DAVIE, Fla. -- One NFL game is in the books, and in two days the Miami Dolphins and the rest of the league will take the field. Miami must get off to a fast start this season and will play a Week 1 road game against the Washington Redskins.
The Dolphins will rely on several key rookies to prevail against Washington. Here is a preview:
Analysis: Miami’s first-round pick missed most of training and three games of the preseason following June foot surgery. However, Parker played nine snaps in the preseason final and is looking to build off that in the regular season. Parker is doing well in practice this week, but he probably won’t play a ton of reps. The Dolphins are deep at receiver and don’t necessarily need Parker to push through right away. But a catch or two from Parker to move the chains could certainly help Miami’s offense and provide something else for Parker to build on going forward.
Analysis: A rookie the Dolphins definitely need to perform well and play a lot of reps is Douglas. Miami’s fourth-round pick beat out Billy Turner for the right-guard position and will start in Week 1. Douglas, like all of Miami’s guards, was inconsistent in training camp going against Ndamukong Suh and the Dolphins’ defensive line. However, the team believes Douglas and the rest of the offensive line will do better against opponents like Washington, which do not have the same level of talent on its front four. Douglas must come of age fast, especially playing on the road where noise will be an issue.
Analysis: Franks beat out Caleb Sturgis in the preseason. Sturgis led Miami in scoring the past two years but missed 16 field goals over that span. Franks has been steady in the preseason, but you never know how a rookie kicker will perform when the pressure of the regular season kicks in. Miami plays seven of its first nine games on the road. Some of these games will be close, and the Dolphins can’t lose them in the kicking game.
4. Matt Darr
Analysis: Darr, an undrafted rookie, beating out former Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields was one of the surprises of training camp. Darr impressed with plenty of good punts in the preseason, and considering the difference in money, the Dolphins made the move to also go with a rookie punter. The 2000 Oakland Raiders were the last team to make the playoffs with a rookie punter and rookie kicker in the same season. The Dolphins will try to be the first team in 15 years to do it.