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Dolphins: Thumbs up, thumbs down edition

Some random thoughts ...

Thumbs up to Tony Sparano for moving Thursday's scheduled morning practice to this evening. The idea here is to finally get the dozen or so free agent signees and players for which the Dolphins traded on the field and working for the first time. Had the Dolphins gone through with their morning schedule, those players would have to continue watching the action until Friday, thus missing a valuable practice.

But after 4 p.m. today -- for reasons having to do with the new CBA and the labor issue between the league and players' union -- those very players will be allowed to practice. Extra day of work and first such in which the entire roster is on the field. Well done.

Thumbs down to the personnel department for working out Tiki Barber. It's embarrassing. When Fox's Jay Glazer, who is pals with Barber, broke the news, I got a text from an assistant on another team basically mocking the Dolphins for working out Barber.

"Things that bad in Miami?" the text read in part.

I didn't think so until Wednesday. Look, forget for a second that Barber quit on his team in 2006, announcing his retirement in October, with two months left to play in the season. Forget the fact he was critical of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning and Michael Strahan -- all of whom went on to win Super Bowl rings after Barber left the team. Forget that Barber had fumble problems in his prime. Forget the fact Barber left his wife of 11 years for a 23 year-old former NBC intern, get this, while his wife was pregnant.

Forget all that. If you can.

But there is nothing worse than inconsistency. And I'm starting to see some here. The Dolphins showed zero interest in receiver Plaxico Burress because he spent two years in jail and hadn't played since 2009 and is approaching his 34th birthday next week. They knew they were not interested the second he was released. They didn't even work him out once the lockout lifted even though he lives in South Florida.

No problem. Their call. They know best.

But ...

They want to do due diligence on Tiki Barber? Barber is 36 years old, which is two years older than Burress. He hasn't played since 2006, so he's been away from the game going on five seasons. And yet they gave him a workout this week?

There's more.

Ricky Williams is sitting out there unsigned. I don't much understand the dude personally, but there is no denying his work ethic. He gets it. He isn't a problem either on the field or in the locker room. He's got zero rust he needs to knock off. And he's two years younger than Barber. And the team hasn't really shown interest in him since, well, since last season?

What is the thinking here?

Where is the consistency?

And if you're going to work out a 36-year-old running back who hasn't played in four seasons, why not also fly to Kiln, Mississippi and work out the 41-year-old quarterback who lives there? I bet Brett Favre would be a better player in the NFL this season than Tiki Barber would ever be. Geez!

Thumbs up to rookie Pat Devlin. I like the kid. From the little contact I've had with him, I like his demeanor. I talked to him Wednesday and he looked me straight in the eyes rather than look away or stare down at the ground.

He's shown a little more zip on the ball than what I had heard his reputation to be, and he had a good response when I asked him about not working under center very much at Delaware the past two seasons.

"I worked under center all the time at Penn State for two years before that," he said. "So that isn't a problem for me."

Like it.

Thumbs down to Vernon Carey and the organization for basically fibbing about the reason the player missed practice Monday. We all know he was sent home because the team didn't want him on the field risking injury at a time the front office was trying to rework his contract for a pay cut.

Yet the reason given for the missed work was so the guard could, as Carey put it, resolve a personal family issue. Yeah, personal family issue: Honey, I'm home because we have to talk about the size of the checks I'm going to be bringing home this season.

Instead of trying to mask the truth, Carey should have just said something akin to, "For business reasons the team cut my salary and for professional and personal reasons I accepted the cut and will remain here in the city I was born, grew up, went to college, and am playing for my favorite NFL team. I'm going to work hard and play hard despite the business decisions because I'm where I most want to be."

He would have looked like a hero. And if he has a bad game this season, no one would raise the thought that he is unmotivated because he was forced to take a pay cut.

Oh, and there is this: During one of his press conferences during the April draft, I asked general manager Jeff Ireland if the team might consider moving Carey to guard. He said no.

Well, it turns out Sparano had already spoken to Carey about the move before the NFL locked a month earlier.

"To be honest with you Vernon and I have had conversations about this a long time ago pre-lockout, pre- any of that," Sparano said Wednesday. "I’ve seen this happen with progression with offensive linemen at times." 

Thumbs up to Cameron Wake for staying in town the entire time during the lockout. The guy is a workout warrior and it showed Wednesday when practice was broiling. Wake didn't flinch, in part, because he is completely acclimated to the heat and in usual great shape.

Thumbs up to the coaching staff because I'm hearing good things from several people about their energy. Last year's staff was, shall we say, very experienced. This year's staff is younger. Moves faster. The pace is better.

My hope is when the playbook install is in, the pace of practice speeds up. The NFL game is fast. The Dolphins don't always play fast. Fact is, they are kind of a lumbering team. They kind of practice that way, too. Pace is too slow for me.

Move, move, move, move, move! Lessgo! Use that youth and energy, guys!

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