Soon, he'll find out if he showed enough versatility to merit a
On a night when backups got a final shot to show their worth
before 53-man rosters are set Saturday, third-stringer Cleo Lemon
completed 21 of 28 passes for 271 yards -- including a 5-yard
scoring pass to Vick that helped the Dolphins beat the St. Louis
Rams 29-9 on Thursday night in both teams' preseason finale.
"I feel like I left everything out there," Vick said. "It's
up to the coaches now. Whatever they say is fine."
Olindo Mare made all five of his field-goal tries for the
Dolphins, who outgained St. Louis 379-148.
"It's nice to end with a win," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said.
"We didn't have a good start ... but I was pleased with the way we
kind of hung in there and had some guys get opportunities today and
Deke Cooper had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown
midway through the fourth quarter for Miami. Joey Harrington,
who'll start the season as Daunte Culpepper's backup, was 5-of-8
for 46 yards before Lemon took over.
"When your number is called, you've got to go out and play,"
Lemon said. "And that's what a lot of our young guys did."
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 7-for-14 for 94 yards in the first half for
"The guys who were out there were working hard," said Rams
coach Scott Linehan, who spent last season as Saban's offensive
coordinator. "You're going to see an exciting group and an
exciting offense on Sept. 10."
Other than the kickers, few starters logged any sort of playing
time for either team.
Marc Bulger paced the St. Louis sideline, donning a white hat
and carrying a clipboard. Daunte Culpepper spent most of his night
being a cheerleader, slapping fives with Miami teammates after big
plays and occasionally swaying in time with the music being piped
into Dolphin Stadium.
"You want to get the work, but there's that fine line with the
injury factor," Bulger said. "It is a business ... and we've got
a 16-game schedule."
St. Louis starts its schedule at home Sept. 10 against the
Denver Broncos. Miami opens the regular season next Thursday in
Pittsburgh against the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers.
"I think we've accomplished a lot in the preseason," Saban
said. "Obviously, we'll find out. We have a tremendous
opportunity, playing the world champions in the opening game."
Vick, the brother of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick,
was considered a longshot to make the 53-man roster back in May,
when the Dolphins took the former Virginia Tech star -- who was
kicked off that team following his junior season -- and signed him
as an undrafted rookie.
Now, the notion of him sticking around seems viable.
"I was just out there having fun," Vick said.
Vick replaced Lemon with 6:24 left for his first preseason
action at quarterback. Taking over deep in St. Louis territory
after a Rams turnover, Vick handed off twice, then scrambled for no
gain before Mare kicked a 32-yard field goal. Vick then kneeled
down three times on the final possession, running out the clock.
The Dolphins led 9-6 at halftime, with Mare and Wilkins
responsible for all the scoring.
Wilkins made field goals of 31 and 49 yards in the opening
quarter, before Mare connected from 27, 23 and 35 yards out in the
Vick's touchdown catch gave the Dolphins a 16-6 edge. Wilkins
hit a 43-yarder with 1:35 left in the third quarter, but Mare
answered with a 25-yarder with 7:23 left, and the Dolphins scored
10 more points in the final minutes to cap the scoring.
The Rams had the ball for 7 minutes in the second half. ...
Dolphins RB Sammy Morris suffered a foot injury after rushing four
times for 3 yards, and WR Kelly Campbell left with a quadriceps
injury. ... Rams LB Mike Goolsby recovered a third-quarter fumble,
helping set up Wilkins' third field goal. ... Miami RBs Gerald
Riggs Jr. and Kay-Jay Harris, both battling for a roster spot,
combined for 41 yards on 11 carries in the third quarter. Most of
those came on two runs, a 20-yarder by Riggs and 16-yarder by