New Orleans Game Observations

The last preseason game is a joke. The last preseason game is a joke. The last preseason game is a joke. Now we feel better and we've said pretty much all there is to say about Thursday night's game at New Orleans. OK, there actually were some things that happened worth mentioning, and unfortunately for the Dolphins not many were positive.

It was a particularly tough night for the five Dolphins rookie draft picks who saw action.

Ted Ginn Jr., Samson Satele, Paul Soliai, Reagan Mauia and Drew Mormino all were kept out of the game; of the five who played, only seventh-round pick Kelvin Smith had a good night.

In fact, Smith played well enough that he might have won himself a roster spot, although we'll touch on that later on Friday.

On to the other guys.

-- John Beck played the entire first half and came back in the fourth quarter after Gibran Hamdan struggled. After turning in solid performances in the first three preseason games, Beck really stunk on Thursday.

Maybe the most troubling thing of all was he continued having issues with passes batted at the line of scrimmage. One of those resulted in an interception against the Saints, killing the Dolphins' best drive of the day.

On top of that, Beck looked like he was having problems finding receivers all game, although that probably has something to do with the receivers not getting open.

Overall, Beck still showed enough promise this preseason to feel good about his future; what Thursday's game showed is that, if it weren't already obvious, he's not quite ready to be an NFL starter.

-- RB Lorenzo Booker got a good amount of playing time at running back, but showed very little. In fact, he really didn't show much in the last two preseason games after getting little playing time in the opener and then being kept out of the second game.

Booker obviously has speed, but he looks right now too hesitant to be able to use that speed. Right now, we can't help but wonder exactly how much of a help he'll be as a rookie.

-- P Brandon Fields had another mediocre performance, which makes it three in a row after he had a monster preseason opener.

Coach Cam Cameron cautioned after that Jacksonville game about getting overly excited about Fields, and that unfortunately has proven prophetic. Fields does have a big leg, but he has shown little consistency of late, and that's a concern heading into the regular season.

-- LB Abraham Wright got a lot of attention during training camp as teammates praised his speed around the edge, but after making some plays early in the preseason he has been very quiet of late. Wright is being asked to make the transition from college defensive end to NFL "Jack" linebacker (a hybrid DE/OLB), and it's obviously a learning process.

-- Along with the rookies, second-year WR Derek Hagan managed to once again do something to make us believe he was a bad third-round pick in 2006.

This time, Hagan ran a crossing pattern on third-and-4 on the Dolphins' first drive but failed to get beyond the first-down marker and he was tackled immediately after catching Beck's pass. The result? A 3-yard gain, fourth down, time to punt.

Nothing against Hagan, but he has shown us very little in his time with the Dolphins and we think his roster spot would be in trouble if the Dolphins had any kind of depth at wide receiver.

OK, we've ragged on guys enough; let's turn to the two positives, other than Smith, from the New Orleans game.

-- RB Patrick Cobbs did a tremendous job of breaking and avoiding tackles, showing why he led the NCAA in rushing as a senior at North Texas. Even if he doesn't make the Dolphins' 53-man roster, this guy has a future in the NFL.

-- CB Jason Allen has been much-maligned since joining the team as a first-round pick, and with good reason, but let's give the guy his props when he does well.

And he did very well against the Saints, and it went beyond his interception deep in Dolphins territory.

What Allen did particularly well against New Orleans was tackle, the most glaring example coming when he tackled Antonio Pittman by the ankle for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-1.

That was an encouraging performance by Allen.

But the best news of all on this night was that the exhibition games -- oh, sorry, preseason games -- are finally, mercifully behind us.

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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and To read him every day, visit and become a Miami Dolphins insider.