Random Thoughts

As the Dolphins prepare for their last -- and most meaningless -- preseason game of the summer, we took a look around the roster with some thoughts on things that stick out. In case you're thinking the preseason finale is important to decide the final roster spots, accept that most of them pretty much already have been decided.

Coach Tony Sparano has said he will play his starters against the Saints on Thursday, but you shouldn't expect to see the likes of Chad Pennington, Jake Long and Channing Crowder in the game very long.

This game very much will be about avoiding injuries at all costs, especially after what happened last weekend with both Osi Umenyiora and Jason Taylor.

On to some observations:

-- Not overly shocking that Chris Crocker has supplanted Jason Allen as the starting free safety. Allen did improve toward the end of last season, but he also benefited from some good fortune in getting some takeaways. The truth is that at no time has Allen really looked like a former first-round pick. Allen began training camp No. 1 on the depth chart partly as a way to build his confidence, we would surmise, and also because the Dolphins wanted to see what they had in Chris Crocker.

-- Interesting to see defensive end Phillip Merling getting practice snap at strongside linebacker. It's the position that Matt Roth is now playing and has nothing to do with the back problems of Joey Porter because Porter plays the weak side. Sparano has praised Roth for his work at linebacker, but we still get the feeling the Dolphins wouldn't mind upgrading at that position.

-- Exactly why did the Kansas City Chiefs sign former Dolphins kicker Jay Feely, only to release him the next day? Makes no sense, particularly when the other two kickers on the roster are Nick Novak and Connor Barth. Sure, they both had a small edge over Feely when they each tried 30 field goals in practice, but that's one day. Then again, it doesn't matter what kind of field goal kicker the Chiefs have this season because they're going to stink regardless.

-- Would be nice to see Ernest Wilford make some play on Thursday. The Dolphins gave this guy a $6 million signing bonus as a free agent with the idea he'd come in and start, but he has been a major disappointment and has been supplanted by Derek Hagan. The truth is, Wilford would be in danger of not making the team if it weren't for his signing bonus.

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