Notes and thoughts from the Dolphins' 21-10 loss to Tennessee in the preseason finale for both teams:
• This team's lack of quality depth was exposed again tonight, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Dolphins claim a handful of players off waivers Sunday.
They could use one or two more linebackers; a legitimate No. 3 tight end; a No. 5 cornerback and perhaps a fourth running back if they find someone better than Damien Williams or healthier than Isaiah Pead.
• Linebacker Mike Hull has had some moments this preseason, and a couple of nice stops tonight, but he was victimized horribly on Tennessee's second scoring drive, missing tackles on Derrick Henry's 28- and 23-yard runs, then beaten in coverage for a first down.
Neville Hewitt, who hasn't been as consistent as coaches want, also missed a tackle on that series, was beaten in coverage and was called for a horse-collar tackle. And all of that happened to Hull and Hewitt on one series.
The Dolphins like No. 4 linebacker Spencer Paysinger, but expect them to scan the waiver wire to see if there's anybody better as a fifth or sixth or even a seventh linebacker (if they keep seven initially, with Jelani Jenkins recovering from knee surgery).
• Xavien Howard was OK in his preseason debut and appears on track to start Sept. 11 in Seattle.
"I know Seattle is going to [challenge] me; I'm expecting that," Howard told WFOR's Kim Bokamper after the game. "I'm ready to be in that starting lineup."
The good news, on the cornerback front, was a terrific interception by Tony Lippett (who had his best game of preseason) and another by Bobby McCain. But with Chimdi Chekwa missing all four preseason games, the Dolphins might need to look elsewhere for a fifth corner, should they keep five.
Jordan Lucas --- beaten on a 25-yard reception tonight --- appears better suited to the practice squad, and Rashaan Melvin in a journeyman.
Tennessee (mostly Alex Tanney) completed all 15 of its first half passes, but two were caught by Dolphins (Lippett and McCain).
• Vance Joseph has suggested Miami will keep nine defensive linemen, and it would be ideal to keep five ends and four tackles.
But here's the problem: The two players who seem most deserving of the 8th and 9th jobs are both tackles -- Julius Warmsley and Chris Jones. That would give Miami nine tackles. Warmley used to be an end but said he has played only tackle for Miami.
Terrence Fede, nursing an sprained MCL, would be an option as a fifth defensive end should the Dolphins go in that direction. Fede also can play tackle but it's unclear when he will be healthy.
• Offensively, Zac Dysert flunked his test (50.3 first half passer rating). Brandon Doughty was better than Dysert (8-12-98 yards, 91.7 passer rating), but the Dolphins should be able to sneak him over to the practice squad if they wish. We'll see if Adam Gase (who controls the 53-man roster) puts Doughty on the 53.
• Jay Ajayi had three carries for 13 yards but fumbled on Miami's first play from scrimmage and dropped an easy pass. Not a good night, or a good preseason.
The Dolphins averaged only 2.0 yards per carry on nine first half runs, and closed with 53 yards rushing on 2.4 per carry.
Damien Williams didn't have a great night (four carries, three yards).
• Even though Miami played only four receivers, Jakeem Grant didn't have a pass thrown to him until late in the game (it wasn't completed).
Griff Whalen caught five for 48 (with a drop), Rashawn Scott 4 for 37 and Leonte Carroo 2 for 17. And that was it for wide receivers' receiving stats.
• Billy Turner did everything except serve drinks inside Club LIV. He opened at left guard, then played right guard, then played some right tackle. Turner and Dallas Thomas and center Anthony Steen (who didn't play) should stick as the 6th through 8th offensive linemen.
Will be (very, very mildly) interesting to see whether Kraig Urbik, Sam Young or Ulrick John sticks as the 9th. Jamil Douglas played some center in the second half and it's difficult to see him sticking.
• Owner Stephen Ross, appearing in the third quarter on CBS-4's telecast, said Adam Gase really believes in Ryan Tannehill.
"I don't think that's what he had in the past," Ross said in a reference to Joe Philbin.
Ross also said some "people thought" Gase might "have been brash" or "too young" to be a head coach, but Ross had a conviction about him and said he was his top choice before he interviewed him. Ross praised his intelligence and passion to win.
"Our future is in really good hands," Ross said of Gase. "I think we have good talent here. There's a lot of reason for optimism. I like the course we're on. He's really put together a great staff."
Ross said the Dolphins are expecting "big things" from Kenyan Drake: "His speed is fantastic. We've just got to keep him healthy."
(In his preseason debut, Drake had four carries for six yards but also caught a pass from Doughty for 33 yards).
Ross also said coaches were "really thrilled" with Xavien Howard before his injury.
• Marquise Gray had two catches for 30 yards, and Thomas Duarte 2 for 11, but I'm not sure there's a No. 3 tight end on the roster.
• A few things from Gase: On Drake: "I was hoping to get him some more carries."... He said there's a chance "we will play two or three guys in game" at right guard against Seattle... On why Laremy Tunsil didn't play: "He missed a day of practice. We were being smart. He was lobbying. We decided it probably wasn't the best thing for him to play."... On running back: "The only disappointing thing is we're never healthy at the same time."...
On Jay Ajayi: "I was a little disappointed he put the ball on the ground. What he has shown me in the spring and in training camp is a guy that was reliable in the passing game. [On the fumble] I expect better from him; I have higher standards from him.".. On Brandon Doughty: "He did a good job. Went in there with confidence. The thing about him that's really impressive is stands there, is not afraid to get hit and deliver the ball. His toughness is very impressive."... On the last six weeks of practice: "I don't remember a day where I walked off the field thinking that was terrible on both sides of the ball."
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