Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has preached the message of a fast start in the team’s second exhibition game.
That would be a definite improvement over what happened in Sunday’s opener in Canton, Ohio, when the Dolphins, to coin a phrase from former Miami coach Cam Cameron, failed forward fast.
Or something like that.
Miami will put Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame Game in the past when it plays the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Dolphins hope to get off to a better start than they did against Dallas when they fell behind 17-0 and failed to generate much of anything.
“We need less turnovers and to play as a team,” said running back Lamar Miller, who fumbled on Miami’s first offensive play of the preseason. That turnover led to Dallas’ first touchdown.
“[The fumble] is something you try to shake off. You have to learn and capitalize from your mistakes. I got back in the film room and looked at what happened. You look forward to getting back out there. You have to have a short memory.”
Miami’s third- and fourth-team guys made a better show of things as the Dolphins put themselves in position to win before the Cowboys left with a 24-20 win.
Although the wins and losses don’t mean anything in the lengthy NFL preseason, the Dolphins would like to get something going — especially on offense.
Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t get much work against the Cowboys — and didn’t look real sharp in his limited time on the field.
Philbin said Wednesday that starters would see “a hair” more playing time in the second exhibition game than they did Sunday in Canton.
“I think competitively we wanted to win the football game,” offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. “We had two turnovers that equated to 14 points. If we just don’t turn the ball over, even though we didn’t play great, if we don’t turn the ball over we have a chance to win. That’s a recurring theme, and we’ve got to get that cleaned up, obviously.”
The Dolphins didn’t seem to put much stock in the opener as a handful of starters took the night off to nurse various injuries.
On Friday, receivers Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace are expected to be in the lineup. Wallace was back at full speed at Wednesday’s practice and said he hopes to play. Miller fought through an ankle injury this week but is expected to play as well.
“We shall see how it goes,” Philbin said when asked if Wallace would play against the Jaguars. “We haven’t made any final decisions on who is playing, how many snaps, but we will determine that. And we will have a plan.”
Quarterback Pat Devlin left Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t practice Tuesday.
Devlin, who is competing with Matt Moore for the backup spot behind Tannehill, participated in Wednesday’s workout and is expected to play in the second half once Tannehill and Moore are finished.
“Moving forward, like myself and the rest of the team, we have some small things to correct,” said Tannehill, who completed 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards.
“It’s a good start for us. Obviously, we didn’t come out, put up the numbers or score points like we wanted to, but if you look at what they threw at us and how we responded as a group I felt like it was a good start we can definitely build on.”
The Dolphins also look at Friday’s game as another chance to hit someone who isn’t a teammate. Miami didn’t do a very good job on the defense against the Cowboys, either, as tackling was a point of concern.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said Miami’s tackling was “poor; very bad,” although cornerback Nolan Carroll admitted a lot of last week’s sloppiness could be attributed to playing at game speed for the first time since Miami ended the 2012 season at New England on Dec. 30.
The Cowboys only amassed 266 offensive yards, but 170 came on the ground.
“It was the first game,” Carroll said. “We had a lot of fundamental things that we wanted to accomplish, as far as getting turnovers. Tackling was the most important thing, and our pursuit wasn’t all that great. You could see it because the backs were running. I think they got like 170 or something on us, which is something we don’t appreciate. Something we take pride in is stopping the run. We need to work on that.”