Five Dolphins to watch in Saturday's matchup vs. Panthers
The Miami Dolphins take on the Carolina Panthers in their second preseason game Saturday after holding joint practices this week. The offensive line was tested by a solid Panthers defense, with reports coming back as positive for the most part.
As for the rest of the offense, they’ll look to build on a poor performance from a week ago, outside of starters Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller. The backup quarterbacks struggled mightily, giving the coaching staff little confidence beyond Tannehill. The starters should see more time Saturday, giving a better glimpse at what to expect this season.
These five players are worth keeping an eye on against the Panthers.
Damien Williams, RB
Reports from practice this week signify a strong showing from running back Damien Williams. The second-string tailback played well against the Panthers, and should have a solid game against them on Saturday. He’s edged ahead of LaMichael James on the depth chart after James struggled last week against the Bears. Look for Williams to get a heavy dosage of carries Saturday night with the Dolphins likely to limit Miller’s workload.
Cobi Hamilton, WR
Kenny Stills probably won’t see the field for too much time if he plays on Saturday, given the fact that he just returned to practice this week. If Stills is limited, or out all together, Cobi Hamilton should see some opportunities. He was the most targeted player (9) for the Dolphins in the first preseason game, and currently sits on the roster bubble. In order to make the team, he’ll need to have a solid game once again after catching four passes for 49 yards last week. He has yet to record a catch in a regular season game, however, which means he has an uphill battle to make the squad.
Billy Turner, RG
Both Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner have been the frontrunners to win the two starting guard spots in training camp and have yet to give up their jobs. During the last week of practices, Turner and Thomas played well against the Panthers, further solidifying their roles in the starting lineup. Turner has been the more inconsistent of the two for the most part, which means he’ll need a solid game once again on Saturday. Talks of signing Evan Mathis have gone quiet since Turner and Thomas stepped up, meaning the Dolphins could refrain from signing him.
Michael Thomas/Walt Aikens, S
It’s a two-for-one deal here at safety as both players are vying to take over for Louis Delmas, who’s out for the season. Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas are both fairly inexperienced, but Joe Philbin is expected to give them the first shot at replacing Delmas. Both players should see extended playing time on Saturday to give the coaching staff a look at each. Philbin has already said game action will determine the winner of the safety competition, meaning there are big implications for Saturday’s game.
Brice McCain, CB
Jamar Taylor has been the primary No. 2 cornerback of late, which means Brice McCain will likely play inside covering the slot. McCain started last week’s game as the No. 3 cornerback, but didn’t make much of an impact, recording just one tackle and no pass deflections. If McCain wants to hold onto the nickel cornerback job, he’ll have to step up on Saturday. McCain had a strong week of practice, but he’ll have to carry it over into game action. He and Taylor have battled all of training camp, giving the Dolphins three solid corners if both can sustain their solid play.