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Buccaneers vs. Dolphins Preview: Five Questions with the Phinsider

What can you expect out of the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel there for the crucial third preseason game? The Phinsider was kind enough to answer five questions for us.


1. Which under the radar player on Miami's offense should we watch out for?

That's going to be a hard one to predict this week, simply because the offense is probably changing a little after the team lost Dustin Keller for the season on Saturday. If the team just plugs and plays a new tight end into the starting role, Charles Clay could have a good day. However, he is not Dustin Keller, so he's not going to have the same impact we have seen from Keller so far this offseason/preseason.

A couple of other guys who could be interesting to watch are Brandon Gibson and Daniel Thomas. Gibson is the forgotten free agent addition this year, overshadowed by Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brent Grimes, but he could be a key part of the offense. He's develop a good chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and, with Keller out, could be the guy to play in the middle of the field now. Thomas is a player a lot of Miami fans love to hate. He's been concussion-prone early in his career and has fumbled more than you would want from a running back. However, he is running hard this year, blocking well, and looking healthy. The team has not ruled him out as the starter ahead of Lamar Miller, though I don't see Thomas actually jumping Miller.

2. Which under the radar player on Miami's defense should we watch out for?

Olivier Vernon has been a terror on the defensive line in training camp. Cameron Wake is a big name, and Dion Jordan is known because he was the third pick this year, but people have not heard of Vernon. The second year defensive end is going to start opposite Wake, and will have an impact. He's a little further developed than Jordan, specifically against the run, so he has that benefit in holding off Jordan for now. Vernon is going to be someone who has success in the NFL this year, and he's someone no one knows yet.

Someone who will gain a little more of the spotlight after the release of Richard Marshall this week is rookie cornerback Will Davis. Davis has been an interception machine in training camp and he managed to pick off a pass last week against the Jaguars as well. With Marshall's release, the Dolphins seem to be signaling they trust Davis to be able to step up in the regular season (and that second round pick Jamar Taylor will be healthy, but that's a separate issue). Davis has issues with double moves or pump fakes right now, letting his aggressiveness pull him out of position, so that's one of the main things Dolphins fans will be watching.

3. How has Brent Grimes looked in training camp? The Bucs were supposedly after him, too, but the injury at his age always concerned me.

Simply put, Grimes is a stud. He could very well be the steal of the free agency period. He's fast and can jump, so the Achilles tear seems to be no issue. Grimes had an outstanding interceptions against the Texans last week, and we have already seen teams starting to stay away from him. Other than the potential deep plays that could come from Mike Wallace, Grimes is probably the free agent signing that excites me the most this year.

4. How do Dolphins fans feel about Ryan Tannehill? Is he generally seen as the quarterback of the future?

I'm going to use a term I've always hated, but cautiously optimistic. Tannehill has all the tools to be a really good quarterback at this level. He had a good rookie year that got lost among the three great rookie years elsewhere in the league, and he seems ready to take charge of the offense. All things point to Tannehill being the guy. However, as fans, we have been through this before. John Beck was going to be the guy. Chad Henne was going to be the guy. Even Daunte Culpepper was supposed to come in and solidify the quarterback position. It clearly has some fans jaded.

Personally, I am fully on board with Tannehill. He has everything you want to see in a young quarterback. Will he put it together? This year will give us a much better perspective of what the Dolphins have.

5. Will the Dolphins finally compete for a playoff spot again?

I like the way you worded that question. Yes, I think the Dolphins will compete for a playoff spot. Do I think they will get one? There's a good possibility. But, I'm not going to predict that they make the playoffs, because there are just things out of the team's control that have to happen for Miami to make it into the postseason. But, I think this team can do enough this year to be in the discussion. I am looking for nine wins, which would have them in contention, but may or may not get them into the wildcard spot.

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