Johnson, Allen Make Strides in Preseason Finale

Little to learn from the Dolphins last preseason game

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Larry Johnson waltzes into the endzone against the Dallas Cowboys

    Only a fool would try to draw any major conclusions from the fourth and final game of the preseason, and Thursday's Dolphins win over the Dallas Cowboys provides no exception to that rule.

    Sure, Miami won handily but all that proves is that the Dolphins' backups are better than the Cowboys' backups.

    Dolphins coach Tony Sparano sat all his starters against the Cowboys, even the offensive line, who certainly could have used the reps.

    It was a bit of an odd move for Sparano, considering he has spent most of training camp lamenting the fact that the NFL lockout meant his team got fewer practices in than usual.

    Apparently he thought the risk of injury was not worth the benefit from giving the starters any extra reps, which is prudent enough.

    Miami's backups performed well, and a few may have done enough to make sure they stick with the team after it makes its final round of roster cuts this weekend. The Dolphins have to trim the roster from 80 players to 53, which gave most of Thursday's participants plenty of motivation to perform.

    Cornerback Will Allen, who has spent most of the past two seasons injured and found himself on the training camp bubble, showed why he still belongs on the team. He tipped a pass in the end-zone to teammate Tyrone Culver, who nabbed the interception and spoiled a Dallas scoring opportunity.

    "You know what's crazy about it?" Allen said to the Miami Herald Thursday. "What's crazy is that I had more anxiety and wanted to play more in this preseason game than any preseason game I've ever played."

    Newly acquired running back Larry Johnson also made a strong case to make the final roster, rushing for 39 yards on 10 carries, 22 of those yards came on a first quarter touchdown run.

    Clyde Gates was a bright spot as well, showing off the blazing speed that caught Miami's attention before last April's draft on a 42-yard reception in the third quarter. He finished with 5 catches for 80 yards.

    The Dolphins have 10 long days to prepare for their primetime season opener against the New England Patriots on Sept. 12.

    The appetizer portion of the season is over, and the main course will be arriving shortly.