The Dolphins first preseason game is fast approaching, and there are a lot of players that need evaluating. So, the time has come to give a quick rundown of which three players fans should be keeping a close eye on as the Dolphins face the Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium.
Josh Rosen, QB
Did anyone not see this coming? Yes, Josh Rosen is at the top of the list of players to watch for the first preseason game. All throughout training camp, Rosen has steadily improved, but still fallen short of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick will start the game for however long coach Brian Flores deems fit, but there is an advantage to Rosen not starting. Because he’s listed as the backup, Rosen will have a chance to get more snaps than usual.
Rosen needs all the practice he can get as he tries to get his career back in order. He was derailed in his rookie season by the dysfunctional Cardinals, and this will be his first game action since being traded. All Rosen has to do is show that he’s still worth investing in. Make smart plays, take calculated risks, and prove he’s worth the pick Miami traded to get him. The Falcons already had their first preseason game, so the defense will have a head start. Seeing how he does against them will offer some insight.
Michael Deiter, G
Strangely enough, undrafted free agent Shaq Calhoun is doing just as well, if not more so, than the Dolphins 2019 third round pick. This puts a certain amount of pressure on Deiter. By his own admission, offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo says he still has a lot to work on.
“That I need to get better and that I’m nowhere near where I need to be, which is good. I’m not. He’s right.” Deiter said on Tuesday. “But I’m getting better, for sure, and making strides. The biggest thing is mastering the offense and getting as comfortable as I can mentally, that way I can come out here and just cut it loose without thinking.”
DeGuglielmo is not shy about letting young players play; the antithesis of fired OL coach Pat Flaherty. As a result, Deiter is going through his growing pains now. It will be interesting to see how he holds up against a defensive front going all out.
Preston Williams, WR
Oh look, Williams makes another list. Surprise, surprise. Yes, the time has come to see what Williams can do in a real game. He impresses in practice, even in full pads. But this is an actual opponent, which means no punches will be pulled. It may only be preseason, but there are a lot of players gunning for a spot on each team’s final roster. Even if it’s sloppy, players will be giving it everything they’ve got.
With all the rotation the Dolphins are doing in practice, there’s no way to guess who will start and who will play later. Maybe there is no set number of snaps for players. Maybe Williams will play with Fitzpatrick and Rosen in the same game. All anyone can do is wait and see how Flores coaches his first ever NFL game. Williams still has something to prove, and a competition to win. A strong performance against Atlanta will go a long way for him.
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung