More often than not, preseason statistics are completely meaningless. Coaches rarely reveal their game-plans, test out new and sometimes faulty plays, and most importantly, give rookies and fringe players a chance to solidify their roles or make the final roster. It’s no surprise then, that through two games, the NFL passing, rushing and receiving yards leaders are Stephen McGee, Stevan Ridley and Chastin West, respectively, while Michael Vick has thrown three interceptions en route to posting a 50.7 QB rating.
With that in mind, the Miami Dolphins have yet to officially name a starting quarterback, have two new running backs to integrate into the offense, and no less than three players vying for the fifth and likely final wide receiver spot. Â Let’s take a look at how the position battles have gone so far.
- After a poor preseason opener (4-of-8 passing for 77 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) against the Atlanta Falcons, Chad Henne looked better against the Carolina Panthers (who doesn’t?) in the second contest, completing 15-of-24 passes for 194 yards with no turnovers. His biggest problem so far has come with the deep ball, as he has continued to miss open receivers downfield.
- Even though Matt Moore outplayed Henne in the opener (11-of-18 passing for 123 yards and two TDs)Â Â and has posted a higher QB rating two games, Coach Tony Sparano has so far made it clear there is no competition for the starting quarterback job. Moore hasn’t played with the first-team offense in the preseason at all, indicating he will enter the season as the primary backup, barring a couple of disastrous outings from Henne.
- The battle for the third quarterback spot is shaping up to be epic: Â Pat Devlin is 0-of-2 with two sacks in clean-up duty, whileÂ Kevin O’Connell has moreÂ kneel-downsÂ (two) than pass attempts (0).
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- Playing one half, Reggie Bush had eight carries for 48 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards in his Dolphins debut on Friday. Early reports indicated the coaching staff planned to give Bush, who averaged only nine touches per game over the last two years with the New Orleans Saints, a heavy workload on offense without using him as a punt returner, and so far, the RB looked quicker and more exciting than any RB the Dolphins have had in years.
- Daniel Thomas has sported an unimpressive 3.6 yards per carry average, busting out just one run of 10 yards. Â Expected to be a power-back capable of breaking tackles and moving the pile, heÂ couldn’t get into the endzone on two carries insideÂ the five-yard line early against the Panthers (Lex Hilliard scored on the next play). Â Thomas did have a four-yard TD run in the second quarter, and while he’ll need time to get used to the NFL, his workload should increase as the season progresses.
- Hilliard all but solidified his hold on the number three RB job after scoring at the goal line, whileÂ Kory Sheets managed only 43 yards on a team-high 17 carries against second-stringers.
- The Dolphins released Sheets on Tuesday and unexpectedly signed veteran Larry Johnson, who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since Week 2 of last season with the Washington Redskins. Johnson had five carries for two yards in 2010 and a terrible 3.2 YPC in 2009;Â at age 31, he makes little sense for Miami.
- Undrafted rookie Nic Grigsby hasn’t done much (2.1 YPC) to suggest he’s in the team’s immediate future.