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Saturday morning minicamp practice review

Chad Pennington missed today's practice because he is attending his sister's wedding, according to a team spokesman.

So Chad Henne took the first-team snaps while Pat White took the second-team snaps.

Henne was alright during his work -- not spectacular but not terrible. White was bad for the second consecutive morning practice. His throws sailed and were seldom accurate. As 790 The Ticket program director and afternoon show host Steve White said, "He's giving a new meaning to WildPat."

White was wild high most of the practice. On one throw, he hit the golf cart carry Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells. The cart was parked five yards behind the end zone. Parcells realized he was in the line of fire and moved the cart.

As he was coming off the field Parcells looked at the media gathered on the edge of the field and said to everyone, "Piranha swimming freely, I see."


One thing I've been saying and will continue repeating until somebody listens: These OTAs and minicamps are learning tools. This is not football. This is no time to judge White one way or another. It's not great he's struggling, but it's not the end of the world. We'll see what this kid is really about when training camp opens and scrimmages and preseason games are played.

Not until then.

Anyway, the Dolphins worked in a handful of Wildcat plays into the practice, with Ronnie Brown as triggerman. Pat White was in the package. Patrick Cobbs scored twice from 20 yards out. Not telling you how, specifically, the plays unfolded because that is breaking a team trust, but it was good stuff.

The Dolphins worked on a lot of red zone,  tight red zone and minus-2-yard line situations. That means the offense started drives at the 2 yard line for the minus-2 situations. Coach Tony Sparano said the fact Pennington missed the day worked out perfectly because Henne has not had much experience getting out of such bad field position.

On the red zone work, the quarterbacks must follow some very simple rules: No sacks. No turnovers. No penalties. No "exotic snap counts," Sparano said.

The Dolphins had a period in which they ran the offense in check-with-me drills. In those drills, the quarterback has two plays in the huddle and must pick the right one based on what he sees at the line of scrimmage.

"They did a great job," Sparano said, adding, "There were no bad decisions."

But the coach was honest, saying that although the decisions were good, the execution of the play was not always good. 

Paul Soliai continues to get lots of work as a first-team nose tackle even though Jason Ferguson is not injured. The kid can use the work so this is a good time for him to get it.

Receiver Anthony Armstrong continues to impress. Nearly as fast as Ted Ginn, Armstrong has been wearing out some corners with the 9 route. He caught a long pass on one today over Eric Green. I asked Sparano if my observation was carrying over to practices when the media is not present.

"That has been the case," he said. "It's to the point where cornerbacks are trying to fin him a little bit now. I need to see that in a game. I need to see him take that from the practice field to the game."

Jason Allen flashed with an interception. It was a bad throw along the sideline by White.

The injured players -- David Martin, Andy Alleman and Donald Thomas -- continue to miss time.

The Dolphins worked on some kickoff returns. Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Armstrong were used as returners.

I talked to rookie cornerback Sean Smith and he is a very confident kid. I asked him what he's had most trouble picking up and he talked about recognizing formations and relaying information back and forth with the rest of the secondary.

I asked him physically what his biggest issue was and he seemed stumped. "Physically?"

So I asked him if he ever has felt like he doesn't belong on the field with the veterans. "No. Never. I feel like I belong. I'm ready to go. I better feel that way. The team feels like I belong because they took me the first day [of the draft] And I feel I belong, too."

Speaking of the cornerback battle, Sparano said none of the players trying to win the starting job opposite Will Allen has "stood out as consistent or inconsistent." It's a wide open battle for the starting job right now, folks.