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Limited practices, no offseason work is no excuse

First some news: The Dolphins have agreed to contract terms with free agent linebacker Marvin Mitchell and are expected to have him in the fold for practice Monday once he passes his physical, an NFL source said Sunday evening. Mitchell is primarily a reserve with four years experience in New Orleans. He was a seventh-round pick of the Saints in 2007.

On another front, there is no question the early part of this NFL season will provide something of an advantage for teams that not only have kept their head coaches from 2010 employed but also their coordinators.

The point is no offseason camps or OTA days coupled with limited work during training camp (no double-session practices) works against team installing new schemes on offense or defense and really, really works against teams that are installing both a new offense and defense and working under a new head coach.

The Dolphins kept coach Tony Sparano for this season so that is good on the continuity front. They are playing their second season under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and his scheme so that is good also. However, the offense under new coordinator Brian Daboll is new

And that is a challenge.

The truth is that puts the Dolphins' offense behind division rivals New York, New England and even Buffalo because all three of those are running the same offense this year as they did a year ago.

We all have to understand and accept that. The Miami offense is going to be behind the rest of the division for a while.

Now, this is something you don't have to accept:

The Dolphins are getting as much work this training camp as any other NFL team and certainly no less than any other NFL team. So the excuse that poor play is a product of limited practice time is bogus because other teams, including ones that are playing well, are practicing the same amount.

It's like folks that come out of a game complaining about heat or rain or snow as the reason they did not perform. It's hot for both teams. It's raining or snowing on everybody. The excuse rings hollow.

Also, those excusing Chad Henne for not looking particularly sharp the other night need to stop. I don't want to hear Henne struggled because the offense is new to him. The truth is he has admitted to having the playbook since February.

So 4 of 8 for 77 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs is not good. And it's especially not good compared to other quarterbacks who entered Week 1 of the preseason in similar tough situations.

Kevin Kolb, traded to Arizona from Philadelphia, was among those players who could not practice with his new teammates until the new collective bargaining agreement was reached. So he missed the first week of practice. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 68 yards without a TD or INT.

Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy, working under a new head coach, in a new offensive system, working against Green Bay's starting defense, working with a lineup that doesn't necessarily look star-studded, completed 9 of 10 passes for 135 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs.

Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert completed 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards with neither a TD nor an INT. He's a rookie. He got his playbook three weeks ago. He was facing New England's first-team defense. He didn't look great but neither did turn the ball over.

I'm not saying Gabbert and McCoy are better than Henne or anyone else. I am saying that they are facing similar difficulties, and in some cases, a more difficult situation than Henne. And they're performing.

So I don't want to hear about a limited number of practices being the reason one guy or one unit is struggling. Everyone else in the NFL has similar issues.

Deal with it. Overcome.

[Blog note: The Dolphins practice at 11 a.m. Monday. I'll be here for a live practice blog. Join me then.]

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