Dol­phins vs. Ravens

Many ques­tions left unan­swered.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Shan­del Richard­son Staff writer

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.


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