The Dolphins come into this game needing to get things going in the run game. In fact, they’ve only managed to convert a total of six – let that sink in – six rushing first downs over the span of two preseason games.
Most of the Dolphins’ struggles stem from the lackluster play of their offensive line, particularly second year guard Dallas Thomas. In fact, in their last game, Thomas gave up three pressures and was flagged for two penalties.
One bright spot for the Dolphins, however, has been cornerback Will Davis, who is developing into one of the league’s better defensive backs. In the Dolphins’ matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davis allowed a total of four yards on three targets and deflected one pass. He is Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded cornerback with a +3.5 overall grade.
The Cowboys come into this game having seen what their starting offense might be capable of in 2014. Quarterback Tony Romo looked for standout wide receiver Dez Bryant early and often, connecting on three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. DeMarco Murray also looked good running behind what might be, one of the best offensive lines that the Cowboys have fielded in a very long time.
The Cowboys’ defense, however, well, that’s another story; if the Cowboys are going to take that next step on defense, guys like Bruce Carter have to step their game up. PFF currently has Carter graded at -12.5 against the run, good enough for third worst among outside linebackers.
With Rolando McClain’s emergence at middle linebacker, it wouldn’t surprise me if Justin Durant were the starter at Will-LB permanently.