Dolphins vs. Ravens
Many questions left unanswered.
MIAMI GARDENS — It was perhaps the most encouraging drive of the preseason for the Miami Dolphins.
In the second quarter of Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Dolphins’ offense gave a glimpse of its capabilities. First, it was running back Kenyan Drake making a play. And then it was rookie tight end Mike Gesicki introducing himself to the NFL, And, finally, Ryan Tannehill and new acquisition Danny Amendola showed how they could become an effective tandem.
Even though it occurred against several of the Raven’s backup defenders, it was still encouraging. It was still the Dolphins offering some hope of what could be expected this season.
The Dolphins first-team scored its first touchdown of the preseason when Tannehill connected with Amendola for a 16-yard strike with 9 minutes, 9 seconds left in the second quarter. It gave the crowd at Hard Rock Stadium reason to cheer.
Amendola hauled in the reception from Tannehill on a third down, preventing the team from attempting a field goal. The play was preceded by a 30-yard run by Drake and a 10-yard catch from Gesicki, the first of his career.
The drive was easily the highlight for the Dolphins in what was the most important game of the preseason. Many of the starters are expected to sit the exhibition finale at Atlanta, with most of the position battles to be decided in the coming days.
The Dolphins also got their first, although brief, look at backup running back Frank Gore
Gore. There was question if he would even play in the preseason because coach Adam Gase wants to keep him fresh for the 16-game schedule. At 35, Gore is among the league’s oldest at his position but he did have one carry for -2 yards before becoming a spectator.
The Dolphins only need him to serve as an understudy to Drake, who ran for 32 yards in eight carries and also had a 36-yard reception from Tannehill in the second quarter. Most of the starting offense sat the second half, allowing the coaching staff to evaluate the younger players.
It wasn’t all positive for the Dolphins’ offense. The offensive line gave up its first sack of Tannehill, an area that has been emphasized ever since he sustained a season-ending knee injury last training camp. Tannehill completed 11 of 15 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
The other setback occurred when receiver Jakeem Grant left the game with a concussion after taking a hit from Ravens safety Chuck Clark. Clark was given a personal foul for making helmet-to-helmet contact.
Among the defensive developments was Chase Allen receiving first-team reps at linebacker ahead of rookie Jerome Baker. Although Baker was on the path to earning the starting nod, Allen was first on the field when the Dolphins used a third linebacker after beginning the game in nickel coverage.
Baker, a third-round pick out of Ohio State, has impressed during camp but struggled at times in games playing the run.
The five-defensive back unit featured rookie firstround draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was joined by safeties Reshad Jones and T. J. McDonald. Cornberback Torry McTyer also received reps ahead of Bobby McCain.
Other positive signs included defensive tackle Jordan Phillips being back in the lineup. He had been dealing with a shoulder injury but was healthy enough to record a sack in the first half. Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor also had a blocked field goal late in the first quarter. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola lunges for a touchdown as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett tackles him on the play.