All eyes will be on quarterback Jay Cutler as he makes his Dolphins debut in tonight’s preseason game against the Ravens. Miami’s got a lot more going on besides that, though.
The Dolphins are moving into the segment of the preseason where the depth chart begins to solidify, and most teams try to have their starting 22 in place for the third preseason game, which is next week in Philadelphia.
With that in mind, here are five players to watch closely tonight:
WR Leonte Carroo
Many unproven players talk about making changes in the offseason, but Carroo is backing it up. He’s looked excellent in training camp practices and had a nice 33-yard touchdown catch against the Falcons. Carroo is pressing for a role in the offense and he needs to keep his momentum going.
DT Davon Godchaux
This name didn’t come up in many conversations about which Dolphins rookie would be the first to earn a starting job. Godchaux’s at the front of the line now. It didn’t take long for him to supplant Jordan Phillips as a first-string defensive tackle, and now it’s his job to lose. He’s one strong week away from cementing himself for opening day.
TE Julius Thomas
The high hopes of Julius Thomas turning his career around have tapered off slightly over the past few weeks. There hasn’t been much evidence of that yet in training camp, and now he’s dealing with a back issue. This is a particularly important night for him with Cutler stepping into the starting job.
CB Alterraun Verner
The Dolphins think they stole one here. Verner was a castoff by Tampa Bay and went unsigned deep into the summer before Miami scooped him up. He’s looked more than viable thus far. “For him to just jump in here and start competing the way he’s competed has been very impressive,” coach Adam Gase said. “I guess I didn’t really know how good outside he was until I had really seen him out here. He really has impressed me.”
LB Mike Hull
Meet the Dolphins’ new starting linebacker. He’s 6-foot, 232 pounds (the team’s smallest at his position), he went undrafted a year ago and his nickname is Scrap. Hull began earning this opportunity last year, when he impressed the coaching staff enough to get a start late in the season. He’s in position to secure an opening day spot if he keeps playing well.
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