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Panthers 19, Dolphins 10

     [Updated Friday, 8-25, in the wake of the 19-10 loss in Carolina that puts Miami's pretend-game record at 1-2. Didn't think it was a displeasing or discouraging result overall. The defense looked terrific. Playoff-caliber. Thought Culpepper looked sharp, even though he didn't produce a TD. Downers? Special teams had issues, and O-line looking iffy. Aside to offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey: On 4th-and-goal from the Carolina 1, probably not a good idea to plunge Ronnie Brown head-first into that mess. How about a Daunte rollout there?]

     What we'd written before the game: Putting a bit more emphasis on tonight's result than in the first two exhibitions, partly because it's getting late enough in the preseason that building momentum is a factor, and partly because Carolina is judged a Super Bowl contender and has strengths to challenge Dolphin weaknesses.

     Mainly will be interested to see how Miami's offensive line will protect Daunte Culpepper and pave holes for Ronnie Brown against one of the NFL's premier defensive lines. Three things I'll be watching for: Improvement in the OL; Culpepper's increasing comfort level and continued good health; and DB Jason Allen to show us why he was a No. 1 pick.

     Inviting your comments here on the game. Who or what impressed you or didn't? And how close to regular-season-ready do the Dolphins appear to be?

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