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Dolphins QB Jay Cutler shows flashes in brief debut

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins unveiled their new starting quarterback for the 2017 season Thursday. Jay Cutler's appearance was brief, but the 12-year veteran was able to show what he can do.

In two series of work during Miami’s 31-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Cutler had a couple of impressive throws. He connected with receiver DeVante Parker on a 16-yard timing route for a first down. They teamed up again on a 20-plus-yard gain that was called back due to a holding penalty, with Cutler showing good pocket presence to extend the play.

Overall, Cutler was 3-of-6 passing for 24 yards. Both of his drives resulted in punts.

“He was good,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said at halftime. “We kind of got the tempo going and got comfortable. He had a couple really nice moves in the pocket, pushing up and making a couple guys miss. We had penalties on the play, so it was negated. But he felt good. He took a hit there on the screen. He's having fun."

QB depth chart: It was a short night for Miami’s top two quarterbacks. Cutler and Matt Moore both played two series; Moore was 3-of-5 passing for 11 yards. The real competition is for Miami’s No. 3 quarterback job between David Fales and Brandon Doughty. Neither quarterback did much to stand out.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Dolphins looked ... average. Miami’s first-team defense played well against the Ravens, who didn’t have starting quarterback Joe Flacco due to injury. The Dolphins held Baltimore’s Ryan Mallett-led offense scoreless in the first quarter, which included a fourth-down stop and interception by cornerback Xavien Howard. However, the Dolphins’ first-team offense failed to capitalize and put points on the board. Cutler had a few highlight throws, but too many penalties kept Miami from moving the ball.

One reason to be concerned: The Dolphins’ starting offensive line and key reserves had their worst performance of the preseason. There were three holding calls on the first two drives, and shaky pass blocking meant Cutler and Moore took one hard hit apiece in limited playing time. Miami’s offensive line also struggled in training camp.

That guy could start: One week ago rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan went down with a season-ending knee injury, which led to questions about who would fill in. Third-year veteran Mike Hull made a strong case with five tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass defensed. Hull stayed around the football and looked the part as a starter with the first-team defense.

Rookie watch: Dolphins first-round pick Charles Harris came to Miami with a reputation as a seasoned pass-rusher. But Harris still has work to do against the run, and that showed in the second preseason game. Harris failed to set the edge on at least two long runs by Baltimore in the first half. One play was called back due to a holding call. But these will be teaching moments on film that coaches can work on with Harris.

Ajayi gets work: Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi saw his first action of the preseason following his release from concussion protocol on Tuesday. Ajayi ran for minus-2 yards on two carries and caught one pass for 11 yards. But Ajayi’s best play was a long draw on third down that was called back due to a holding call.

Maxwell active: Dolphins No. 1 cornerback Byron Maxwell isn’t known for his tackling, but he had two strong plays Thursday that nearly forced turnovers. Maxwell had two swipes that jarred the ball loose from Baltimore receiver Mike Wallace and running back Terrance West. However, the Ravens recovered both fumbles.