Well, that was one way to spend a Saturday night. The Miami Dolphins had far from their best stuff against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Preseason Game 3, which made picking Dolphins winners and losers a challenge.
But we’re pros here at PFN. So let’s get to it.
Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Winners and Losers
Winner | Eli Apple and Isaiah Wynn
A two-fer leads off our winners and losers, because while neither Eli Apple nor Isaiah Wynn did anything particularly spectacular, they made news nonetheless.
They started Saturday, and barring a shocking reversal, will start again when the Dolphins open the season against the Chargers in two weeks.
Wynn appears to have won the left guard battle, beating out Liam Eichenberg and Lester Cotton. As for Apple, it was the expected (inevitable?) since the moment he signed with Miami late last month.
His competition for the job — Noah Igbinoghene and Cam Smith — basically disqualified themselves from consideration Saturday. Both gave up big plays, but Smith was particularly bad.
The rookie was roasted by Tim Jones on a double move early in the third quarter, resulting in a 74-yard touchdown completion.
Cam Smith absolutely abused. Woof. pic.twitter.com/rdGIQzaSYe
— Daniel (@DanielEliesen) August 27, 2023
Loser | Vic Fangio’s Defense
It’s OK to be at least a little bit concerned about how the first-team defense has looked this preseason, right?
If not for two huge goal-line stops — including a forced fumble/fumble recovery by Jevon Holland Saturday — the Dolphins’ defense would be a far bigger story.
On a down-in, down-out basis, the starters were consistently moved backwards in their two exhibition games. Saturday night, the ones gave up 186 yards in their two series, with the Jaguars running through the teeth of a defense without Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler.
Most alarming: The much-hyped pass rush has been all but nonexistent. Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips combined for a few pressures Saturday, but the next sack by a Dolphins starter will be their first.
Justin Herbert looms.
Winner | Mike White
How bad were things for the Miami Dolphins Saturday night?
Mike White almost assuredly locked down the QB2 job — with a concussion.
White didn’t play against the Jaguars after suffering a head injury the previous week. And yet he was still the best backup quarterback for Miami Saturday night.
Skylar Thompson undid all the good from the previous week, when he threw three touchdowns in a Dolphins romp.
On Saturday, he chucked up two bad interceptions in his first three passes, and again raised the very real possibility that the Dolphins cut him ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) August 27, 2023
Loser | Dolphins’ Safety Depth
You hate, hate, hate, hate to see this happen:
Elijah Campbell, who was having a spectacular training camp, went down with what appeared to be a left knee injury in the second quarter.
Campbell couldn’t put any weight on the leg on his way off the field and needed help from not one but two members of the Dolphins’ staff just to get to the sidelines.
If Campbell’s injury is serious — and it would be a welcome surprise if it’s not — that complicates an already complicated secondary situation. That injury comes on the heels of a significant knee injury suffered by Jalen Ramsey. Brandon Jones hasn’t played all preseason as he recovers from a 2022 ACL tear.
Verone McKinley III is very likely to make the 53 now, and Trill Williams has an outside shot too.
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