By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303
Coach Brian Flores got his first win as a Head Coach. The team managed to grind out a 34-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons. It’s only the first of four preseason match-ups, but the Dolphins got off to a great start.
In typical preseason fashion, many of the starters played one or two snaps or not even at all.
Dolphins projected starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took first-team snaps and finished his night after a couple of series. QB Josh Rosen went well into the 4th quarter finally giving way to 3rd string quarterback Jake Rudock.
Rosen saw a lot of time and spoke about his opportunity after the game. When asked how he would grade it, Rosen stated, “I think there was some good and bad. I don’t know about a specific grade. The pick was pretty bad in the sense of my read told me to go here and I didn’t. It wasn’t like a ball play kind of pick. It was a read kind of pick, so it’s definitely something to build on. I think there was some good, some bad and everything in between. I’m looking forward to breaking down the film and trying to get better from it.”
When Coach Flores was asked about both his quarterback’s play he had this to say:
“It’s hard to tell. I’m going to have to go back and watch the tape. Obviously, the turnover, Josh’s (Rosen) turnover we didn’t like that, but I thought he made some good throws. I thought ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) was off-target on a few throws as well. I thought the protection for both guys could have been a lot better, which would have given us a little bit better evaluation on the – as I was watching it. But I’ll probably have a little bit more – I’ll have a better feel for how each one of those guys played after I watch the tape.”
One thing that became very apparent to many Dolphins fans was the trouble on the offensive line. Many times both quarterbacks were under heavy pressure. Coach Flores addressed the issue when asked about their efforts and play and not having tackle Laremy Tunsil.
“No. At first glance, you got to take a look at it, but we had two rookies in there. And their first game action in this league as you could imagine the game moves fast. I think there’s some getting used to the game speed was something that showed up just from the naked eye that I saw. I think it got better as the game went on for those guys. And then the next group came in and they had some of those same issues. I think it’s a little bit of first-game jitters, a little bit of you can’t simulate game speed, you just cannot – the kicking game, offensively, defensively. We do as much as we can from a practice standpoint, but you can’t simulate it. We talked about that specifically the last couple days, but you really got to feel it as a player and then adjust. I think we made some adjustments. I thought the protection was better in the second half and hopefully, it will be better moving forward.”
I’m giving undrafted wide receiver Preston Williams Player of The Game honors. He has shined in training camp and brought his game to the field Thursday. When asked about Williams and his play on the field. Coach Flores said “I think he’s worked extremely hard really since he got here, post-draft. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s tough, and he’s really worked every day to get better. We tell him to block in the run game, he blocks in the run game, play more downhill on your end cuts, he does that. He works hard after practice, he works hard in meetings, and it showed up tonight.”
The not so ready for prime time player of the game is cornerback Nik Needham. In camp, he had shown some flashes, even getting a shot to run with the first team. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite translate to the field on Thursday.
When asked about his thoughts on Needham Coach Flores stated “I think Nik has had a good camp. I think he’s had a solid camp, he’s worked hard, he’s gotten better, he’s been consistent really throughout the spring and in these training camp practices. I think tonight he struggled. But I still have a lot of confidence in Nik Needham. I think this is a young player who – There’s been a lot of tough games for a lot of young corners in this league. It’s definitely a learning process.”
Overall, I think I felt like coach Flores did. I saw some good things and saw some not so good things. The Dolphins will join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for joint practices before preseason game 2 Friday night in Tampa.
Talk Dolphins with Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303