Feely in a Fight?

Coming off a season during which he set a Dolphins record by making 21 of 23 field goals, one would think Jay Feely wouldn't have to worry about rookie free agent Dan Carpenter beating him out for a roster spot. But Tony Sparano's words seem to suggest otherwise.

Feely has missed the last couple of days of practice with a groin injury and it's possible he might have to sit out Saturday's preseason opener against Tampa Bay.

But the injury aside, it does seem almost inconceivable that Feely would have to worry about not making the team.

It's not the way Sparano sees it.

"We'll see what happens with the competition," Sparano said. "I mean, it's competition. Jay knows that, so does Carpenter, so does every guy that's out there. So we'll have to see what happens. The one thing I do know is these guys are competitors, both of them. They'll go out, they're going to get after each other in this kicking competition and we'll see what happens at the end of it all."

Carpenter had a very good senior year at the University of Montana, making 19 of 23 field goals, but the idea of going with a rookie free agent over an established veteran indeed is strange.

That is, of course, unless said rookie free agent, was amazing in college or has a ridiculously strong leg. Carpenter doesn't fit in either category.

It has been suggested that the new Dolphins bosses don't care for Feely's outspoken nature and would prefer their kicker to be seen but not heard.

It also may be that Sparano simply does indeed want to have competition at every position -- although that argument loses merit when you look at the roster and see only one punter (Brandon Fields) and one long-snapper (John Denney).

Regardless, Sparano's comments about the kicking competition were worth noting.

"It's a competition but at times (it's) a little bit more clear cut because it's based on how many go through the uprights and how many of them don't," he said. "But right now I think it's fairly even as this thing is going on. Kickoffs, what happens in the game, all those things will matter as well. They're kicking the ball off, we need to cover. I mean, field position is critical for us. Our kickers understand that. So how we kick the ball off, the hang time, all those things are important for us, but really what happens in the game when the big light is on there, we'll see how they kick then."

Who knows? Carpenter could go on to have a long and successful NFL career. But he's an unproven commodity, and kicking well in the preseason and in the regular season are two different things.

Feely already has proven he will get the job done in the regular season. Would the Dolphins really consider going with the rookie over the veteran?

Only Sparano, Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells know. But Sparano's words sure make us wonder.

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