Day two of the NFL preseason week is here, and it brings us three more games of Week 2. One of them is the battle of Florida between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Among the storylines to look forward to here are Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay, the continued quarterback battle in Miami, and if Jameis Winston can finally be the franchise QB in the final year of his contract. Expectations nationally aren’t very high for either team, but in the locker rooms, I’m sure they feel differently.
The Dolphins were victorious in their first preseason game last week against the Atlanta Falcons. In a 34-27 win, Josh Rosen led the Dolphins on multiple scoring drives of over 60 yards. Rosen finished the game going 13 of 20 for 191 yards and a pick behind a pretty terrible offensive line that didn’t give him a lot of time. His counterpart in the quarterback battle, Ryan Fitzpatrick, went 2 for 5 for 20 yards in minimal action.
No one in the Miami backfield really did any damage, with Patrick Laird leading the way with 24 yards. Camp hero Preston Williams continued to ball out this summer, catching four balls for 97 yards from Rosen. Seventh-round rookie Myles Gaskin caught the lone passing touchdown. 2018 Hard Knocks star Nate Orchard recorded a sack, and Dewayne Hendrix also recorded two sacks of his own.
Tampa Bay lost its first preseason game last week in Pittsburgh, 30-28. They had a chance to tie the game with 10 seconds left in the game but failed to convert on a two-point conversion. Winston led a touchdown drive in his only series of the game, finishing 5 for 6 for 40 yards and a passing score. Ryan Griffin made a strong case to be the backup over Blaine Gabbert, completing 26 of 43 passes for 330 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Dare Ogunbowale led the offensive shootout for Tampa Bay with 34 yards and two scores. Both Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones had 18 yards. Spencer Schnell led the Bucs with seven catches for 119 yards. Tampa Bay once again invested a draft pick in a kicker, even after the Roberto Aguayo debacle, taking Matt Gay in the fifth round. He kicked a booming 55-yard field goal. Another 2018 Hard Knocks star, Carl Nassib, registered a 16-yard sack.
Tampa Bay was devastated with injuries in the secondary in the first game. At one point, they were down to just four healthy safeties. Vita Vea might miss the start of the season with a knee injury, and he has been a big disappointment since being taken in the first round last season.
Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake and wide receiver DeVante Parker missed practice on Wednesday, so they’re presumably questionable for Friday’s game. Tackle Laremy Tunsil was limited on Wednesday and is also probably questionable. Receiver Albert Wilson practiced a couple of times this week and is on track and getting healthier. Kiko Alonso and Reshad Jones are still out and haven’t seen much field time this summer. Newly acquired Robert Nkemdiche hasn’t joined the team either as he is still battling his injury.
I think that the quarterback battle will bring out the best in both Rosen and Fitzpatrick, and lead the Fins to multiple scoring drives. Take Miami.