The NFL offseason is finally coming to its merciful end. Rejoice! On Thursday, the New Orleans Saints will head east to play the Miami Dolphins for one of 16 preseason matchups taking place. The teams will set their 53-man rosters Saturday, then it's just five days until next Thursday, when the Baltimore Ravens play the Denver Broncos in the first real game of NFL football since February.
The Dolphins and the Saints are already looking ahead to their regular season openers for the most part, and will be looking to escape Thursday night's game with a strong bill of health just like every other team in the league.
That said, that doesn't mean there aren't a few things to keep an eye on. In particular, both teams are sporting unsettled depth charts at running back.
Meet the Dolphins
The Dolphins still have a few things to take care of on offense, after averaging 20 points per game over their first four preseason games. The team could still use a go-to tight end, though there doesn't appear to be anyone of the same caliber of Dustin Keller among Charles Clay, Michael Egnew, Dion Sims and Kyle Miller. The running back situation also remains unsettled. Lamar Miller is the starter, ostensibly, but Daniel Thomas has hung tough throughout preseason.
The Dolphins have been stronger on defense, even without Dion Jordan, who has missed the last two weeks due to a setback with his shoulder. The Dolphins have an improved secondary and a deep linebacker corps. If the defensive line can stay healthy, opponents could have a difficult time scoring on Miami this season.