Tomorrow evening the 2015-2016 Miami Dolphins will take the field at Florida International University's Ocean Bank Field. This will give coaches an opportunity to get a look at fringe players in game-time situations. This game will also provide a look at how positional groupings work together. If you would like tickets to the game they are $5.00 and can be purchased here. (Tickets are limited and will sell out soon so get yours now!)
As is the case with practices, the Dolphins’ coaches will not unleash the entire playbook and they are still figuring out the roster, so refrain from making grand assumptions from what you see. There will be scripted plays and the coaches will draw up situations to get the crowd excited. This does not mean this will be a meaningless scrimmage, as major decisions are made after scrimmages like these. Players will have the opportunity to showcase their skills to earn extra snaps in the preseason games which begin on Thursday. Rosters must be cut down to 75 by the end of the month, and players who find themselves on the bubble must use every snap they get to prove that they deserve a spot on the roster.
When head coach Joe Philbin was asked what he wants to see during the scrimmage he did not specify specific players, but instead said he wants to see how this group moves and works together as a team.
“The big thing that I look at is how quickly we can [run] simple things – like how fast we can get lined up, what kind of communication do we have in our back end in the secondary, can the young guys get thrown into a situation, in the two-minute drill, and function as a team.” Philbin said yesterday after practice. He continued saying “So I look mostly at that kind of stuff, teamwork kind of things – are we getting the plays in on time, are we getting to the line of scrimmage [on time], are shifts and motions crisp, are we making the right adjustments in coverage checks. And then we’re going to do some tackling, I want to see our guys. I’m mostly concerned about the stuff in space, can we get guys in space down on the ground. Those are what I’m really looking forward to.”
At last year’s scrimmage, which had an attendance of roughly 10,000, a few players caught they eyes of fans and began their ascent into NFL relevance. One of these players was Jarvis Landry who had some nice catches and a touchdown. Much was made of the recent video of Tannehill hitting Landry for a long touchdown pass in Wednesday’s practice. Expect to see some scripted deep passes by Tannehill in an attempt to prove to the media that he has improved that facet of his game, as well as an expanded route tree from Landry in Friday’s scrimmage.
“I think he’s got a chance to do that. He’s lined up in a variety of spots. He’s done some things outside.” Philbin said of second year receiver Jarvis Landry, “I think his natural home base is still inside, but he certainly has shown the ability, he’s a real quality route runner. He can run different routes that you want on the outside. The beauty of him is he doesn’t slow down when he’s coming out of cuts. So if he can get on top of the DB (defensive back), he doesn’t waste any time whatsoever. That’s really, to me, is what makes him effective.”
Last year’s scrimmage was held at Sun Life Stadium, but due to the recent stadium renovations, this year’s game will be held at FIU. No matter what venue the team will be playing in, quarterback Ryan Tannehill is excited to get on a bigger stage and show fans a glimpse of what this team will look like when they face the Washington Redskins in week one of the regular season.
“It’s always fun to be able to step out in front of the fans on a different setting than this field. I’d like to be at Sun Life (Stadium), but obviously that’s not the case. It’s always an exciting time to be able to play under the lights at night. It’s more of a game-like atmosphere than you’re ever going to get on this field. It’s something that we look forward to as a team each and every year and that’s no different this year.”
Be sure to check back in with Phinmaniacs.com after the scrimmage for a comprehensive dissection of what went down on the FIU field.
This story was written by Efrain Ramos. Follow him on Twitter: @EfrainRamos
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