Preseason Game 2: Five Players to Watch

The Dolphins will be looking for a much better overall performance Friday night when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars in their second preseason game. The game comes five days after Miami dropped a 24-20 decision against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game.

The Dolphins were deficient in several areas in that game, namely in the areas of tackling, protecting the quarterback and protecting the ball on offense.

Several high-profile players sat out the game against Dallas, but most of those players should see at least some action against Jacksonville. The list of players expected to make their preseason debut Friday night includes wide receivers Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace, kick returner/running back/wide receiver Marcus Thigpen, defensive tackle Jared Odrick and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

Those guys, however, are proven commodities and only need the preseason to stay sharp for the start of the regular season.

Other players need the preseason to fine-tune their game or prove they deserve a roster spot.

With that in mind, here are the five guys to watch in preseason Game 2:

1. WR Marvin McNutt — McNutt got the start opposite Brandon Gibson against Dallas when the Dolphins kept Hartline and Wallace out of action, but he didn't catch a pass against the Cowboys despite being targeted twice. McNutt appeared to have the lead in the race for the fourth receiver spot after Armon Binns and Rishard Matthews were sidelined, but he has recently lost ground to undrafted rookie Chad Bumphis and former college teammate Keenan Davis. McNutt needs a rebound performance.

2. G/T Dallas Thomas — For all the talk of Jonathan Martin struggling against Dallas, it was more troubling to see Thomas get beaten on a couple of occasions after replacing Martin at left tackle. Thomas spent time working at right tackle at practice this week. Wherever he lines up against Jacksonville, Thomas needs to start showing in games he's someone who could be trusted in a regular season if called upon.

3. K Caleb Sturgis — The rookie from the University of Florida made our list before the Dallas game, too, but wound up watching Dan Carpenter handle the kicking chores. Whether that was because the coaching staff deemed him not quite ready after his groin injury or because of a simple choice to give the veteran first shot in a preseason game is unknown, but regardless Sturgis watched Carpenter have a good night. We strongly expect Sturgis to do the kicking against Jacksonville, and he needs to respond with a strong performance of his own.

4. G Josh Samuda — Samuda has taken advantage of the injury to John Jerry and the recovery of newcomer Lance Louis from a torn ACL sustained last November to earn playing time with the first-team offensive line. If one goes by Coach Joe Philbin's words on Wednesday, the Dolphins are very high on what Samuda has been doing. At this point, it's not farfetched he's put himself in position to get the starting nod come opening day. What he needs is to continue to perform when he gets opportunities, such as Friday night against Jacksonville.

5. CB Will Davis — The third-round pick from Utah State continues to be a start in practice, and he could put himself in line for a lot of early playing time in the regular season if he can translate that playmaking ability to preseason games. Davis didn't do that against Dallas; instead, the one play for which he gained attention was a pass interference near the end zone when he failed to turn around on a fade pattern. Davis clearly has a ton of natural ability; as soon as he shows a command of the technical finer points, he'll be a factor on defense.

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