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Plan for preseason opener starts coming to light

As I told you in a previous blog, the Dolphins coaching staff has still not met to determine playing time in Monday night's preseason opener against Jacksonville. Coach Tony Sparano confirmed that this morning.

But ..

He is definitely giving strong hints about his intentions for what kind of playing time certain players or units will get. It is pretty clear that Chad Pennington will play against the Jags and probably be in there maybe a quarter. Chad Henne will follow and he very likely will play much of the second quarter and parts, if not all, of the third quarter.

Pat White should get work sometime in the fourth quarter.

"Chad Henne will get a good chunk of time in the deal, which is what I've said before," Sparano said moments ago.

It is a fair assumption that Pennington and Henne will get a chance to play behind the starting offensive line. The line, in Sparano's opinion, needs to play together and play a good bit. And his opinion is the only one that counts.

"I have no interest in my line going out there and playing only one quarter," Sparano said. "They need to go out there and play."

While the offensive linemen are going to get a good looksee, there are other players who will be on a short pitch count. Jason Ferguson is not going to play beyond a quarter and perhaps less -- a series or two.

I have to draw the comparison between Sparano to Cam Cameron here. Cameron was of the belief that you save certain players, mostly his veterans. I remember he had some vets, such as Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor and even Joey Porter not play at all during some games in the preseason.

Taylor, for example, played six plays in the 2007 preseason. Cameron didn't want to get his proven players injured.

Sparano wants his stars and grunts to mesh as a tough team. He believes games are meant to be played not watched. "My feeling is you need to get ready to play together and come out of that tunnel together and all that good stuff," Sparano said.

But even if some of Miami's starters -- particularly the offensive linemen -- will get work, Sparano will try to strike a balance in that he must see the bottom of the roster guys perform.

"You want to walk off the field Monday night and have a pretty fair evaluation on how these people participated in the game," Sparano said. "At least as many of them as we can get."

On another matter, you guys have asked a lot lately about the possibility the Dolphins trade or cut Jason Allen. I don't see that right now and I get the feeling the Dolphins are not leaning in that direction unless someone blows them away with an offer -- which is not likely to happen.

Fact is Allen is a core special teams player. Fact is he's a big cornerback on a team that covets big corners. Fact is he's actually doing things that are making coaches think he's getting better.

"I've started to see things slow down for him and you're starting to see his athleticism," Sparano said. "He's reacting faster to the ball in the air, particularly in the last two or three practices I've seen him flash that way."

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