the Dolphins know the Patriots are watching.
• I said it early in training camp and I’ll say it again: I wouldn’t want to be the one having to cut down this group of wide receivers. I mean, you can easily make a case for six or seven of them on the roster and it is sobering to remember that they kept only four in the cut down to 53 last season.
• Yes, the running game didn’t do too much. And that will be a concern until it proves otherwise. Lamar Miller had a nice third down run, but it is his long distance potential that must come to the forefront. For now, I’m looking forward to seeing Knowshon Moreno back in the mix.
• The starting offensive line against the Falcons – Branden Albert and Daryn Colledge on the left side, Samson Satele at center and Ja’Wuan James and Dallas Thomas on the right side – did well, especially protecting Tannehill on that first drive. I was particularly impressed with James who played a lot of snaps and did not commit a penalty or give up a sack. Pretty good for a rookie in his first NFL action. Like Tannehill, that starting five must show they can do it again against Tampa Bay.
• Some of those reserve tight ends can really catch the ball. I was especially impressed with a leaping catch by Kyle Miller and a couple of nice receptions from Brett Brackett. More tough decisions at cut down time.
• Now to the defense: I was concerned about the rushing defense before this game and I am still concerned. The linebackers have to do a better job finishing tackles. It’s that simple and that complicated.
• I liked what I saw in rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp. He’s got excellent instincts and always seems to be around the ball. So far, he’s looking like a pretty good fifth-round pick.
• The defensive line appears to be almost as deep as the receivers, especially with undrafted tackle Anthony Johnson clearly making a case to earn a roster spot.
• Second-year cornerback Will Davis may very well be the most improved player on this team. He plays with a fearless attitude, which is an important part of the job description.
• I am disappointed that safety Reshad Jones has been suspended for the first four games for testing positive for a banned supplement. It is puzzling and unfortunate. But I think Jimmy Wilson, his probable replacement, will do just fine in his absence. This secondary, in my humble opinion, has a chance to be really good, especially if veteran Cortland Finnegan continues to demonstrate that his career is back on track.
• What do I want to see this week in practice? I want to see better tackling. I want to see a continued emphasis on less penalties. I want to see the natural improvement one would expect with a full game on tape and the urgency now very real of a regular season rapidly approaching.
(On Tuesday, AC in the AM plays 10 questions with guard Daryn Colledge).
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