After the head coaches turned in their lineups and pregame scratches before the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys played Friday, there had to be a feeling that something good was going to happen for Vance Joseph's defensive line.
After all, the defensive coordinator was putting Mario Williams in the lineup for the first time ever. And because Cameron Wake was not playing, Williams was going to be able to play his customary left end spot.
(When Wake plays, he'll usually be at left end going up against the offense's right tackle. That means when Wake's playing, Williams, who has played left end against right tackles most of his career, will have to move over much of the time and play over left tackles. And left tackles are typically the offense's best outside pass blocker.)
So Williams was not going to face All World Dallas left tackle Tyron Smith. Instead he was going to play right tackle Doug Free who is solid but is not the caliber of player that Smith is by consensus.
So this seemed to be a good matchup for the Dolphins.
But it wasn't.
Williams played only a couple of series. Free played only a couple of series.
And Free won the battle.
Williams was credited with two tackles. And Free still seemed to get the better of him. I should also add that on one play, the Cowboys asked second-year tight end Geoff Swaim to block Williams one-on-one. And he did it without incident. Then veteran tight end Jason Witten blocked Williams one-on-one without incident.
And I know what you are about to say: It is only preseason and it was only a couple of series.
Well, last week was preseason and it was only a couple of series but Olivier Vernon kind of took it to the Dolphins. And this isn't about "the Dolphins should have kept OV." Not at all. I'm using it as an example to show you a veteran can perform in limited preseason snaps. That's all.
And Williams didn't exactly show out against the right tackle he faced in his first Dolphins outing.
What's going to happen when he plays against left tackles?
"We've got time to get back to work and work out the kinks," Williams said after the game.
One more thing: The Dolphins knew Smith was being scratched by the Cowboys. Why didn't they keep Williams on the right side versus the backup left tackle? Why not play him where he'll play most of his snaps this snaps and take advantage of playing a second-string player?
Again ... just asking.