Dolphins-Texans Preview: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Miami visits Houston for the third game of the preseason

By David Hill
|  Saturday, Aug 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:20 PM EDT
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The Miami Dolphins looked markedly better in their second preseason game, trouncing the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3. The Dolphins travel to Houston for a Saturday night game against the defending AFC South champions, who figure to put up a better fight than the Jags did.

Usually the third preseason game is treated as a dress rehearsal for the starting lineup, who often get three quarters of playing time before yielding to the second and third team. But since Miami has five preseason games this year, the dress rehearsal will not come until next week's game against Tampa Bay.

Though the Dolphins officially wrapped up training camp on Thursday, a number of position battles have yet to be settled, and the coaching staff will be looking to solidify the depth chart in after Saturday. Here are five things to watch for:

1. Will the starting offensive line show improvement? This is the biggest question mark on the team at the moment, as an injury to starting right guard John Jerry has thrown a wrench into the depth chart. Josh Samuda has been moved back to reserve center after a bad performance in Jacksonville, Lance Louis could start in his place.

2. Can the defense continue to force turnovers? The top priority on defense this year is increasing takeaways (Miami was 28th in the league with 16 last season). The Dolphins forced four turnovers against Jacksonville last week, but Houston gave up the sixth-fewest turnovers in 2012.

3. Can Evan Rodriguez convince the Dolphins to carry a fullback on the roster? Rodriguez catapulted himself above incumbent Javorski Lane on the depth chart this week, but it is no sure thing that the team will keep a fullback when final roster cuts are made. He will get a chance to prove himself to be indispensable on Saturday.

4. What will Antwan Applewhite do? Miami signed the melodiously-named defensive end this week. The six-year veteran can also play linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, and should get plenty of snaps once starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon are done for the night.

5. Will Mike Wallace do anything exciting? Dolphins fans are still waiting for the team's major offseason acquisition to make his first big play in a preseason game. Will the Dolphins script any deep passing plays to Wallace to calm the fan base?

Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET, with coverage on WFOR.

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