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The Miami Dolphins will try to improve on their lackluster preseason debut when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night. After falling to Dallas 24-20 and looking particularly lost on offense for much of the game, the Dolphins will try to put things together against a Jaguars team that went 2-14 last season.
The starters played less than a quarter against Dallas, but head coach Joe Philbin hinted earlier this week that they should get a little more action against Jacksonville.
Miami has plenty issues to address at this point in the presason. "There's nothing we don't need work on," head coach Joe Philbin said earlier this week. "That's not uncommon this time of year. I'm not panicked about it. But I'm concerned about every single thing."
Here are a few story lines to keep an eye on when Miami faces Jacksonville:
1. How will Mike Wallace play? Wallace missed Sunday's game against Dallas while nursing a groin injury, but has been back at it in practice. He caught his first long touchdown pass of training camp on Wednesday, and the Dolphins would like long connections between Wallace and QB Ryan Tannehill to become a regular thing.
"Finally got one," Wallace said Wednesday. "It's just the start. I plan on catching a lot of those. It's just a matter of time. Be patient. It's going to happen." Fellow WR Brian Hartline should also make an appearance Friday after missing Sunday's game.
2. Can Josh Samuda retain his lock on the starting right guard slot? The second-year lineman out of UMass has impressed coaches, but this week Philbin said of the competition at right guard, "We really aren't settled on anything there really at all."
3. Can Miami tackle better than they did against Dallas? It's the most important thing defensive players do, and the Dolphins were not great at it on Sunday. Still, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said this week, "It's not atypical of a lot of preseason games that I've been involved in for many, many years."
4. Can Derrick Shelby keep up his strong performance? The second-year defensive end had a sack against Dallas and is drawing raves from the coaching staff. He will probably not catapult himself in front of Olivier Vernon or Dion Jordan for the second starting spot opposite Cameron Wake, but could find himself on the field a lot more this season if he continues to excel.
5. Can Dmitri Patterson or Richard Marshall establish himself as the #2 cornerback? Patterson returned a Ryan Tannehill interception for a touchdown in practice this weekend, while Marshall defended a deep pass nicely in the same practice. Cornerback was a weak link on the Dolphins defense last season.
Kickoff is at 7:30pm, with coverage on WFOR.