The Dolphins play their first preseason game tonight in Atlanta, and it's time for guidance more than conclusions about this team. Here are five question looking for answers:
1. Does the offensive line look functional? The interior of the line will face Paul Soliai, who as every Dolphin knows can batter guards or a center. The tackles will face defensive ends Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Babineaux, who aren’t household names. Is it too much to ask Ryan Tannehill stays upright in the limited time he’ll be in there?
2. Is Lamar Miller improved from last year? Miller was a below-average back his first couple of seasons, and convention thinking says what you see is often what you get in a running back. The Dolphins think Miller has improved. He has had flashes in training camp. With Knowshown Moreno surely sitting out after just returning to practice this week from arthoscopic knee surgery, this will be a chance to see Miller.
3. Are the linebackers adjusting to their new positions? Atlanta does have an offense capable of putting up points. That will be diminished this first look with running back Stephen Jackson out. Still, this will be the first, limited look at the question on the Dolphins defense of whether this shuffling of linebackers into new positions helps much. The most watched one will be Koa Misi in the middle linebacker spot after years playing outside.
4. Can the 2013 draft class step forward? It was invisible for the most part last year. And Dion Jordan, who has shown flashes of great talent in training camp, will miss the first four games with a performance-enhancing drug suspension. But cornerberbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis have been healthy from the start this year and this will be the start of evaluating just where they are. Jelani Jenkins is expected to take a bigger role. Can running back Mike Gillislee make the team?
5. Which young pup will bite? You want to walk away from this game intrigued by a young player. In training camp, receiver Jarvis Landry is getting the most notice while linebackers Jordan Tripp and Terrence Fede also have had moments. This is the type of game a young player should shine.