Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
While the fourth and final preseason game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things in terms of how a team is going to do, how an offense and defense looks and other variables, it means everything for many young players not only on the Miami Dolphins, but around the NFL as well. This is, in essence, their Super Bowl.
Some young players who will be looking for a chance to impress and show they belong in the NFL include Chris McCain, Damien Williams, Anthony Johnson and Harold Hoskins. All of them have flashed in preseason and practices but in the NFL, there is no guarantee that what you have done is good enough and they all need another strong showing tonight.
With most of the starters getting the night off, these youngsters, along with all the others, will get a chance to play the majority of the game.
“It’s going to be real big,” McCain told the Miami Dolphins website. “I have to make a lot of plays. I can’t have any mental errors. I just have to go out there and ball out, just got to have a great game, 100 percent, at full speed with every aspect — special teams and defense. I’ve just got to be in the right place at the right time all the time.”
“There are still things up in the air and we’re still making decisions on who’s going to be the final members of this team,” Philbin said after practice Tuesday. “It’s an opportunity for these guys to show us what they’re capable of doing in that game setting. We talked (Monday) about how important it is to get these guys out there in a game setting and demonstrate what they’re capable of doing. Really, that’s what we want to see again. We’ll have one more opportunity for that and they need to take advantage of it.”
Damien Williams has a lot at stake at a crowded running back position but he has been gaining a lot of momentum as of late. He knows he’s done well but he knows nothing is certain.
“All I can do is stay focused on the game plan and what I have ahead of me,” Williams told The Finsiders on Monday. “I don’t have time to focus on, am I going to get cut? Am I going to get cut? All I can do is stay consistent, stay with the game plan, and then if I ever get the call — hopefully I don’t, knock on wood ... I’m going to stay focused for this game.”
So when you’re watching the game tonight, enjoy it. Realize that the young men playing on the field are fighting for their lives and families. Hundreds of them will have their dreams cut way too short on Saturday. Much less will make the final roster and then, it’s a different battle to fend off released players from other teams. It’s a vicious cycle in the NFL but one they must adapt to and prove that they belong.