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PS3: Dolphins 24, Kansas City 0 (Final); Pennington, Ginn, defense shine

Aaa1kc Aaa1md     What we found out: Chad Pennington, not Chad Henne, should start this season as the quarterback. Run Ricky Run is alive and well in 2008. Ted Ginn might not be the boo-deserving draft pick we once thought. The Chiefs are really bad. And the Dolphins might not be.

     Click on Thinking the Unthinkable for my column off the game.

     Your thoughts on the game are welcome here, along with your perspective on how this game and the preseason so far have shaped your expectations for '08.

     In-game chatter:

     Chiefs miss 48-yard FG with 2:05 left to preserve shutout.

     John Beck QB'ing in garbage time. Tough to read what that means, him playing instead of Josh McCown. Bad night for Henne: 2-7, 14 yards, and the one pick.

     Jalen Parmele 80-yard run puts Miami inside KC 10, mid-4Q, and Parmele finishes it with a 2-yard TD run.

     Michael Lehan interception and 28-yard return puts Fish at KC 11, late third quarter. Then Henne to Davone Bess for 8 to the Chiefs 2. But Henne picked off in end zone. Ouch.

     Chad Henne replaces Pennington with 4:58 left in third. Solid numbers for C-Penn: 11 for 15, 94 yards, 1 TD, no picks.

     Goalline stand for Dolphins highlights third quarter, keeps shutout intact. Rookie Phillip Merling stuffed Larry Johnson for 1-yard loss on 4th and goal from the 1.

     Halftime: Dolphins up 17-0, with a Renaldo Hill interception ending it. Complete half. Offense, defense, special teams. Be interesting to see if Pennington or Henne starts third Q.

     Now told Jason Taylor being evaluated for a right knee injury. Was writhing in pain on field.

     Bulletin: A Redskins friend of mine just texted that Jason Taylor has suffered a serious knee injury. Hope not, and don't take as gospel. Just what I've heard.

     Chad Pennington 17-yard TD strike to TE Anthony Fasano! Dolphins dominating with 9:36 left in 1H. Bad opponent, but impressive nevertheless.

     Apparent Chad Pennington TD pass to Justin Peele ruled out of back of end zone. Very close, but on replay apparently a fair call. Miami's challenge is denied.

     Dolphin D forces turnover, Channing Crowder causing the fumble and Matt Roth recovering at KC 22.

     Ted Ginn 59-yard punt return TD! It's Miami 10-nil, early 2Q. Drafting Ginn, at a moment likes this, seems less and less dumb, although I still think Ginn needs to become a top receiver not just a good return man to justify an overall No. 9 selection.

     Dolphin D forces a second straight punt.

     Dolphs punting on 4th and 1 from own 46. A bit conservative for August, but an indication Miami is treating this like a real game that it wants to win.

     First Miami defensive series. KC doesn't get past own 28, then a Joey Porter sack and a punt as a very solid first quarter ends.

     Dan Carpenter 19-yard chippie FG; rook's now 7-for-7 this preseason. Dolphins impressive opening drive stalls late. Still, gotta love a 15-play, 10-minute drive, even if it does end up with a Cam Cameronish concession on 4th and goal from the 1.

     Game on!

     Pregame chatter:

     An appropriate moment of silence for Gene Upshaw.

     Dolphins offense just introduced. Biggest hands, in order: Ricky Williams, Chad Pennington, Jake Long, Vernon Carey.

     Is it poor form to stay seated during a religious invocation? I honestly don't know. Does that make me a heathen? 

     Tonight's crowd will include 6,000 local youth football players. There were times during last year' 1-15 season when the kids might have seemed like an upgrade, no?

     By the way Bill Parcells' birthday was yesterday. Wherever you are, sing "Happy Birthday to Tuna..." It'll make you feel good. Mostly it'll make you feel silly.

     Tonight's honorary captains are Trent Gamble, Sean Hill, Jim Jensen and Twan Russell. Gotta say, no offense, but except for Crash, that's close to scraping the bottom of the barrel isn't it?

     Y'all know by now to look for my chatter up here in the main body of the blog, with the most recent update always up top, like this one. I hope that's more reader-friendly. My steadfast policy is to not artificially pad the Comments section with my own. Just finished a small tub of pressbox popcorn. It wasn't bad. Meaning I must have been hungry.

     Hello all, I have arrived at The Joe, where the early crowd is sparse and somebody put a baseball diamond on the field. Quick news: No Ronnie Brown tonight, which is no surprise. As I suggested in a column earlier this week, I suspect Ronnie is a lot further from being fully ready than has been implied.

     Original post:

     [Bulletin: Unlike UM's Robert Marve, no Dolphin quarterback has been suspended for busting a mirror off a car because he was angry after a fight with his girlfriend and then briefly trying to flee from police. That we know of]. 

     NFL coaches in general including Tony Sparano tend to call the third exhibition game the truest "dress rehearsal" for the regular-season opener. Depth charts are fairly set and starters ("Your varsity," says Sparano) likely will play into the third quarter. It is a game being played to win, whereas the first two are mostly for talent evaluation and the last tends to be for fine-tuning and for playing to not get hurt.

     What it means is this: Miami needs to beat Kansas City tonight. The rebuilding Chiefs are supposed to be awful. Worse than the rebuilding Dolphins. A first-half struggle could be a true ominous sign for Miami.

     Quarterback play will be interesting to watch tonight in light of Sparano saying it's a Battle of the Chads for No. 1. Have to think Pennington is the striong favorite, but what if Henne is clearly better again?

     Your thoughts before, during and of course after the game are invited here.