Dolphins players have only professional pride and the future to play for while coaches have, I guess, the same motivation in these coming final two games of the 2010 season.
That future would be brighter for everyone if the Dolphins were to suddenly find the speed and playmaking acumen that anyone with eyes can see they lack. Coach Tony Sparano said Monday he isn't going to go nuts inserting untested players into the final two games simply for the sake of seeing somebody else play.
But he left open the door to some youngsters getting more of a look.
"I do think there could be opportunities for a few guys to play a few more snaps that maybe haven’t played X-amount of snaps," Sparano said. "It ain’t going to be anything different than the people that you’ve seen but I think maybe getting a guy in the ballgame a little bit more in some of these situations so you know a little bit more about him down the road I think would be important."
There really aren't a lot of places for Sparano to search on a 53-man roster for a revelation player that he was totally unaware of. But there are places he could look to find players that haven't gotten long looks until now.
I present to you Lex Hilliard, Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore.
Hilliard has not carried the football all year long but the truth is the Dolphins will have to replace either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams or both before the start of 2011. If the idea of replacing Ronnie or Ricky is jarring to you ... get over it. As I asked in my column on Monday, what do either of them do that is special?
This Miami Herald story, by the way, says Brown "hasn't given up hope" he might return for 2011. If he does it would be at a much cheaper price than he obviously hoped.
The Dolphins, which fancy themselves a running team, need to move on in the backfield and the assumption here is they'll do exactly that. But why not give Hilliard a look to see what they have in case the need Miami has actually is for one running back rather than two?
At the wide receiver spot, I am frankly baffled why this team might continue to give snaps to veteran Kevin Curtis, signed last week, rather than Wallace or Moore. Stated simply, Curtis is not the future. The Dolphins need to find out if either Wallace or Moore might be.
One error Sparano made at the end of 2009 when the Dolphins were also eliminated from playoff contention was not give Patrick Turner meaningful playing time the last couple of games. That failure led the Dolphins to bring him back early this year and that was a waste of a roster spot that might have been used on someone else.
The coaching staff had to go through another offseason and training camp and preseason to figure out Turner wasn't a player for them -- something they could have figured out if he'd gotten some snaps in anger during 2009.
Now Wallace and Moore sit in basically the same spot as Turner did although both have shown much more promise. Both are smart and fast. Wallace is a 4.46ish guy while Moore is a legit 4.4. Yet, at a time the Dolphins are looking for threats downfield, neither has gotten much of a shot.
Isn't it time to serve them up some shots?
Both players have had their moments. Moore has a couple of drops but he also caught a 57-yard TD versus Oakland, which is precisely the kind of play the Dolphins thirst for. And Wallace, tall and strong, has caught four passes for 46 yards, including a 19-yarder.
So whaddya say, coach?
Let the kids show you what they got ... or what they don't.
It would give you three fewer decisions to make this offseason.