Miami Dolphins Snap Conclusions: Who played a lot, who didn’t


The Dolphins beat the Titans 27-20 on Sunday, in the longest game in NFL history. There were two lightning delays of about two hours each.

We can’t say how that affected who played how many snaps, but it’s always interesting to see who played a lot and who didn’t, especially after the first game.

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Here are some of our Snap Conclusions:

• TE A.J. Derby — 74 percent. At one point in the preseason it was worth wondering if Derby would even dress for the opener, when Miami had four tight ends, including MarQueis Gray. But Gray was lost for the season with a knee injury. And Derby is a more experienced and complete tight end than Miami’s two rookies. Mike Gesicki played 34 percent. Durham Smythe played 24 percent. Gesicki had 1 catch for 11 yards on 2 targets. Derby helped keep Ryan Tannehill relatively clean, but did not have a catch.

• RB Kenyan Drake — 74 percent. Though Drake and veteran Frank Gore both started the game, it seems quite obvious that Miami’s best chance to win this season is with the explosive Drake on the field as much as possible. Drake had 3 catches on 4 targets and also 14 carries for 48 yards. 

• CB Mikah Fitzpatrick — 64 percent. Fitzpatrick was all over the field as a nickel corner, including stopping a Titans touchdown with a fourth-down tackle. When Fitzpatrick wasn’t on the field, fellow rookie linebacker Jerome Baker was, for 43 percent of downs. It will be interesting to see if at some point those players are used more often together. But it appears the instinctive Fitzpatrick would flourish in any role.

• DE Charles Harris — 33 percent. Of the nine defensive linemen who dressed and played for Miami, only Vincent Taylor played a fewer percentage of snaps. With two long breaks, the impact of using so many defensive linemen was probably minimized a bit. But this just shows how crazy deep the Dolphins are on the line. Robert Quinn and Cam Wake led Dolphins defensive linemen at 59 and 52 percent, which is a nice sweet spot.

• LB Raekwon McMillan — 88 percent. The Dolphins trust McMillan. And in his first NFL start, he was not exposed, which is a good start. The Dolphins had McMillan on the field on third downs, as opposed to Baker, and as long as he shows he can handle the role, too, there’s really no reason to change it up. Kiko Alonso was one of four Dolphins defensive players to handle every snap. The others were Bobby McCain, T.J. McDonald and Xavien Howard.

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