Andy Cohen: Observations After Three Preseason Games

Posted Aug 24, 2012

Don’t worry about an 0-3 preseason record. It is meaningless. Nobody remembers preseason records. Concentrate more on specific players and how they are or aren’t progressing. That’s what the preseason is all about.

• The Atlanta game was another step in the maturation of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. While his numbers weren’t stellar, he was hurt by at least four dropped passes. The more he plays; the more comfortable he will become. There are going to be growing pains; there always are with rookie quarterbacks.

There are moments when Tannehill looks like he really gets it, like on a 13-play drive in the first half against the Falcons when he showed excellent efficiency, both running and passing. Or the time when he was poised enough to throw the ball out of bounds when the play didn’t materialize.

But there are also things he clearly needs to work on. He has a tendency to stare down receivers. His accuracy is off and on. He has trouble with tipped passes. Still, you see the ability. You see the mechanics. You see the potential. You see the smarts. And you want to see more.

• Much improved effort for the first-team defense, holding a very talented Atlanta offense to just three field goals in the first half. That’s the type of effort Joe Philbin and his staff had been expecting. I was especially impressed with the rushing defense. Now, I’d like to see some turnovers.

• Great that Cameron Wake is healthy again as evidenced by a second quarter sack that demonstrated both speed and toughness. I expect to see double digit sacks this season from Wake.

• And if rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon can add some consistent pressure from the other side, the Dolphins could have a solid pass rush.

Reggie Bush is ready for the regular season to begin. He is in excellent shape and has that playmaker look to him. This is his sixth season, the prime of his career. The Dolphins truthfully need him at his best in order to be productive on offense.

• Second-year back Daniel Thomas is also having a very good camp and looks much more sure of himself this season.

• The more I see fullback Jorvorskie Lane, the more I like him. He is 258 pounds of old-fashioned toughness. You’re not going to tackle him one-on-one.

• Love the hurry-up offense. Nice to see a Dolphins offense finally dictating the pace of the game. Now, I want to see them hurry up and score.

 • Dan Carpenter nails a field goal from 52 yards. The least of my worries about this football team is the place kicker and punter.

  •  I’m a little concerned that the Dolphins gave up two big pass plays this preseason – one against Tampa Bay, one against Atlanta -- and in each case the defensive back was in position to make the play.

• Once again, two of the most important players on this defense, linebackers Karlos Dansby (knee) and Kevin Burnett (back), sat out the Falcons game with injuries. This is problematic for many reasons, trying to develop some continuity perhaps the most significant reason. How can you really judge this defense without those two?

• It’s a shame, by the way, that guard Eric Steinbach was forced to retire last week because of a bad back. When healthy, he was a top tier guard in this league and would have been fun to watch with this group.

• Rookie tackle Jonathan Martin is looking like, well, a rookie tackle. He’s too talented and too smart not to learn from the mistakes that he is making.

 • Hard to imagine a tougher opening game opponent than the Houston Texans at their place. This is a complete team with no obvious glaring weaknesses and some legitimate playmakers. Arian Foster? Andre Johnson? Matt Schaub? They’ve got talent everywhere.

 • It’s not going to be easy cutting down this Dolphins wide receiver group because the talent level from top to bottom is so unbelievably close. It’s just too bad no wide receiver has really emerged from the pack.

• Speaking of wide receivers, this camp has been a forgettable one for Brian Hartline who continues to miss valuable time with a leg injury.

• Cut down time: 90 to 53 before you know it. So many dreams will die so quickly. The sobering side of football.

• One more dress rehearsal Wednesday in Dallas. And then, finally, games that really count.
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