Kansas City Preseason Game Observations

If the third preseason game indeed is the best barometer for NFL teams, then Dolphins fans should be very encouraged by their 24-0 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night. Even though it came against a team that looks like it could be absolutely awful this season, there were still plenty of encouraging signs during the three-hour affair.

-- Ted Ginn Jr.'s punt return for a touchdown again demonstrated that he's more about athletic ability than pure technique. He actually looked like he made the wrong decision in going to the wide side of the field, but his speed allowed him to outrun the punt coverage.

-- Those who thought Chad Henne actually had a shot to start the season opener will want to revisit that idea after Saturday's game. Henne actually struggled for the first time this preseason and looked like a rookie. It should be crystal clear to everyone that Chad Pennington should and will be the starting quarterback.

-- It was a good night for several of the draft picks. DE Phillip Merling made a couple of big plays on defense, including a stop on fourth down and RB Jalen Parmele had an 80-yard run and a TD run on which he showed a tremendous second effort.

-- The Dolphins look like a much-improved team, but will they ever cut down on the penalties? It was an issue again against Kansas City, probably never more so than when a fumble recovery was nullified because of a pre-snap penalty.

-- Interesting to see the Dolphins line up with three tight ends at times against the Chiefs. On one of those occasions, Ricky Williams had a 21-yard run.

-- Great to see LB Joey Porter back in the lineup and getting a sack. There actually had been major concern because of his back problems.

-- Yes, that was Jason Allen playing cornerback in the second half of Saturday night's game. Incidentally, Allen did not start at free safety, that honor going instead to free agent pick-up Chris Crocker. Allen stopped Kansas City's last drive with an interception on a play where the ball bounced off a Chiefs receiver and softly went to Allen.

-- CB Michael Lehan's interception, on the other hand, came as the result of his great break on the play. As it was Porter, it was great just to see Lehan in the lineup at all and for him to make a big play made it even better.

-- The Dolphins defense finished with five sacks and four takeaways. That was a combination of great defensive work by the Dolphins and an absolutely putrid performance by the Chiefs offense.

-- John Beck got to play at quarterback in the fourth quarter, but his first series ended in disaster when he couldn't handle Trey Darilek's shotgun snap and the Chiefs recovered the fumble. On his other seven snaps, he handed off four times and kneeled down at the end of the game three times. Not exactly the way to convince the Dolphins they should keep him.


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