Playing well in the preseason is nothing new for Robert Baker, but this could be the year it finally translates into a roster spot come September. And the possibility certainly exists, even more so after Baker's performance in the Dolphins' 14-10 preseason loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night.

Along with quarterback Ray Lucas, Baker clearly was the star on offense for the Dolphins, with four catches for 85 yards.

The highlight for Baker was a 33-yard reception in the second quarter when he stretched out and pulled in Lucas' pass after grabbing the bottom half of it.

Baker followed that with a 19-yard gain on a crossing pattern to give Miami a first down at the Tampa Bay 5-yard line and set up the Dolphins' only touchdown of the game.

Baker later added receptions of 19 and 5 yards.

Coach Dave Wannstedt said on Tuesday that Baker would get the opportunity to return punts and kickoffs against the Saints on Thursday night, and how he does in that role will be key for Baker.

"He's competing for that fifth receiver spot," Wannstedt said. "The thing that could give him an edge is his return ability."

The other candidate for the fifth receiver spot would appear to be Jeff Ogden, who has always been reliable for the Dolphins. Miami also could wind up keeping six wide receivers, and another player who factors in the equation is rookie Sam Simmons, although he did not look impressive on Monday night.

For Baker, it was the second year in a row he stood out in a preseason game against Tampa Bay. You might recall that it was Baker who caught Mike Quinn's 43-yard Hail Mary on the last play of the game to give the Dolphins an improbable 17-14 victory last year.

But for Baker, this year's performance was more impressive.

"Last preseason was just one catch," Baker pointed out. "Hopefully, I can go out and have games like I did (Monday night), where I was catching more than just one ball at the end of the game. The opportunities that I get, I just want to show them I can play football."

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