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The clock is ticking for the Dolphins

Coach Tony Sparano recently told the media, which is not allowed to enter the Dolphins training facility until the regular season, that he has put a big clock in the locker room that is counting down to the opener Sept. 12 at Buffalo. 

"It's been counting for the opening game for about four months now," Sparano said. "And as I tell the team on a pretty regular basis, they're not adding more time on that clock. There's less and less time right now ... If those guys are in that huddle out there, meaning, first huddle second huddle whatever it is and these mistakes are being made—we can chalk it up to young we can chalk it up to all those things but we're not going to say that we got a lot of time. We don't. We need to get it corrected and they need to get better at it."

The clock was Sparano's idea and has gotten something of a mixed reaction among some of the players.

"I don't really look at it that much," cornerback Vontae Davis said. "I worry about what tomorrow has in store for us and that's practice."

"I guess it kind of remind me of college," quarterback Chad Henne said, "I know Ohio State has a clock counting down to Michigan. But I think it's good. It keeps our minds on Buffalo and I know we want to get off to a fast start this year. It's great, it reminds us it's not getting further away. It's getting closer."

Regardless of what the players think of the clock, there is importance to Friday's preseason game against Atlanta. Sparano sees it as a measure of his team because the Falcons are a good team.

"This is a team that I consider a playoff team from the NFC and from our end here, we consider ourselves to be one," the coach said. "It's a good test, a good challenge."

Sparano said playing time for his first team offense and defense, "is not going to be a whole lot more" than it was last week when starters played a little over a quarter."

But the coach still wants his starters to at take at least one series in the second half.

"You do want to heat them up again in the second half and play them coming out of halftime, but after that we'll start to play some bubble guys," Sparano said.

Defensive rookie update:

Many of you ask me my opinion on rookies Koa Misi and Jared Odrick. I think they're going to be fine. They need more urgency. They need to improve their technique. But neither is overwhelmed by the NFL game.

And Sparano, whose opinion is more important, is seeing steady improvement.

"This week [against Jacksonville] I was able to watch Koa Misi punch the tight end several times and separate. And that's a pretty good tight end they have over there," the coach said. "With Odrick, I started to see a little more involvement in the run game and holding the point of attack on double teams a little bit better."