Final impressions

The Dolphins' 20-19 victory in Friday night's preseason finale at New Orleans featured some impressive performances by a couple of players battling either for starting jobs or simply roster spots.

The guy who shined the most easily was defensive end Ronald Flemons, who finished with three of the Dolphins' seven sacks.

Flemons is one of the those guys who is on the bubble, and he might have sewn up his roster spot with his performance.

The Dolphins have seven guys up front who figure to be locks to make the final roster in Jason Taylor, David Bowens, Larry Chester, Jeff Zgonina, Tim Bowens, Dario Romero and Jay Williams.

That leaves probably two spots open. Veteran defensive end Chidi Ahanotu figures to get one of them. Then you have either Flemons or Tony Brown for the final spot.

Flemons, as mentioned, had the tremendous performance Friday night. But Brown also had a very strong preseason, so maybe the Dolphins will think long and hard about keeping 10 defensive linemen, although it's not likely.

When it comes to the starting battles, both Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley played very little at quarterback, but Fiedler got the better of it. Not because he was 2-for-2 with a touchdown pass, while Feeley was only 3-for-7. More importantly, Feeley looked a little hesitant in the pocket, not a good sign for a quarterback who is going to be operating behind a questionable offensive line.

We're still thinking it's going to be Feeley as the starter, but it's really, really close.

At running back, Sammy Morris badly outplayed Travis Minor and showed he clearly deserves the bulk of the carries.

Because the Dolphins plan on using both extensively in the regular season and because Minor has been on the team longer, don't be surprised if Minor is in the starting lineup against Tennessee.

Finally, there's the free safety spot, and the battle between Arturo Freeman and Antuan Edwards. Both started in the secondary against the Saints.

Freeman came up with a big play when he returned an interception 78 yards in the first quarter, but it was somewhat alarming that he couldn't outrun to the end zone running back Ki-Jana Carter, who has had countless knee injuries throughout his career.

Ironically, Freeman made the interception after it went right through the hand of Edwards.

Edwards did come back with a nice defensive play later on when he tackled Carter after a short gain on a third-and-goal to force a field goal attempt, and we're still thinking he'll get the nod.


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