The Dolphins have two games in the next six practice days (not counting walk-thru and off days) so days such as today's double sessions are vital.
This is what the current schedule means:
Players have very little time to correct mistakes they make in preseason games. The preseason games become vital in the evaluation of players. And, conversely, players that have a certain status on the team now, are likely to keep that status barring significant change in the way they are peforming.
In other words, if a player is on first-team now, he's likely to stay there unless he totally melts down. If a player is not on first-team now, it's going to be increasingly difficult for him to make the climb unless he delivers an incredible performance in a preseason game.
"Time is not on our side," Sparano told the media and the players on separate occasions after practice. "You have to make the most of your opportunity."
Having said that, let me serve as your humble translator to what this all means. Donald Thomas, who seems to have a grasp on the starting right guard spot following a solid effort Monday night and today's practice, is not likely to lose that job. Barring injury or a total performance meltdown, he will be the starting right guard.
At the cornerback position, it is becoming clear that Eric Green not only will not win the starting job he had when training camp began, he's struggling to earn a roster spot. Sean Smith, meanwhile, working with the first team, would have to struggle mightily to squander his opportunity to start.
During his press conference moments ago, Sparano defended first-round draft pick Vontae Davis. The coach said Davis made "poor decisions in a few areas" and had "three minus plays on defense," with one of those being the pass interference penalty he drew.
But Sparano then added, "I don't, for one minute, want Vontae judged on those three plays," Sparano said, adding that the cornerback played a lot on defense.
Here's the problem: Sparano was unhappy that his team yielded between 125 and 130 yards of hidden yardage in the game. And Davis accounted for 55 yards of hidden yardage on his three penalties. Sooo, on the one hand Sparano is upset with his team about hidden yardage but doesn't want Davis judged on three minus plays plus the 55 yards of hidden yardage Davis accounted for?
Look, Davis will likely become a good player. But he did have a rough night against Jacksonville.
Just saying ...
On the positive side, the Dolphins have been emphasizing third down efficiency and in that department, the starting offense was at 50 percent while the starting defense held Jacksonville to only 29 percent.
The coach was not happy the Jags completed, according to him, 63 percent of their passes on the starting defense and the Dolphins yielded 123 passing yards in the first half.
On the other hand, the offense did put together drives of 10 and 14 plays so that speaks to ball control.