The highlights and lowlights

The Dolphins never had a chance to win Saturday night's game at Jacksonville and lost by a bigger margin than they did in the preseason opener against Chicago, but in many ways they turned in a better performance. Unfortunately, one area that certainly wasn't better was the quarterback play.

The Dolphins managed only an Olindo Mare field goal with either Gus Frerotte or A.J. Feeley at quarterback, and Feeley was in there into the fourth quarter because he hadn't gotten many snaps as the third quarter ended.

But neither Frerotte nor Feeley was sharp.

The issue with Feeley, from this vantage point, remains a lack of pocket presence and decision-making. That was evident in the two biggest mistakes he made, an interception on a deep pass when Kendall Newson was totally covered and a grounding penalty when Feeley appeared to have plenty of time to get out of the pocket before throwing the ball away.

Those aren't issues with Frerotte, but his accuracy was off the mark against Jacksonville. He was high with a few of his passes and wound up completing only 6 of 14. He also was late with a pass to Chris Chambers down the sideline, and the result was safety Donovin Darius having the time to come over, disrupt the play and help cause an imcompletion.

Other than the quarterback play, there weren't many glaring problems with the play of the front-line players.

Of course, letting David Allen return a punt 76 yards for a touchdown is a major no-no. But overall, the starters had a good night.

The offensive line performed much, much better than it did against Chicago and there were some holes in the running game.

Ricky Williams took advantage as he looke very impressive, particularly on back-to-back runs in the first half.

Defensively, the Dolphins had success with their blitz, coming up with four sacks in the first half. The coverage also was much better, and Reggie Howard and Travis Daniels both broke up passes.

Once the starters left, the Dolphins did have their problems in run defense. Particularly troubling was a 17-yard run by rookie Alvin Pearman on third-and-16, a play that kept alive Jacksonville's 85-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.

But that was the only major breakdown of the evening on defense. Another Jacksonville touchdown was the punt return and the other was set up by a 48-yard completion on a play where cornerback Billy Parker had great coverage, but wideout Chad Owens just made a spectacular play by knocking the ball away from Parker and then making the catch while falling.

So overall it wasn't a bad effort by the Dolphins, certainly better than the scoreboard might suggest.

But the play of the two quarterbacks battling for the starting job was disappointing, and that has to be the biggest concern on this night.


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