5 Instant Takeaways: Miami Dolphins 26, Tampa Bay Bucs 24

·4 min read

TAMPA — There were at least 50 players listed as not expected to play before Saturday night's Dolphins-Bucs game even kicked off.

The preseason opener lost a little bit of its luster because of two pretty intense joint practices here last week that coaches view as even more beneficial.

So, no, there was no Tua Tagovailoa, and Tom Brady wasn't even in the building. And there was no Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle or even Teddy Bridgewater.

The Dolphins beat the Bucs 26-24 in Mike McDaniel's first (sort of) game as an NFL head coach. Some good. Some bad. The result doesn't matter.

But it's worth taking a look at some things that might end up mattering. Here are five takeaways:

Skylar Thompson looks composed

Thompson has had a good training camp and the seventh-rounder from Kansas State appears to be a worthwhile developmental project.

Thompson has decent mobility and a strong arm.

On Saturday night, Thompson double-pumped and hit Lynn Bowden after a double-move for a 22-yard touchdown.

Thompson also connected with veteran Trent Sherfield for a 33-yard pass in the first half. Then he connected with Mike Gesicki for 13 yards, Cedrick Wilson for 15 and 11 yards and Tanner Conner for 13 yards.

It would be very surprising if Miami did not have Thompson on its practice squad. Is there any scenario in which the Dolphins would be forced to keep him on their roster?

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Offensive tackle depth a concern

In the first quarter, left tackle Larnel Coleman, starting for Pro Bowler Terron Armstead, was involved in a sack of Thompson.

In the second quarter, left tackle Kion Smith, entering the game for Coleman, was involved in another sack of Thompson.

It's always possible that guards Liam Eichenberg or Robert Hunt could move to tackle in a pinch, for Austin Jackson or Armstead.

But it would be more ideal if a tackle — any tackle — were to step up into the third tackle role. Greg Little didn't play on this night. He's another option.

Mike Gesicki, oddly, plays first quarter

When the Dolphins listed 21 players not expected to play against the Bucs, the most obvious omission to the list was tight end Mike Gesicki.

Gesicki is playing on the franchise tag and so obviously the team values his contributions. Perhaps Miami felt a few reps in a new offense might help, but it was a bit odd that he suited up and played.

Gesicki was targeted early after not being targeted much, in general, this summer.

Among the other key players who saw action: Liam Eichenberg, Robert Hunt, Austin Jackson, Durham Smythe, Cedrick Wilson, Raekwon Davis, Jaelan Phillips, Andrew Van Ginkel and Nik Needham.

Among the key players who were held out: Tua Tagovailoa, Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jerome Baker and Xavien Howard.

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel looks on from the sideline at Raymond James Stadium during Saturday night's preseason opener against the Bucs.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel looks on from the sideline at Raymond James Stadium during Saturday night's preseason opener against the Bucs.

Noah Igbinoghene allows TD

Igbinoghene has not lived up to his first-round status. On Saturday night, Igbinoghene was the closest player to a 23-yard yard touchdown catch by Jaelon Darden from Blaine Gabbert.

Igbinoghene has mentioned that Miami's defensive backs coaches want him to play tighter, but on this play, it appeared he may have been too loose.

After two joint practices against the Bucs in which he was beaten a few times, Igbinoghene needs to capitalize on his opportunities quickly.

Cornerback Keion Crossen, who has made some nice plays in camp, including last week, had a breakup of a long pass attempt.

Crossen broke up an attempt to Scotty Miller in which he used his hands in an aggressive manner reminiscent of the way Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain once did.

Igbinoghene is going to have to play better to stay ahead of Crossen.

Another young cornerback who has been impressive at times, Trill Williams, left the game with an apparent left knee injury with only a few minutes to play.

This & That

Sony Michel started at running back for the Dolphins, who had only three rushing yards in the first half. ... Lynn Bowden, a potential trade target for another NFL team, took advantage of an opportunity on Saturday, using his speed and shiftiness to get open. ... Edge rusher Darius Hodge had a sack to force a fumble that was run in by Sam Eguavoen. Hodge, a second-year player from Marshall, is an intriguing prospect to watch. On the sack, he powered past tackle Brandon Walton and knocked the ball out of Kyle Trask's hands. ... Eguavoen had a few tough plays in the first half before he scored the touchdown to give Miami a 20-14 lead just before halftime. ... DeVonte Dedmon fumbled a kickoff return in the third quarter, which won't help his cause. ... Jason Sanders seems to be back on track, making all three of his field goals from 32, 52 and 53 yards.

Joe Schad is a journalist at The Palm Beach Post part of the USA Today Florida Network. You can reach him at jschad@pbpost.comHelp support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Bucs in preseason opener game takeaways