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Dolphins beat Bucs, 20-14: Some good, some not

If there was a question before Saturday night that Matt Moore is going to be the Dolphins No. 2 quarterback this year, that is gone now.

Matt Moore is on the Dolphins -- his $5.5 million salary cap number and all.

And the way he earned the right to be on the team is, in part, by an outstanding perfomance against Tampa Bay in the preseason's second game. Moore completed 13 of 19 passes for 158 yards and one TD without an interception.

Moore finished with a quarterback rating of 111.3.

"It felt good to finally get back out and play and get into a rhythm out there," Moore said.

One of Moore's two TD drives came out of the two-minute drill to end the first half. It was outstanding work.

"Felt good to put a stamp on it out there for the touchdown," Moore said.

The truth about Miami's quarterback situation is the Dolphins are definitely keeping two -- Ryan Tannehill and Moore -- and Brady Quinn must fight and claw to earn a spot, which at this writing seems unlikely because the Dolphins could certainly use the extra roster spot for other players that are more valuable.

That is a major issue the Dolphins answered in this game.

Tannehill, by the way, posted his second consecutive solid performance of the preseason. Despite inconsistent blocking up front, Tannehill was 9 of 14 for 110 yards without a TD or interception. The starters had a FG while Tannehill was in the game.

Another big night?

Surprisingly, kicker John Potter had a nice night. He was 2-for-2 on field goals, including a 51-yarder that was impressive. This must be said:

Caleb Sturgis is not having a good preseason.

He was injured earlier this preseason and seemed to re-injure his groin in pregame warmups. He did not kick in the game despite dressing and warming up.

Sturgis was hurt last season and struggled in the middle of the season as a result. If he cannot stay healthy ... and the other guy is connecting on 51-yard kicks ... well, the competition is on.

This game showed the Dolphins still have work to do in multiple areas.

The first such area is right guard where Dallas Thomas had a terrible game. He was beaten by Gerald McCoy for what turned into a strip sack for Tampa Bay and led to a TD. He got no push on running plays. And he had a penalty as well.

The rest of the offensive line was better than Thomas but didn't really win up front.

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey, serving as a guest during the CBS-4 broadcast, said his personnel department is constantly looking for players to upgrade the roster.

Allow me to suggest Hickey look at the possibility of trading for San Francisco guard Alex Boone. I'm not saying it must be done. Boone is holding out because he wants a new contract and he has a history that requires investigation. But he's an outstanding guard.

So look into it ... The Dolphins have a wealth of wide receivers. Maybe they can ship one to the 49ers, whose receiver corps could use upgrade.

Coach Joe Philbin said the idea of moving Shelley Smith, who was at center early in camp and left guard lately, to right guard is not out of the realm of possibility.

The tackling continues to be inconsistent despite the team spending an entire week focusing on the issue. Most troubling was the tackle attempt by starting safety Jimmy Wilson against receiver Mike Evans.

Rather than wrap Evans and bring him to the gound, Wilson merely rammed into him and as happens when a 5-10 guy runs into a 6-5 guy, Wilson merely bounced off. Evans turned and ran for an apparent TD that was called back when Brent Grimes, running down the play from the other side of the field, caught the receiver and caused a fumble out of the end zone for a Miami possession instead.

 You'll remember the Dolphins managed only two rushing yards against Tampa Bay in a loss last season. Tonight the Dolphins rushed for 46 yards on 26 attempts. The team rushed for minus-5 yards on nine attempts in the first half -- when starters and top reserves played for both teams.

Lamar Miller, Miami's starting running back, rushed for 3 yards on three carries.

"I thought we threw the ball well, I thought we had some guys open, I thought the quarterbacks threw the ball well," Philbin said. "But I think we all agree we had way too many negative-yardage plays in the running game. That really wasn't fixed the way I would hope."

Philbin said there was too much penetration and his team "didn't establish an edge."

"They established the edge, penetrated and got up in our backfield way too much, way too much," Philbin said.

The running game has a long way to go, folks.

"It looks to me we still have some work to do," Philbin repeated. "I thought we'd have more production in our run game. I thought we'd be better."