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Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey
Raekwon McMillan’s return overshadowed but just as important for 2018 For the first time since a knee injury sidelined him during a game Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , the Miami Dolphins saw their signal caller run out of the tunnel and return to game action. While that happened on the offensive side of the ball with the return of quarterback Ryan Tannehill last night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it also happened on the defense with linebacker Raekwon McMillan getting his first game action since tearing his ACL on the opening kickoff of the first preseason game in 2017. The vast majority of the attention has been on getting Tannehill back, but McMillan’s return could be just as important for the Dolphins in 2018.“I was feeling thankful that I have the chance to play this sport again because in rehab, you just don’t [know] when it’s going to come,” McMillan said after the game. “It seemed like a long time, but it’s here.”The Dolphins were counting on the then-rookie to solidify the middle of the defense last year, giving them a rock around which to build the linebacker corps. Instead, they scrambled to find players to fill in while McMillan rehabbed alongside Tannehill. Now, McMillan, after a year of film work and team meetings, is back in the middle of the defense and he should immediately upgrade a unit that struggled against the run last year.Last week, at the team’s annual scrimmage, McMillan discussed what it felt like to return to Hard Rock Stadium and the team. He explained, “I’m just glad to be back. A year ago from today [August 4], I was named the starter. I was doing all this, doing all that. I had a big head but then I was humbled a week later. I’m just fortunate enough to be back in the same position and have a role with this defense.”His role with the defense will be a critical one for the team this year. The Dolphins will have two new starters, counting McMillan, at linebacker this season. In last night’s playoff game, Stephone Anthony started outside Kenny Stills Jersey , along with incumbent starter Kiko Alonso. Anthony did not have a great performance, appearing to get stuck on blocks and washed away from running plays too often. Meanwhile, McMillan’s college teammate Jerome Baker, who Miami selected in the third round of this year’s Draft, played well when he was given a chance, both with the starting group and against the second team, and could make a push for the starting position. “My man went out there and made a couple of plays,” McMillan said of Baker. “He was out there balling out. It’s just good to see him out here doing what we love together again, so hopefully we can get a lot more where that’s from.” Whomever is next to McMillan, the second-year linebacker is going to be expected to be the solidifying force on the defense. He is going to be asked to be the player who makes sure everyone in the front seven are in the right place to make a play, and he is going to need to diagnose and react to what the opposing offense is doing. A lot will be asked of McMillan this year, and he is going to have to respond.As for Thursday night’s performance, McMillan said, “It was just a run through for the starters. I only got a couple of series, a couple of reps in there, but, other than that, we did what we had to do and got out of there.”McMillan recorded one tackle during his limited playing time.The important part is the simplest part of the night for the Dolphins and McMillan. When the defense took the field for the first time, McMillan was out there Reshad Jones Jersey , in position, ready to play. After last year, it was good to see him ready to take control of the defense, paralleling what was happening on offense with Tannehill. The Miami Dolphins earned a Christmas night playoff victory 47 years ago in a game remembered ever since as the NFL's longest.Sunday's season-opening win took more than twice as long.They started at 1:02 p.m., endured two weather delays and played until 8:10 to beat the Tennessee Titans 27-20."There's no manual for that," Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said.Lightning forced a delay of nearly two hours late in the first half, and another stoppage of more than two hours midway through the third quarter. Players went to their locker rooms and spent the breaks eating, resting, listening to music, reviewing game video, watching other games or riding a stationary bike to stay loose."I ate a PBJ, and that was about it," Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said.During the first delay, the expected restart time kept getting pushed back. Before the second restart, there was little warning."All of a sudden it's go time," Wake said. "You've got to snap to it. You've got to get back to hair on fire, blood-boiling getting after it."The teams were given 10 minutes to warm up each time they returned to the field. Because of the stoppages, halftime was shortened to 3陆 minutes, with the players staying on the field.FOX had few TV cameras available to cover the finish because some were locked into position due to the lightning threat.While radar in the area was ominous Michael Deiter Miami Dolphins Jerseys , and thunder occasionally crackled, there was actually little rain during the delays — and even some sunshine."It stinks sitting in the locker room, looking at the sky and thinking, 'There are no thunderstorms anywhere. Why can't we go?'" Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard said.Former Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka, for one, was not impressed by the marathon, and didn't think former coach Don Shula would be, either."Delay of game for weather??" Csonka tweeted. "Shula didn't even cancel PRACTICE for lightning!"The two Pro Football Hall of Famers were part of the Dolphins team that beat the Kansas City Chiefs in two overtimes on Christmas 1971. That game took only 3 hours, 21 minutes.The previous longest game since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger by start-finish time was a Bears overtime victory against the Ravens in 2013, which took 5 hours, 16 minutes."It's kind of weird playing, cooling down, revving back up, playing," Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro said. "But that's no excuse. We have to find a way to win that game."

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