TAMPA -- A quick take on Jimmy Wilson’s debut as starting safety for the Dolphins: He better learn how to wrap up. Wilson tried to lower a home run hit on Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans on Saturday night.
Instead, he struck out.
Wilson simply bounced off Evans in the open field, allowing the bigger, stronger receiver turn and race toward the end zone. The only thing preventing a touchdown: Brent Grimes, who chased Evans down from behind, knocked the ball loose at the 1-yard line and forced a turnover.
The Dolphins need to know what they have in Wilson as an every-down player, because he’s seemingly their only option until Reshad Jones returns from his four-game suspension for testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
Wilson played the entire first half, and his up-and-down performance was indicative of the Dolphins’ defense in general. It surrendered 143 yards in the first half, but the only Tampa Bay score came after a Dolphins turnover deep in their own field.
Will Davis got his first chance as the Dolphins’ third cornerback, and he and Jamar Taylor each got reps with the starters as the nickel.
RUNNING BACKS OUT
Injuries took a sizable chunk out of the Dolphins’ running game against the Bucs.
Running back Knowshon Moreno (knee), Daniel Thomas (hamstring) and Mike Gillislee (hamstring) all sat out. The result: The Dolphins rushed for minus-5 yards on nine carries in the first half.
In all, 10 Dolphins didn’t dress. The other seven: tight ends Charles Clay (knee), Arthur Lynch (undisclosed) and Gator Hoskins (hamstring); defensive tackles Micajah Reynolds (knee) and A.J. Francis (knee); center Mike Pouncey (hip); and tackle Jason Fox (chest).
Fox’s injury is not considered serious, and he is expected back at practice Monday.
• Defensive end Olivier Vernon returned Saturday and had a sack after being held out the week before.
• Kicker Caleb Sturgis dressed after missing the preseason opener with a groin injury.
But John Potter was called on to kick in the first half, drilling a 48-yard field goal.
THIS AND THAT
• The game was a homecoming for Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey, who worked in the Buccaneers scouting department for 18 years. Hickey most recently served as Tampa Bay’s pro personnel director.
• Saturday marked the 29th preseason meeting between the Dolphins and Buccaneers. Miami had won 16 of the prior 28 meetings.
• Brandon Fields, Koa Misi and Branden Albert served as Dolphins captains.
• Center Samson Satele left the game after apparently injuring his right leg in the second possession but later returned.
• Earl Mitchell started at defensive tackle over Randy Starks.
• Kick returner Marcus Thigpen left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return.