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The Miami Dolphins play their last game of the preseason tonight against the Dallas Cowboys. After their trip to Dallas, the team will make its final roster cuts and begin preparing for the season opener against the Houston Texans on September 9.
Though the final score never matters, the Dolphins will also look to avoid its first ever 0-4 preseason since 1989. What does matter are the potential roster moves the team could make after the game.
The Dolphins must trim the roster to 53 players by Friday, and the Miami Herald reported Tuesday that the Dolphins could acquire as many as 10 new players between Wednesday and September 9. "Nobody's job is safe at all," cornerback Nolan Carroll told the Herald.
The team's release of Chad Johnson and trade of Vontae Davis has frustrated a number of the team's veterans, according to the Herald. A source told the Herald to expect "crazy things" from the team in upcoming days.
Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill is sure to stick around, and he will get one more chance to iron out the kinks before making his regular season debut. He has completed 36 of 71 passes for 379 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in three preseason games.
Tannehill's so-so numbers reflect the offense's struggles as a whole in the preseason. Miami has averaged 5.1 yards per pass attempt in the preseason, better than only three teams. The receivers, tight ends, and offensive linemen were singled out by the Herald as areas most likely to see significant turnover this week.
QB Matt Moore could be another roster victim, since he is due a $2.5 million bonus if he is on the roster for Week 1. He has only completed 41% of his preseason passes, and the Dolphins might wish to use his salary cap space elsewhere on the roster, still having David Garrard on the team.
Miami's defense has been much better than the offense, giving up 22 points a game (8th in the NFL). Dallas will rest many key players, including potentially WRs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten, and QB Tony Romo. That means the defense will not get a final test against a first-team offense, but the defense is already expected to be the team's strength in 2012.
Miami and Dallas last played on Thanksgiving 2011. The Cowboys won that game 20-19. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.