Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game between the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys kicked off the NFL preseason. The Dolphins fell, 24-20, in what was, unsurprisingly, a sloppy affair given the long layoffs both teams have had since their last games. Kevin Nogle at the Dolphins blog The Phinsider singled out tackling as the most disappointing aspect of the game for Dolphins fans in his immediate reaction to the loss.
The number one thing Miami needs to fix this week is their tackling. It was bad. No, it was worse than bad. Pitiful? Maybe that's the best word. Guys left, right, and center, starters and reserves, just let Cowboys ball carriers run right through weak arm tackles. Kevin Coyle, Miami's defensive coordinator, needs to spend this week running tackling drills, because that was embarrassing.
There were several positives, however, most notably the pass rushers. Though rookie Dion Jordan did not record a sack on the night, he may have been the team's most impressive player, providing constant pressure on the Cowboys' quarterback along with Derrick Shelby.
Jordan also dropped into coverage and played linebacker during the game. Jordan demonstrated that he is ready for full contact, getting in on a couple of tackles, and taking multiple hits. Shelby continued to show the flash that had him work his way onto the roster last year after being undrafted. Shelby started on the defensive line in place of Olivier Vernon and looked comfortable throughout the game.
The Dolphins clearly have some work to do, but lucky for them they still have four more preseason games to go. Sunday's exhibition won't count against the standard four games that teams are given during training camp. The Dolphins' next preseason opponent will be the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 9.