The Miami Dolphins began the preseason with a 26-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Saturday evening. A new era began for the team and fans got their first taste of this year’s players.
The Fins seem poised to leap into playoff contention this year after making several significant moves in the off-season, the most prominent being obtaining superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill via trade. They also managed to snag one of the most dominant offensive tackles in the NFL, Terron Amstead, during free agency. Finally, the team found a charismatic head coach in Mike McDaniel, the former San Fransisco 49ers’ offensive coordinator.
The Buccaneers matchup was the first of three preseason games. This Saturday, the team plays the Las Vegas Raiders at home.
Last week, many starters were held out. However, fans and coaches got to evaluate the play of those fighting for roster spots or auditioning for a chance with another team.
Seventh-round pick quarterback Skylar Thompson was impressive in his first start, completing 20 of his 28 pass attempts and throwing for 218 yards and a touchdown while playing the whole game.
“It was cool to watch him,” said McDaniel. “He didn’t shy away from making plays after he was frustrated.”
If Thompson makes the roster he will likely be third on the depth chart behind veterans Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater. But Dolphins fans should be pleased with the rookie’s performance as he seems like a promising prospect.
Another positive performance came from veteran running back Myles Gaskin, who led the way with four rushes for 27 yards, and Mohammed Sanu, who signed with the Dolphins during the offseason, finished the game with three receptions for 39 yards.
Finally, fourth-year kicker Jason Sanders went a perfect 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts, a good start coming off one of his worst seasons in the pros.
The Dolphins struggled early on defense but settled down as the game went on. Third-year corner D’Angelo Ross led the team with seven tackles while Elijah Campbell forced the only takeaway with a between-the-leg interception in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, second-year defensive back Trill Williams exited early with a torn ACL and will miss the 2022-2023 season. He had been expected to make the roster after a strong showing in training camp at a position where the Dolphins don’t have much depth.
Though few of Miami’s new additions played during the first preseason game on Saturday, reports indicate the new-look Miami Dolphins squad seems to have built chemistry.
“The sky’s the limit for this offense,” said Hill. “It’s very electric, very fun to watch, a lot of playmakers, so I’m very excited.”
Hill made headlines after starting his podcast “It Needed To Be Said” over the summer. The man they call “the Cheetah” has brought both Tagovailoa and fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle on as guests, singing the praises of both.
Hill sparked a controversy on the podcast recently when he compared his third-year quarterback, Tagovailoa, to his former teammate and league MVP, Patrick Mahomes II.
“Obviously, like I’m gonna go with [Mahomes] as the strongest arm but as far as accuracy-wise, I’m going with Tua all day,” said Hill. This statement came as a surprise after reports of Tagovailoa struggling with interceptions throughout training camp.
Fans will likely see many of the projected offensive starters Saturday when the Dolphins host the Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. The Raiders made a big trade for Packers star receiver Davante Adams and hired a new head coach Josh McDaniels after making the playoffs under interim leader Rich Bisaccia.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be available on CBS4 in South Florida.