The Dolphins' third preseason game is tomorrow night, and as most NFL fans know, this is the game in which the starters get major minutes as they work on their timing. The fourth preseason game is little more than a dress rehearsal for backups and third-stringers, making tomorrow's game the last time you'll see Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown get major playing time until the season opener in Atlanta.
And that's just how Tony Sparano plans to do it, announcing that Pennington will play the entire first half, with Chad Henne playing the second half.
Second round pick Pat White was not mentioned, but he will probably see some action anyway.
The offensive line will go for three quarters, with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown running the ball most of the time. That means we won't see much of preseason star Lex Hilliard until the fourth quarter.
Hilliard has been a big surprise, leading the Fins in rushing with 94 yards and a TD through the first two games.
Tomorrow's game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
There was speculation that kick returner/receiver Chris Williams had been injured in the Dolphins' last preseason game, and that has been confirmed. Williams apparently broke his left hand in the Carolina game, though it was before he fumbled a punt return late in the first half that turned out to be his last play as a Dolphin. Williams was waived injured Monday.
T.J. Turner, a mainstay of the Dolphins' defensive line from 1986-1992, died after complications of a stroke Tuesday. He was only 46.
I have a fond memory of Turner, as I still own his player card from a set during the 1987 season, the year Joe Robbie (now Land Shark Stadium) opened.
His early death seems to be a recurring theme in pro football, where the life expectancy for ex-NFLers is much lower than the national average, and is even lower than their counterparts in pro baseball, basketball and hockey. Too many collisions between large men causing untold trauma to the body.
We don't know if that had anything to do with what happened to Turner, but it's still sad that another former pro has died too soon.