Let's start with the injury update: Coach Tony Sparano said running back Patrick Cobbs and inside linebacker Tim Dobbins -- both of whom missed the Miami Dolphins preseason opener -- are expected back at practice for today's afternoon practice and work to some degree.
Sparano is aware there have been questions about whether the Dolphins should use the rainy season in South Florida to practice in the rain. The Dolphins have not practiced in the rain this season and he clearly falls on the side of folks that believe doing so raises the chances of injury.
...And by the way, his is the only opinion that really matters.
"You're in a downpour out here, A, you risk injury. B, you risk the opportunity to have an inefficient practice -- a sloppy, inefficient practice," he said. "You don't really have enough of these opportunities out here. I was telling the team today, the Buffalo game is getting closer. It isn't getting further away. In some situations you have to play in it, but you don't have to practice in it all the time. We have a bubble here so we can try to get the most effecient practices out of it. I think if the rain is one we feel it's not going to hurt the players in any way, that we're not going to get anyone injured out there, that's a different story. I think you stay out there. If not the wet-ball drills and all the things we try to do with our guys is our way of answering that."
Sparano studied the tape of Saturday's 10-7 victory over Tampa Bay and came away convinced the Dolphins pretty much play like they practice. Frankly, what you guys saw from the first-team offense early Saturday was about what we've seen from the first-team offense in practice.
"In some situations we played a little bit like we practiced, which is a little bit up and down," Sparano said. "What we do out here on the practice field clearly correlates to the game."
Sparano called nose tackle Paul Soliai's performance, "pretty good," but as has happened in the past, he needs to find a level of consistency. "The next step where we we that consistency happen will be important," Sparano said. "But it was good to see."
I asked the coach about Patrick Turner's game. He caught two passes for 44 yards and played as much, if not more, than any wide receiver on the team.
"There were some guys that made the most of their opportunities when called on and Pat was one of the guys in the game that made the most of their opportunites," Sparano said. "I mean, he runs across the middle in the ball, catches the ball and runs with it. That was a big third-down conversion. There were a couple of things from a route discipline standpoint Pat can do a little better. That has to do with missing time in the spring. There is some catching up he's still trying to do. But he flashed at you in the game in some situations and that was really good for him and his confidence."
Another 2009 rookie who is fighting for his life to make this team is Pat White. Some folks are sort of writing him off based on the fact he only got in for afterthought snaps late Saturday night. One reporter even asked today if White is going to be switching positions soon.
"I'm not getting any closer to wanting to trying him in any place other than the one he's in right now," Sparano said. "From my end, I've seen improvement in the last week -- clear improvement in the last week -- out of Pat throwing the football. So that part of it, I have no other agenda than to try to continue to develop that player as a quarterback on our team and see him make the same kind of improvement this week that he made last week."
Sparano said Julius Pruitt, Nate Ness and Chris Clemons played well on special teams.