After four preseason games, this is old hat for the Miami Dolphins. After a defensive struggle and issues with special teams, the Fins welcome the New Orleans Saints to town.
If the high-powered offense led by Drew Brees had to make an appearance in South Beach, maybe this was the best time to do it.
You figure the major players in the Saints' offense won’t see much time on the field, being protected from injury. Most of the opposing roster positions are filled - so this is more of a formality for the NFC South foe.
The same might not be said for the Dolphins, who at 1-3 this preseason, still have questions to answer and depth to find at several positions. There is work still to be done by head coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland.
The Dolphins are expected to be a better team, but the process may be slower than expected. The team must find a way to be better on offense and special teams. The defense needs to continue to be a dominant fixture. And again, special teams had better improve.
Here are some things to look for Thursday night against the Saints…
How will the team handle first round pick Dion Jordan, whose role has been limited in the preseason? Can the defensive end come in Week 1 and contribute right away?
Can Caleb Sturgis be the safety valve for this team is the offense sputters? Does the rookie provide the team enough insurance to be an automatic source of points?
Hands of Clay
How do the younger, more inexperienced tight ends gel with Ryan Tannehill? Charles Clay started last week versus the Buccaneers. Does this mean he will see extended time this week?
Playing too long? Playing too short?
Will the starters play much? Will Tannehill and Mike Wallace have more time on the field to work on passing routes?
Making a lasting impression
How will fringe players step up on offense and secure a roster spot?