Fins break minicamp with unfinished business
DAVIE, Fla. -- Minicamps and organized team activities are a time of lollipops and rainbows.
All is wonderful. Rookies have big upside. Veterans are in the best shape of their lives. Every club is headed for the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was pleased enough with his team's offseason program he canceled two of next week's three remaining OTAs. One more practice and they're on their own until training camp.
Reporters won't have any access to the team between now and then, so I had to ask Sparano what he disliked. Sparano is a straight shooter. There had to be something.
Their work in the red zone was the one thing Sparano "didn't finish these OTAs with feeling really tremendous about."
None of the Dolphins three quarterbacks -- Chad Pennington was back Sunday after missing Saturday's minicamp sessions to attend his sister's wedding -- had much success near the goal line. Chad Henne zipped a nice pass to rookie tight end John Nalbone, who beat rookie safety Chris Clemons in the end zone. The ball sailed through Nalbone's hands.
"That red area is an area that nobody in this league can take for granted," Sparano said. "You never feel comfortable down there, and you never feel like you got enough [work]."
When it came to red-zone touchdowns, Miami ranked third in the AFC and seventh in the NFL by breaking the plane 60 percent of the time it got inside the 20-yard line. It scored 27 touchdowns on 45 trips.
But when you factor in field goals, Miami ranked 19th in scoring percentage at 84.4 percent. Seven times, Miami got inside the 20 and came away with no points.
The Dolphins can expect to get drilled over and over in Wednesday's OTA finale.
"It's hard to practice, especially when you're practicing in helmets and T-shirts," Sparano said. "I think the quarterbacks particularly, but really both sides of the ball, things happen a lot faster down there, so you're looking for the speed and you don't quite get it. That can frustrate you sometimes.
"As many at-bats as we can get down there in that area will help us. That's one of the deals we felt was still out there to clean up."
Final Philadelphia 24 Washington 27 Final/OT San Diego 38 San Francisco 35
10:14 4th Qtr Seattle 28 Arizona 6 Final Minnesota 35 Miami 37 Final Baltimore 13 Houston 25 Final Detroit 20 Chicago 14 Final Cleveland 13 Carolina 17 Final Atlanta 30 New Orleans 14 Final Green Bay 20 Tampa Bay 3 Final Kansas City 12 Pittsburgh 20 Final New England 17 New York 16 Final New York 37 St. Louis 27 Final Buffalo 24 Oakland 26 Final Indianapolis 7 Dallas 42