Tonight is the big night everyone. The Miami Dolphins will return to real football action tonight at 8:00 PM EST on CBS4, and for the first time in a long time, fans will be able to chant "Let's go Dolphins!" with their friends as they pull out the old BBQ grill and celebrate the return of NFL Football.
The excitement and hype around the Dolphins this year is unreal, and for once it appears to be truly justified. The team has put together a team that actually fits what they want to do. The WR corps fits what quarterback Ryan Tannehill can do, the defense has been improved with the addition of All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and of course Tannehill himself has shown improvement once again in training camp.
Add to that the potential being shown by the Dolphins rookies such as Jamil Douglas, Jordan Phillips and Bobby McCain, and you've got yourself a team that finally looks like it could make a push for the playoffs. But there are problems.
I took to Twitter to ask folks what was it they wanted to see most during the first Preseason game tonight, and the results of the question are shown below.
So the general consensus is one that's expected. The offensive line is a huge question mark due to the fact that Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert is still out and the guard positions are not locked down by anyone. I'm sure Ndamukong Suh eating the right guards for breakfast every morning doesn't help the evaluation, but it is what it is.
The projected starters according to the first official depth chart (pay no attention to that by the way) is that Dallas Thomas will start at left guard with Billy Turner at right guard. The Bears run a 3-4 defense as opposed to the 4-3 that the Dolphins run, so if nothing else the offensive line will be dealing with a somewhat different look.
The other question marks are the cornerbacks and the linebackers. In particular, Jamar Taylor and Chris McCain are the players that fans are looking to see how they do since they were the favorites to win the starting spot opposite Brent Grimes and the starting SLB position respectively.
Taylor has done some good things and done some bad things, and the same goes for Chris McCain, so tonight will be very interesting to watch as they will be facing off against players that aren't on their team for the first time this year.
Finally, the running backs have been getting a lot of attention. LaMichael James has shown excellent potential as a weapon out of the backfield and as a returner, and it's possible he could get a roster spot because of this. As for rookie Jay Ajayi, I'm not expecting him to play much, if at all, due to his injury. He's still rehabbing, and I expect to see a lot of Damien Williams, LaMichael James and Mike Gillislee to compensate.
This game could also be the dealmaker or dealbreaker regarding free agent guard Evan Mathis. If the guards do well, it's possible they'll be able to roll over the $9 million in cap space instead of using it to sign Mathis. If they fail...then we could very well see him in aqua and orange when Saturday rolls around.
We'll all be watching carefully. Some will have their tablets out, some will join a party at a friend's house, and some will have their laptops in front of them as they prepare to write up a story. No matter what the intention, we can all rejoice at the fact that football is back at last. Game on.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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