2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk2 Game Analysis: Dolphins 37, Falcons 17 (By Ross Jacobs)
The Dolphins are probably feeling pretty good right now. They just came in and spanked the Falcons up and down the field. They ran the ball at will through massive holes. Tua completed nearly every pass with ease. The defense looked fantastic and held the Falcons to 7 total completions. They're going to the Superbowl!
That's how the Dolphins feel right now. In a couple weeks when the regular season starts and they are playing against actual starting caliber football players reality is going to hit and the Dolphins are going to be wondering what the heck happened. It's hard to take anything away from this game because the Dolphins ran their starters for the entire first half and their starting offensive line stayed in until well into the 3rd.
The Falcons meanwhile didn't have a single starting player in this game that I saw. Not a single one. They began the game with their 2nd and 3rd string guys in and it showed. The Dolphins have absolutely nothing to be proud of for whacking the Falcons dregs. Anyone that thinks this game is a sign of things to come is off their rocker. Because of the nature of the game my notes are more about the depth charts, who came into the game and when. It was basically impossible to get a feel for any of the young players when the two sides were so unevenly matched.
The Dolphins looked like champs and the Falcons looked like scrubs, but I'll bet you a dime to a dollar that the Dolphins crash and burn the next couple of years while the Falcons rise up into a respected team. I like what Arthur Smith is doing here so far. He was smart enough to use this meaningless preseason game to get all his backup guys lots of reps while stupid-ass Brian Flores didn't do his team any favors by playing all his starters late into the game. Beating up another team's backups isn't helping your guys get better. It was a wasted opportunity by Flores and just one more reason why I think this team is headed down the toilet. Smith on the other hand is taking a long term view and seeing what he's got down the roster. That is absolutely how teams should be using the preseason but very few do. Props to Arthur Smith. I'm a little surprised but he's quickly becoming one of my favorite coaches.
--Falcons RB rotation
RC's boy Qadree Ollison (7-21-0) got the start, and I have to say...he looks much quicker than I remember him. It was only a handful of carries and he's clearly behind Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson in the pecking order, but I could see him ultimately taking over this backfield later in the year. It's obvious that Arthur Smith wants to recreate the power run game he had in Tennessee and Ollison is the best guy for that job.
After Ollison left the game rookie Caleb Huntley (6-57-1) was next in the game. He looked ok enough, just a straight ahead power back. He had one big run late in the game after the Dolphins finally brought their backups in and quit paying attention to the game. He was untouched the entire way to the endzone. Not bad overall but I wouldn't want him as my lead back yet.
Coming in behind Huntley were recently signed D'Onta Foreman, who Arthur Smith is familiar with from Tennessee, and then rookie Javian Hawkins (5-46-0). Foreman looked pedestrian and not at all like the guy that was doing a decent Derrick Henry impression the last couple years.
Hawkins immediately provided a spark for a Falcons offense that had struggled to do anything all game. I pitched RC on the idea that Hawkins could be a sneaky option in this offense, but that idea is clearly dead. Smith wants a power running game and the diminutive Hawkins has no place in that despite the fact that he was the most explosive back in this game. And even though he ripped off a couple of nice runs I think RC's assessment of Hawkins is correct and he just doesn't have enough long speed to be a starter. Nice backup but not a main guy. Both guys are buried in this offense and unlikely to make the final cut.
--Dolphins RB rotation
Malcolm Brown (10-43-1) might have started last week but he didn't come in until third this week behind Myles Gaskin (6-27-1, 4-44-1/4) and Salvon Ahmed (2-6-0, 2-19-0/4). To me it seems like the Dolphins may go with a rotation of Brown and Gaskin on early downs and Gaskin and Ahmed on 3rd down. I still think it will ultimately be Gaskin that leads the team in RB touches, but I don't think he's going to do much with them. The Dolphins offensive line was blowing Atlanta's backups off the ball and you see how average the RB numbers are. After watching the game I would have sworn that Gaskin averaged over 5 yards a carry but no, he still only managed 4.5 against a completely overmatched defense. He'll get decent numbers in ppr just from the volume of dump-offs he's going to get from Tua though.
After those three backs left the game Patrick Laird (1-2-0) and rookie Gerrid Doaks (7-30-0, 1-8-0/1) rotated in for a bit. Neither guy looked like they could crack the top three.
Tua Tagovailoa (16-23 for 183 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 1-8-0) is the new Patrick Mahomes! At least you'd think that from listening to the home announcers. Actually this was the easiest situation he's ever going to be in and he still looked just barely average against a totally overmatched defense. He had absolutely all day to throw and was still having to do a huge wind-up and throw the ball as hard as he could just to get it 20 yards downfield. The entire offense this year is going to be just like last year. Runs to Gaskin/Brown, short dump passes to Gesicki and the RB's, and WR screens. The only passes he can complete are under 10 yards. This is going to end very, very badly, mark my words.
Did the Dolphins uncover a superstar in LB Sam Eguavoen (11 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 safety)? No. Eguavoen was running with the 1st team defense against Atlanta's backups and bottom of the roster guys. He didn't do anything special, just right place at the right time and Feleipe Franks holding the ball too long.
Speaking of Feleipe Franks (4-9 for 36 yards, 0 TD/1 INT, 3-32-0), he wasn't that bad here considering the circumstances. He's got some raw tools to work with. Still think maybe someone can develop him into a decent backup.
Atlanta's highly touted rookie safety Richie Grant (1 tackle, 1 pd) was in to start the game which means he's buried for now. They had him playing deep center field and since Tua was the opposing QB he never got a chance to really show anything as the Dolphins just ran and threw dump offs all night. If he's playing more free safety than strong, that's not good news for his IDP numbers in the future.
Jaylen Waddle (3-21-0/4) was in the game early taking a screen pass and jet sweep and he looked like every other fast guy in the NFL. If Jakeem Grant had taken those same touches you wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. Shortly after Waddle came staggering off the field clearly injured and was taken off the field. He returned a little bit later, but we're probably going to be seeing a lot of that with Waddle throughout his career as he has a history of injuries going back to college. Totally wasted pick by the Dolphins.
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