Davis Dumped And Other Notes

Safety Keith Davis was released Wednesday in somewhat of a surprise move. Davis was one of several players signed over the offseason to improve the Dolphins' special teams coverage units. And he had a history with coach Tony Sparano and Bill Parcells from their years together in Dallas. The move was the biggest news heading into the preseason finale at New Orleans.

Here's what else is happening around the team:

-- Wide receiver Ernest Wilford was signed to be the possession receiver opposite speedster Ted Ginn, Jr., but has mostly been a disappointment. The former Jaguar appears to have fallen behind Derek Hagan for a starting job, although coach Tony Sparano hasn't made any formal announcements.

"This week, we need to get him involved. We are going to try to get him involved earlier and get him a little longer look," Sparano said. "He has practiced much better in the last 10 days. I've been really pleased with the way he's practiced. It almost looks like he's got a little bit of a second wind right now. He's playing a little bit faster with more confidence."

-- Sparano often talks to rookie quarterback Chad Henne when he comes off the field, but said he's probably harder on offensive linemen than he is in quarterbacks. "There is some tough love and I think at that position, it's been my philosophy that the quarterback position that you need to make it tough so that in the game it's a little bit easier for them," Sparano said. "If we make it tough in practice and we make it tough in these preseason games, then when we get to the games it becomes just a little bit easier."

-- Quarterback Chad Pennington has been on a crash course on several levels since signing with the Dolphins after the start of training camp. Not only is he continuing to learn the playbook, but he has to get used to a new set of wide receivers. One of those is Ted Ginn, Jr., who has blazing speed.

"We have a lot of work to do, we really do," Pennington said of developing timing with Ginn. "I'm happy that we've been able to connect in the two games that we've played together. I think he's got a lot of talent. But at the same time, we've got a long way to go to make sure we can play with consistency. Three quarters of football is not enough to say we've got it down yet. We have to make sure we continue to work out here at practice and continue to talk to each other and always discuss things so we can really get on the same page.

"When you take a guy with speed and then he's able to learn how to run routes and not just run fast, you've got a deadly combination. You've got a receiver who can really be successful in this league. That's something that's very special. He has the one ingredient that is hard to coach, and you can't coach. So now we're trying to learn each other and really talk about these routes so he can become a good route runner."

-- Outside linebacker Joey Porter said he won't be slowed by a lingering sore back. The 31-year-old said he is dealing with expected aches and pains as he gets older. "I've seen this guy play through some pretty good pain. ... That's been his history," coach Tony Sparano said. "I know that when it comes time for the games, Joey will be ready to play."

BY THE NUMBERS: $6 million -- The amount of guaranteed money Ernest Wilford has in the contract he signed during the offseason. If not for the financial commitment, Wilford might be in danger of not making the final roster.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "One of the things we did when we started here is we sat in a room and I said, 'Look around you, there's 80 of you but there's not going to be 80 of you, there's going to be 53 when this things ends.' Some people have to go and that's just the way it goes. It's part of the business. It doesn't make it any less of a strain one way or another. You feel for the guys. This is their livelihood too." -- Coach Tony Sparano on the prospect of cutting the final roster to 53 players.

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