As I tell you in my column off of tonight's 27-26 preseason victory for the Miami Dolphins over the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is plenty of good to celebrate and some bad to be worried about.
But the bottom line is the Dolphins showed improvement from preseason game one to preseason game two. I saw it. You saw. Coach Tony Sparano saw it.
"I feel like we got a little bit better this week during the course of practice and I think Chad [Henne] and Brandon [Marshall] played a little bit better," Sparano said. "Chad was efficient with the football ... And I thought Brandon made some plays. One of the things I really enjoyed was Brandon with the ball in his hands. He's exactly what I thought we might have when he gets the ball in his hands.
"We weren't very good a week ago so making improvement this week was critical. And we have a long ways to go and there's a lot of areas out there we can get better in. I'm fine right now where our team is but we got to make the same kind of jump this week in practice.
"We're nowhere near where we plan to be, but I do believe we made some progress tonight."
The biggest jump was made by Henne, which is important because he plays the most important position on the field. He completed 11 of 14 passes with two of those incompletions the results of drops -- one by Ricky Williams and one by Brandon Marshall.
"The first series was a slow start but overall we're seeing things clearly out there and trying to be more effective and efficient in our offense," Henne said.
Henne had a 55 yard TD pass to Anthony Fasano and an 11 yard TD to Fasano. Both showed how Brandon Marshall helps even when he's not catching the football. On the first, Marshall blew up two defenders with the block that sprung Fasano for the score. On the second, Marshall's presence opened things up for Fasano.
"They split the safety and tried to double-cover Brandon out there so Anthony came open with a linebacker and I threw it because the linebacker wasn't looking," Henne said.
All in all, the outing was a confidence-building experience for Henne.
"Coming out here and performing well definitely builds it up and helps you going into the next preseason game and going into the season," he said.
The Dolphins went into the game thinking Chad Pennington would play only if Henne got his work in the first half. If that happened early enough, Pennington would get his preseason opportunity. That's how it played out as Pennington completed 3 of 4 passes and led a touchdown drive.
"I thought Chad did fine," Sparano said. "First of all it was tough duty. He knew going into the game that depending on what the situation was like at the end of the half, he may or may not play. So it's tough being in that kind of situation and as I've been saying all along, he gets it. He wanted to underthrow Brandon just a little bit on the deep throw and Brandon did a good job of working back to the ball ... He even ran one there so that was pretty nice."
Although much about this night came in a good-new package, there were the sour moments, too.
Pass protection was good early. Later it was bad. The team gave up five sacks. One of those sacks was yielded by the starting offensive line, the rest by the reserves.
The special teams were troubling.
"We had another kick blocked tonight which, to be honest, was a flat-out concentration error," Sparano said. "And they have some good returners. I thought it was up, it was down, It was inconsistent. Nolan [Carroll] had a couple of decent returns. It was up and down, a little inconsistent."
To be fair, the kick coverage team has been a mish-mash of personnel as coaches try to find the right combos. Sparano promised that will be resolved in the coming week.
While Henne looked good against the Jacksonville defense, David Garrard performed surgery on the Dolphins secondary. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 79 yards with one touchdown. His passer rating was 145.3.
"We had things there in man coverage that we didn't take care of," Sparano said. "That concerns me because it's two weeks in a row where the ball is completed down the field on us a few times. We had a couple of chunk plays. They're a good group, but we have to be able to clean some of that up."
I asked Sparano his thoughts about getting or not getting Pat White in the game. He said, "It's circumstance right now. I can't get four guys in the game every week. So I didn't get him in the game this week and that's the way it went."
My guess is that was only the thought he felt he could share. He probably really thought that White is the team's No. 4 QBs and getting No. 4 QBs in games is not really a big priority. After the game, White said he was told he would not be playing.
As you have read here already, he's on his way out, which is surprising because he was a second-round pick, but not surprising when the second-round pick is the No. 4 QB. Right now, it seems only a matter of when, not if, the Dolphins will jettison White.
Maybe they can get something for him in trade.
What can I say? I'm an optimistic kind of guy.