Preseason Opener Preview

The Dolphins open their preseason schedule Saturday night against Tampa Bay, and here's a look at what we'll be watching at Dolphin Stadium.

The game, incidentally, will be televised live in South Florida (CBS affiliate WFOR) and replayed on the NFL Network Sunday at 4 p.m.

So here are five things to watch for:

1. The quarterbacks: Quarterback play always is a focal point of preseason games, and it's the case again for the Dolphins even though the battle for the starting job is now over after the signing of Chad Pennington. What's at stake now is the spot on the roster alongside Pennington and rookie Chad Henne. That means that Josh McCown and John Beck will be on the spot. For some reason, Tony Sparano refused all week to divulge who would play and who would start tonight, but one guess is that he needs to see both McCown and Beck.

2. Will Ronnie run?: Along with the secrecy involving the quarterbacks, Sparano also refused to divulge whether Ronnie Brown would see action against the Bucs. Sparano has said he wanted to see Brown get some carries in the preseason, but whether that happens Saturday or next week, we'll know later.

3. Will receivers catch on?: Dropped passes have been a major issue at camp as the Dolphins continue to look for guys who will make the roster at receiver. If the Dolphins don't add a veteran via the waiver wire or trade, one of the young guys will need to step up and the preseason is the time to do that.

4. Jake Long: The guy is the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, so he's obviously going to be scrutinized every step of the way. The one concern with Long is his ability to handle speed rushers on the outside, and hopefully he'll get a good test against Tampa Bay.

5. Kicking battle: Sparano said this week there was a competition for the placekicker job between veteran Jay Feely and rookie Dan Carpenter, and he added it was pretty close. Feely missed practice last week because of a groin injury and we're not expecting him to kick on Saturday night. It's certainly possible that a strong preseason showing is all Carpenter needs to unseat the veteran.


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