Not a Great Finale

The Dolphins were hoping to establish some momentum heading into the regular season when they traveled to Dallas for the preseason finale, which is why their starters on offense played more than a quarter and those on defense played the first half. But that doesn't mean the mission was accomplished.

The Dolphins managed only three points in three possessions with Chad Henne at quarterback, and that was not what the coaching staff was looking for. Especially when you consider that Dallas rested practically every starter on their team.

Except for the rain-delayed game at Jacksonville, Henne didn't look overly sharp in the preseason and it was that way again in Dallas.

The truth is that Chad Pennington clearly outplayed him, even though it's not happening that Pennington supplants Henne as the starter.

The same goes at wide receiver, in all likelihood, where Davone Bess has badly outplayed Brian Hartline. It's likely still going to be Hartline starting at Buffalo on Sept. 12.

One positive for the first-team offense against Dallas was Ricky Williams breaking loose up the middle for a 42-yard run. It was a good thing to see for a running game that has been struggling.

It occurred on the Dolphins' final drive of the first quarter. The Dolphins were on that drive when the quarter and Coach Tony Sparano kept Henne and his starters in there to finish the drive.

That's when the Dolphins got a major scare on a play where Henne was sacked and fumbled. Jake Long's left knee was hit from the side in a pile and Long walked gingerly off the field. Early indications are that it's not a major injury, but we won't for sure for a couple of days.

Regardless of what happens there, the argument can be made that Long had no business being in the game at that time, given the lack of depth at offensive tackle which we discussed in one of our most recent stories.

Other observations from the preseason finale:

-- It was interesting that the second center in the game after Joe Berger was Cory Procter, and not Jake Grove. We're not aware of a Grove injury and this could be an indication that Grove's roster spot might be in jeopardy. Remember, the Dolphins regime doesn't like players who get hurt a lot and Grove is pretty pricey for a backup. Just saying.

-- Sean Smith again had another rough outing. He got beat for a long touchdown by Sam Hurd on a play where he actually had good coverage and later was called for defensive holding. His performance in the preseason is pretty troubling considering the continued absence of Will Allen.

-- Ikaika Alama-Francis started at strongside linebacker, while Koa Misi came off the bench at weakside linebacker behind starter Cameron Wake. One has to wonder whether this is a permanent move involving Misi. Being that he made most of his big plays at Utah from the back side, it did seem all along he was better suited to play the weak side than the strong side and maybe the Dolphins have come to that conclusion. Then again, maybe he'll be back on the strong side at the next practice.


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