What To Look For

After Washington starting running back Clinton Portis separated a shoulder last week and Minnesota first-round pick Chad Greenway was lost for the season with a torn ACL, it's clearer than ever that the first objective of any preseason is to get out of it without a major injury. As for the other goals for the Dolphins Saturday against Tampa Bay, it starts with the secondary.

That's pretty obvious after the Dolphins allowed four touchdown passes of 50 yards or more in last weekend's 31-26 loss to Jacksonville in the preseason opener.

In particular, it would be nice to see first-round pick Jason Allen bounce back after a tough debut. Of course, it needs to be pointed out he had been in camp less than a week before he played against Jacksonville, so it would be unfair to jump to any conclusions based on that performance.

But it wasn't just Jason Allen who struggled against Jacksonville. Will Allen was beaten pretty badly by Matt   Jones on a long touchdown pass, and the second- and third-teamers didn't make any plays.

The first-team defense played very well in its brief appearance against Jacksonville, which had to be good news.

We probably won't know until game time whether Dan Wilkinson will make his debut against Tampa Bay, but it doesn't really matter anyway because he'll be ready for the Pittsburgh game -- the one that really counts.

Offensively, the focus again will be on Daunte Culpepper, who will play a little bit longer than last weekend. Look for Culpepper to play around 12 offensive snaps, which could take him deep into the first quarter or maybe early in the second if Tampa Bay's offense controls the ball in the early going.

The starting offensive line had a solid game against a good Jacksonville defensive front last weekend and will face another challenge against Tampa Bay.

Finally, we would look to the receiver position, where Nick Saban will be facing some of his most difficult roster decisions.

Little separates all the contenders for the fifth -- and possibly last -- roster spot at the position.

Fred Gibson was the star last weekend, even though he did all his work on the final drive. Marcus Vick, Frank Murphy and Cliff Russell again need big games to make their case.

We're not expecting to see Kelly Campbell in this game, and he's getting closer to pushing his way off the roster because of his inability to work because of a knee injury.


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