Barry Jackson

How the Dolphins’ bubble players performed and other takeaways from loss to Baltimore

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste intercepts the ball against Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rashawn Scott (87) during Saturday’s preseason game. Scott, a former UM player, had one catch for 38 yards and remains among several receivers battling for a roster spot.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste intercepts the ball against Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rashawn Scott (87) during Saturday’s preseason game. Scott, a former UM player, had one catch for 38 yards and remains among several receivers battling for a roster spot.

Dolphins fallout and takeaways from two viewings of Saturday’s 27-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Miami’s third preseason game:

This was a night of mixed results for bubble players, reinforcing the belief here that Miami needs to pluck a linebacker (or two) and another offensive lineman from the waiver wire on Labor Day weekend. And another cornerback would naturally help if Miami can find an upgrade floating through waivers.

Of the bubble players on offense, running back Sinorise Perry again helped himself, to the point where he should be on the team. Perry, hitting the hole with decisiveness, ran three times for 27 yards and coaches trust him.

“We like where our running backs are right now,” Adam Gase said after the game. “I think Senorise is… reliable. He does everything right and when he gets the chance and gets the ball in his hand, he’s creating plays.”

Neither backup quarterback helped himself, as Adam Beasley details here.

With DeVante Parker injured and Jakeem Grant now in concussion protocol, a sixth receiver appears a necessity – at least early in the season – but none of them especially distinguished themselves Saturday.

Isaiah Ford, who can play the slot and might have the highest ceiling of the group, couldn’t haul in two errant David Fales throws (the first one was well out of bounds) and doesn’t have a catch in the last two preseason games.

Leonte Carroo missed the game with an injury. Francis Owusu, who flashed earlier in preseason, couldn’t snag a catchable ball in the end zone and coaches want more consistency.

Rashawn Scott had a nifty 38-yard catch but couldn’t prevent an interception on another David Fales throw and committed a couple of penalties. Malcolm Lewis and Drew Morgan haven’t been much of a factor.

At tight end, A.J. Derby remains the most likely to stick behind Mike Gesicki, MarQueis Gray and Durham Smythe, but a strong fourth preseason game would be reassuring. He had one catch for eight yards in 12 snaps and made two tackles on special teams.

(Gavin Escobar played 11 snaps and finished with two catches for 19 yards; Thomas Duarte logged six snaps and had two catches for just three yards).

On the offensive line, tackle Zach Sterup – who had been making a case to stick as a ninth lineman – relinquished a sack and a pressure. Rookie Connor Hilland, who has had some good moments in preseason, allowed a pressure, and Kenny Young split Hilland and Ted Larsen for another sack.

Isaac Asiata, who could stick as a backup guard, made several terrific blocks in the running game but whiffed on a play in pass protection.

Of the bubble players on defense, Kendall Langford (tackle for loss), Mo Smith (half a sack) and Terrence Garvin (two tackles for loss) had some good moments.

Smith should be on the team, Langford is making a case to stick as a 10th defensive lineman and Garvin could stick unless the Dolphins find a better fifth linebacker on the waiver wire next weekend. But Garvin was slow to react on De’Lance Turner’s 65-yard run.

The results weren’t very good for many of the other bubble guys. Undrafted rookie Jalen Davis, who has received second-team slot cornerback snaps all camp, allowed two sizable completions and slipped on a kick return; he averaged 23.7 yards on three returns. There’s an intriguing skill set there, and he could end up on the practice squad.

Tony Lippett allowed one completion for a nine-yard gain but also made a nice play in coverage in the end zone. The question with Lippett is whether coaches believe he can regain his ascending 2016 form after a major Achilles’ injury.

Two could stick among Davis, Lippett and Torry McTyer, and McTyer has made a pretty strong case, receiving some work with the first-team on Saturday. But McTyer wasn’t perfect, allowing a catch and missing a tackle on a play that nearly went for a touchdown with eight minutes left.

Jordan Lucas, battling for a bottom of the roster job, had a tackle for loss but was pushed aside on Lamar Jackson’s 19-yard TD run.

Cameron Malveaux, an undrafted surprise last season, was fooled by a fake handoff on Lamar Jackson’s 19-yard run, missed a tackle on another play and now must deal with Langford in a battle for a possible 10th defensive line job.

None of the other young, unproven defensive linemen has made a strong enough case to stick on the 53.

Anthony Moten and Jamiyus Pittman were blocked and Jonathan Woodard was pushed aside on Turner’s 65-yard run.

Stephone Anthony went the wrong way on that long Turner touchdown, continuing a highly disappointing preseason. Neither Quentin Poling, Cayson Collins nor Frank Ginda has made a strong enough case to stick, either.

T.J. McDonald offered more compelling evidence for why he deserves to keep his starting job, even after the drafting of Minkah Fitzpatrick. He broke up two passes, had a tackle for loss and made a couple of other solid stops in the run game.

Every week, Fitzpatrick makes a handful of plays that give you supreme confidence in this draft pick. Saturday’s batch included tight coverage on an incomplete third and three pass to Breshad Perriman and a couple of stout tackles to hold plays to short gains.

Smart move by the Dolphins to line up tight end Mike Gesicki at receiver, where mismatches can be exploited. Gesicki, incidentally, was held on the pass play before the Ryan Tannehill TD pass to Danny Amendola. That should have been a defensive pass interference call.

Nobody does flash plays like Jordan Phillips, who had a sack and a tackle for no gain. I’m surprised he hasn’t moved past Davon Godchaux alongside Akeem Spence, but the Phillips/Godchaux snap counts should be comparable this year.

Vincent Taylor blocked a 51-yard field goal, had half a sack and deflected a pass, continuing a terrific preseason/training camp in which he has done something impactful nearly every day.

And Robert Quinn’s play must rank among the three most positive developments in preseason. He now has three sacks in the past two games.

Rookie linebacker report: Raekwon McMillan missed a tackle on a screen pass that picked up good yardage but had a nifty stop for a one-yard run, his only tackle of the night…. Say this for Jerome Baker: Despite being undersized at 215, he isn’t reluctant to stick his nose in the run game against substantially bigger players. The results remain mixed – some very good, some not so good - and he simply fell down on one 17-yard run and was fooled on a fake handoff on Jackson’s 19-yard TD run. Chase Allen played ahead of Baker with the starters in base defense at times.

Center Daniel Kilgore allowed a sack, and while he might be an upgrade over Mike Pouncey in run blocking, he won’t be in pass protection. Kilgore allowed four sacks for the 49ers last season, Pouncey one.

But Ryan Tannehill took full blame for the two fumbles after taking the snap from Kilgore. Tannehill, incidentally, has a 99 passer rating in preseason.

Guard Jesse Davis missed a block on Frank Gore’s two-yard loss but delivered a strong block on Drake’s 30 yard run.

Cordrea Tankersley’s disappointing preseason continued. He was beaten for a nine-yard catch and there was confusion between him and the safeties on DeVier Posey’s 21-yard TD catch, with Posey so open that no Dolphins player was visible on television when he caught the ball.

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