The Dolphins play their second preseason game at Tampa Bay tonight at 7:30. Follow me on twitter for in-game commentary, real-time updates and more.
I have five observations about the Dolphins that require significant attention between now and the time the regular season kicks offs because I believe they can affect the direction of the 2014 season.
The first is Dion Jordan. Jordan got off to a roaring start at training camp. But, as I write in my column, that has changed lately. He needs to show up, folks. He's the No. 3 overall pick. Guys aren't picked No. 3 to be special teams players and backups.
The second is the deep ball combination of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace. Both players repeatedly tell you the right thing -- it is getting better. I tell you the unvarnished truth of what I've seen in every single practice I've attended so far -- and I did not miss any training camp practices.
Tampa Bay allowed 238 passing yards per game last season. That was 22nd in the NFL. That's not good. Opposing QBs had an 88.9 QB rating against that defense last year. That's not very good. That was 22nd in the NFL.
There should be opportunities for Tannehill and Wallace to connect tonight.
Remember the offensive line worries of three weeks ago? I'm feeling a lot better about this group than I was then. They're coming together.
Are they going to be the Great Wall of South Florida?
Are they going to be a replay to the 2013 nightmare, giving up 58 sacks?
I think we're safe believing not. But watching them against Tampa Bay's solid front should be interesting.
I'm not thrilled about how the running back competition unfolded during training camp. That's because it never really unfolded.
Finally, I want to see more work for the starting linebacker corps. The company line is that moving Koa Misi to the middle and Dannell Ellerbe outside would be a major upgrade. That might still happen.
But right now, today, there is still much work and much growing to do because the first preseason game and practices have uncovered some issues.
The good news? Training camp just ended.
There are still two meaningful preseason games remaining, including tonight. (The final preseason game is a joke and everyone knows it.) So there's still a chance the issues I'm presenting get resolved.