(Image credit: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today)
By: Jett Rosenstein
The Miami Dolphins continued their preseason slate with a home game against the Atlanta Falcons. It was a lopsided affair for the majority of the game. It was 30-3 in favor of the Dolphins after the 3rd quarter. In the end, the Fins won the game 37-17. The Dolphins outgained the Falcons in total yards (422-253), time of possession (36:42-23:18), and first downs (28-16). While we are still in the midst of the preseason, roster spots still need to be earned and game plans need to be sharpened. I will recap the standouts from the Dolphins in their clash with the Falcons.
1. QB Tua Tagovailoa
Tua seems to be locked in heading into the 2021 season. After having a decent game in week 1 against the Bears, Tua put on a show against the Falcons. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 183 yards and a TD. A 107.7 passer rating. Besides Tua putting up the numbers, his mechanics and footwork looked fundamentally sound. He was evading pressure, making quick decisions, and had a knack for knowing how the defense was about to attack him. While this was still a preseason game, it is a positive development in Tua’s quest to lead this Dolphins team going forward. Tua is a man on a mission and his confidence seems to be growing. In 2021, I believe he will put it all together and put the doubters to rest.
2. LB Sam Eguavoen
Here we have somewhat of an unfamiliar name that made some noise in this game. Sam Eguavoen, went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. He then spent parts of the next 3 seasons in the CFL. The Dolphins signed him in 2019. He has only started 7 of the team’s 32 games since then but has proven to be a very versatile option. Against the Falcons, he racked up 4 sacks, a team-leading 11 tackles, and a safety. His 4 sacks were the most by a Dolphin in a preseason game since Adewale Ogunleye. Egyavoen, who is on the bubble clearly played with a sense of urgency, and this performance may have solidified his spot on the Dolphins’ active roster.
3. RB Myles Gaskin
When healthy, Myles Gaskin has been very productive for this Dolphins team. However, it remains to be seen whether Gaskin will be the team’s workhorse back. Malcolm Brown was signed in the offseason and Salvon Ahmed was productive in 2020. Coach Flores has said that he wants to use a committee approach so he can take advantage of each of his RB’s strengths. In this game against the Falcons, Gaskin got off to a fast start. He punched it in at the goal line in the first drive. He then followed it up with a REC TD in the 2nd drive. He finished the game with 27 yards on the ground and 44 through the air. Tua seems to look Gaskin’s way quite often and it is clear Gaskin is the best receiving back on this time. The University of Washington product looks to build on his 2020 campaign and stabilize this rushing attack.
4. LB Calvin Munson
Calvin Munson went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft but was shortly picked up by the New York Giants. He spent some time with the New England Patriots as well. In 2019, the Dolphins signed Munson off the Pats practice squad and has been with the team ever since. In 2020, he appeared in 16 games but didn’t have a huge impact on the defense. Therefore, he is currently on the bubble. But, his play in this game against the Falcons could help his case. He picked off Feleipe Franks in the 4th quarter. He almost ran it back for a TD. He added 2 total tackles to his stat line as well. Coach Flo has liked the competitiveness of this LB core, but like Eguavoen, it remains to be seen if Munson will be able to do enough to secure a roster spot.
5. WR Mack Hollins
After starting his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Mack Hollins has spent the better part of the last two years with the Dolphins. In 2020, he started 2 of the 16 games and had minimal production. He had 176 yards on 16 receptions to be exact. He struggled at times with drops, but so far in training camp, he has looked a lot better. Going into training camp, I felt he would be the odd man out, but it is looking more and more like he will earn a spot among the WRs. To go along with his performance, injuries have paved the way for him to get more opportunities. In this game against the Falcons, Hollins put together a performance of 4 catches for 49 yards, which led all Dolphins in receiving. He is now in a great position to earn one of the final spots at WR due to his play not only as a receiver but his performance on special teams as well.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Dolphins finish off their preseason schedule on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. It is still up in the air whether we will see the starters take the field, but for the guys like Munson and Eguavoen, this will be their last chance to prove they belong on the squad for this upcoming season.