April 5, 2013

Miami Dolphins to open preseason against Cowboys

The Dolphins will play Dallas in the Hall of Fame game, then meet Jacksonville, Houston, Tampa Bay and New Orleans this preseason.

The Miami Dolphins preseason schedule is out and it comes with some good and some not so good news for the coaching staff.

The good news is the Dolphins are playing five preseason games, as expected, because of the preseason opener in Canton, Ohio against Dallas in the Hall of Fame game.

That nationally televised game, the only national appearance by Miami in the preseason, will add to the usual four-game exhibition schedule and give the coaching staff an extra opportunity to judge talent and make roster decisions.

But Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, and indeed many NFL coaches, aren’t fond of playing regular-season opponents in the preseason.

And in that respect the Dolphins staff will simply have to make alternate plans because Miami plays both Tampa Bay and New Orleans in the preseason as well as the regular season.

The Dolphins will host the Bucs and Saints the final two weeks of the preseason. Although exact dates and kickoff times have not been determined, the Bucs will visit Aug. 23-24 while the Saints will be in town Aug. 28-29.

The Jacksonville road game following the Hall of Fame game is scheduled for Aug. 9-11 and that will be followed by a trip to Houston Aug. 16-18.

Atlanta and Carolina, which were on the preseason schedule last year, are not on this year. The Dolphins are scheduled to host the Falcons and the Panthers at Sun Life Stadium in the regular season.

The Dolphins had a 0-4 record last preseason.

They should do better this year. They have improved their team by signing eight unrestricted free agents. And Houston is the only team on the preseason schedule that made the playoffs last year.

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