« Dolphins at Giants delayed by lightning | Main | Maxwell misses practice with groin »

Miami Dolphins postgame report: Preseason game 1

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The postgame from the Dolphins 27-10 preseason victory over the New York Giants was almost as interesting as the game itself.

It starts with the most surprising pregame move which was keeping cornerback Byron Maxwell out of the game. The veteran cornerback was supposed to start the game but that plan changed just after warmups.

"Actually, I was walking in and I noticed he was full sweat running around out there and he said he was tight," coach Adam Gase said. "He was trying to get loosened up and couldn't get loosened up. He went back in and our trainers and the rest of the crew went back out there. Then we just decided it would be smart to make sure nothing happened to him. He's had a good camp and we want to make sure he's ready to go for the start of the season."

And so the Dolphins turned to Bobby McCain as their starter. McCain, it should be noted, is not an outside cornerback. He's a slot cornerback. And the Dolphins view this as two different positions. But with Miami being down several corners who are injured -- such as Xavien Howard, Chimdi Chekwa and Chris Culliver -- and Maxwell being out ...

It was Bobby McCain time. 

"He kind of got thrown out last minute," Gase said. "We knew we were going to put him out there at some point in the game but I think it was a little sooner than he thought. He got into a pretty good rhythm. He played tight coverage and he did what he's supposed to do. That's what we're looking for."

McCain got beat on a couple of passes. But he also had an interception. He finished the game with two passes defensed and that pick.

"I'm comfortable out there," McCain said of working on the boundary. "I work inside and outside. Last year I played a lot inside but at the end of the year I played a lot outside. My whole life I've been playing corner, so I'm comfortable wherever they put me."

McCain delivered a solid game.

It seemed as if second-team guard Laremy Tunsil did very well. The five-yard touchdown run in which Damien Williams ran to the left and the New York front had collapsed?

Laremy Tunsil was one of the blockers collapsing the Giants defense.

"Man, I forgot about that play," Tunsil admitted after the game. "But the oline looked good on that play."

For Tunsil the biggest issue Friday seemed to be getting calm.

"I had to get the jitters out but I did that eventually," Tunsil said. "I was nervous. You want to get that first hit out of the way to get those jitters out."

Tunsil got a ton of reps and Gase said it will be great work to evaluate because practice reps just aren't real. This was as close to real as the Dolphins will see from Tunsil so this should offer good evaluation tape.

My column today, by the way, covers the Dolphins offensive line and what immediately must happen for the Dolphins to get closer to regular season form. Hint: It has to do with the offensive line.

Gase was clearly displeased with the penalties by the first unit offense and defense.

On defense, the Dolphins had the Giants in a third-and-11 situation but Chris McCain jumped offsides turning it into a manageable third-and-6 situation.

"I thought we were in a good situation with defense," Gase said. "They had a penalty and thought we were off the field. When you hurt yourself on third down, something bad usually happens. It just never quite worked out for us in that drive. They scored a touchdown."

 On offense, the Dolphins were in a second-and-four situation their second series and then Ja'Wuan James jumped offsides, turning the situation into a third-and-10 and backed up to the seven yard line.

"It's not ideal for us," Gase said.

The Dolphins got excellent work from backups.

Jakeem Grant led the team in receptions; Walt Aikens had a forced fumble; Isaiah Pead rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries and Daniel Thomas rushed for 40 yards on 10 carries.

Gase said the reserves offered "great energy" and "played the kind of football we're looking for."

Grant had four catches for 68 yards, including a 24 yard reception. He also returned four punts for 60 yards and averaged 26.5 yard per kick return on two chances.

"I think I proved a little something but I have a long way to go," Grant said. "I haven't perfected it yet. This is my first time doing it back there and I'm still getting a feel for it and I got a lot of stuff to improve on.

"I was just wanted to go out there and make a play and show everyone that I am a receiver, too, as well as a punt returner and kickoff returner. Anything the coach wants to put me in, I'm going to take it and do to the best of my ability."

The Dolphins quarterbacks story was an interesting one. Matt Moore started slow, by throwing an interception.

"I was shocked," Gase said. "When he threw the interception, that surprised me. Because that's very surprising from what I had seen of him running exactly that play in practice. I think he just waited and felt he had what he wanted. I think he came right back and was like, "that ball shouldn't have gone there." But he came right back and it loosened him up."

Moore was better later. He finished the game with 10 completions on 14 attempts for 122 yards with one TD and one INT.

Tannehill was two of four for eight yards.

We didn't move the ball like I wanted to," Tannehill said. "We had a couple of completions short of the sticks. Then, in the second drive, we kind of got going in the run game and then a penalty put us back behind the sticks and that's not where you want to be. So ... frustrating.

"Frustrating that that was our limited sample size there. But there's some good things in those play that we did well. We have stuff we need to clean up and have to clean up as soon as possible."

Yes, protecting the QB needs to be cleaned up. Olivier Vernon dominated his former team in the two series he played against the starters.

So QB protection...

"Well, it's going to be a big part of every football team in the NFL," Tannehill said. "You've got to be able to protect the quarterback and get the ball out and get the ball to the playmakers' hands ... We want to get the run game going, we want to protect the ball, we want to run the ball -- it's all part of the formula for a great offense, and it's [protecting the QB] a big factor for it."

Comments