MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sun Life Stadium Saturday night.
The game can be seen exclusively on CBS4 at 7:30 p.m. Pregame at 7:00 p.m.
The team hopes to come out victorious in the preseason game following a 24 to 17 loss to the Houston Texans, August 17.
For some of the players, a lot rides on the next two games.
It was a bit of a bumpy week for the Buccaneers as reports revealed two players were treated for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and neither the team nor the players know where they contracted the disease, according to a report from FoxSports.com.
The two players, Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes, have both been out for much of the preseason and both have been said to be dealing with injuries to their feet, according to an ESPN.com report.
According to the FoxSports report, the team has had their facility scrubbed and will have it cleaned again this weekend. Other players have been issued a special soap to use, according to the report.
According to FoxSports, the MRSA outbreak was found while the Bucs were scrimmaging with the New England Patriots last week. Players and coaches learned about the infection on Monday.
MRSA is resistant to some antibiotics making the treatment of the infections tougher. Complicating the problem for teams is that the disease is spread through having contact with the skin infection or personal items used by someone infected like schools and locker rooms.
In addition, some people can get MRSA and become a carrier without ever suffering symptoms of the disease.
FoxSports reported the NFL has had to deal with the problem before, specifically between 2002 and 2006 when 33 players were hit with the sometimes debilitating disease. The Cleveland Browns were hit especially hard with six players suffering MRSA infections including former UM star Kellen Winslow, Jr.
As for the Dolphins, many players will get their final two shots to make the 2013-2014 roster against the Buccaneers and next week against the New Orleans Saints. The final 53 man roster must be submitted in the days following next Thursday’s final preseason game.
Some of the players who are firmly on the bubble with just two preseason games left include: running back Jonas Gray; tight end Michael Egnew; wide receiver Brian Tyms; and safety Jordan Kovacs.
Gray is a player the Dolphins liked enough to sign to a contract as a rookie free agent, knowing that Gray wouldn’t be able to play for the team last year. The last full season Gray played was in 2011 when he was a senior at Notre Dame, when he ran for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaged 6.9 yards a carry.
Gray tore his anterior cruciate ligament late in his senior year, which is why he was available as a rookie free agent.
The former Fighting Irish runner is referred to as a “bowling ball” by teammates because of his size 5’9”, 225 pounds. He’s played well in the preseason, but has several players in front of him on the roster including: Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and rookie Mike Gillislee out of Florida.
The Dolphins also will likely keep Marcus Thigpen on the roster for kickoff return duties. So for Gray, he has to hope the Fins will keep five running backs on the roster and maybe lose a fullback or two.
Egnew’s place on the bubble became a lot less tenuous after Dustin Keller was lost for the year to a horrific knee injury against the Houston Texans. Egnew is an enigma that no one has been able to figure out.
In college at Missouri, Egnew was a stellar pass-catching tight end. Egnew caught more than 140 passes for more than 1,332 yards at Mizzou, and was a third-round pick by the Dolphins. Miami hoped he could recreate his pass catching prowess and learn how to block.
That didn’t happen in the first season with the team as even offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said at one point in the 2012 training camp that he would cut him if he could.
Egnew stuck it out and is listed at 6’5”, 255 pounds and still runs the 40-yard dash around 4.52 seconds. But, Egnew also spent most of the offseason learning to block, which he never did at Mizzou. His hard work has paid off as the coaches have said he’s had a strong training camp.
Egnew will likely make the team as either the second or third tight end on the roster along with Dion Sims and Charles Clay.
Tyms spent most of last year on the practice squad after playing his college ball at Florida A&M University. The second-year player is from Fort Lauderdale and making the Fins roster would be a dream come true.
He too faces a stacked depth chart in front of him. The Dolphins have the starters at wide receiver in place with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson. Marvin McNutt seems to have an inside track on one of the remaining positions, but the fifth wide receiver job is wide open.
Tyms is battling Julius Pruitt, Jeff Fuller, Keenan Davis, and Chad Bumphis for the fifth receiver job. Tyms’ production in the fourth and fifth preseason game will likely determine whether the Dolphins keep him on the active roster or try to stash him again on the practice squad.
Kovacs is a little undersized for a safety, standing 5’10” and weighing 205 pounds. The rookie out of Michigan played all four years at Michigan and had a total of 334 tackles along with 7 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.
Kovacs has kept up his physical play in camp and will have to beat out Kelcie McCray and Keelan Johnson to secure a roster spot as a top backup to starters Reshad Jones and Jimmy Wilson. Still, besides Egnew, Kovacs may have the easiest path to the 53 man roster of several bubble players.