Preseason Week Two Preview: Miami at Jacksonville

The Miami Dolphins will go into their second pre-season game with something to prove. Their first team offense failed miserably in the torrential downpour in Miami during their first exhibition game against Tampa Bay.

The team has been practicing all week, and working on perfecting the many mistakes that were made during the game.

Head coach Tony Sparano made it clear to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero today in his press conference that starting quarterback Chad Henne will most likely be playing the whole first half of this Saturdays game.

I think probably Henne’s going to go, I’d like to take Henne into the half,” Sparano said Thursday. “I got a play count particularly in my head right now, that would take him through the first half, but if you hit that play count a little bit earlier I might take him out. If we move the ball and had some success and he hit that play count and I felt good about it, I think I might do that. Unless there was a two minute situation before the half hanging there that I feel like he might need or something like that. Right now I’m thinking that he’s going to go the first half of the game and then we’ll see how it trickles down. I’d imagine at this point Tyler [Thigpen] would get in there and we’d see where we are.

With that statement, there comes a little bit more information. Sparano has said that this game will be used as a checkpoint for those looking to make the roster, and for the “fringe” players that are competing to stay in camp, and with the team. But after hearing what Sparano stated today, it sounds that those players will only have the second half to prove that they can contribute to the team. I cannot imagine Sparano keeping in Henne without his first team offense behind him.

Here are some of the sights I will be looking for on Saturday night:

  • Henne needs to show me that his accuracy has improved over the off-season. We failed to see that during the first pre-season game, and in all honesty, it is not fair to judge a quarterbacks overall play in those kind of weather conditions. Henne will have the whole half to show everyone what he has worked on all off-season.
  • I want to see how Joe Berger and the rest of the interior line performs as well. Much has been said over the past 24 hours on the seemingly finished competition between Jake Grove and Joe Berger for the starting center spot. I’m going to be looking for whether Grove can make a statement in this game, and possibly prove the doubters wrong.
  • Vontae Davis was picked on for a 30 yard completion to rookie receiver Mike Williams last week. This is the same story as last year. Can Davis prove that he has indeed improved, and that those chunk yardage plays won’t happen in his coverage?
  • One of the Fins bigger problems last week, and something the fans, and some of the media noticed, were the numerous missed tackles on both special teams, and by starting free safety Chris Clemons. Sparano has come out this week and announced that the starting job for the free safety position is still open. But is it really? If Clemons can wrap up, and put on a better tackling performance, you can expect Clemons to be announced the starter for Week 1 next week.
  • Brandon Marshall and his case of the dropsies has been the main headline this week, so he in undoubtedly looking for redemption in this weeks game. Show the doubters wrong “South Beach Beast”!

The Dolphins have a lot to show, but some of those things will not be the Wildcat formation, or some of the exotic blitz packages that Mike Nolan has infused into the team this off-season.

Final Prediction:

Dolphins will pull out the game in the end. I foresee them having a much better, and deeper roster than the Jags. This game is all about proving that they are indeed the better team though. They had trouble doing that last week against the Bucs.


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