Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 8/31/12
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins are down to the NFL roster limit of 53. Not that it means a lot. After a winless preseason, the Dolphins will remain quite active in searching for talent after a Friday in which they waived or released 21 players and traded backup center Ryan Cook to Dallas for a 2013 seventh-round pick to get to the required roster number. This is a team that needs help. Miami is extremely weak at wide receiver, although there at least was good news Friday, when Brian Hartline practiced after missing the entire preseason with a calf injury. There are four quarterbacks on the roster, and one soon could be moved. And there are only three cornerbacks still around after three were dumped Friday. There were no big surprises with the moves to get down to 53. The biggest name let go was wide receiver Clyde Gates, a fourth-round pick in 2011, but he hadn't had much of a preseason. So now the Dolphins wait. How will their roster look after they scour the waiver wire in an effort to bring him some guys before the Sept. 9 opener at Houston? "We can't control it," said Davone Bess, joined on the roster at wide receiver by Hartline, Legedu Naanee, Marlon Moore and Rishard Matthews after B.J. Cunningham, Jeff Fuller, Chris Hogan and Roberto Wallace also were let go Friday. "If they feel they need to address the wide receiver position, we got to do what's best for the team." From the looks of the preseason, the Dolphins better do something. They went 0-4 while being outscored 96-43. Only the New York Jets scored fewer points in the preseason. "I think a lot of is mental," said Bess, claiming the team has looked good in practice before getting stage fright in games. "Probably taking a nonchalant approach." If that is the case, maybe the Dolphins will wake up when they realize the games now start to count. "We got to clean it up and clean it up quick because the real bullets start flying in a week," said tackle Jake Long. Whether Long will be armed for the opener remains to be seen. After hurting his knee in practice last Monday, he didn't want to speculate on whether or not he will be ready. But Dolphins coach Joe Philbin expressed optimism he will be. As for Hartline, he has few doubts. "I got in a full practice, which was awesome," Hartline said of Friday. "I'm going to be ready barring any setbacks." That's good news for Ryan Tannehill, who will become the first Dolphins rookie quarterback to start his first game. He was victimized in the preseason by receivers who often couldn't get open and often dropped the ball when they did. Other quarterbacks on the roster are David Garrard, who had been No. 1 on the depth chart until suffering a knee injury just before the preseason opener, Matt Moore, who had a disastrous preseason after being the starter last year, and young Pat Devlin. There is a chance Moore soon could be traded although Garrard will miss the opener and not be back until sometime later in the September. "That's possible," Philbin, whose Dolphins can sign as many as eight players to the practice squad, said of the chances of keeping four quarterbacks. "I think you've heard me say on multiple occasions what I think of (Miami's quarterbacks) We'll see. I'm not exactly sure how long that's going to be. Could be for a long time. I wouldn't rule it out. Philbin was very pleased with the play of Tannehill. That was one of the few saving graces of the preseason. "Obviously, I was disappointed the other evening," Philbin said of the 30-13 loss at Dallas in the finale. "I think we've made progress as a football team overall. I'd be really concerned if (Tannehill) had thrown the ball into triple coverage seven or eight times in the preseason. If our backs had just fumbled the ball incessantly, I'd be very concerned. We do have to do some things better. There's no doubt about it. Offensively, we've got to finish drives We've got to tackle better We've got to disrupt the passing game better." While Tannehill had his moments, the only NFL quarterback in the preseason to have a lower rating than Moore's 37.5 was the Jets' Tim Tebow at 26.5. The Dolphins had trouble running, averaging a meager 3.7 yards per carry. Miami's defense was strong last season when it gave up 19.6 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL. It was less impressive during a preseason in which the Dolphins allowed 24.0 points per game. "I'm not concerned, but at the same time I know there's a lot of work we got to do," defensive end Cameron Wake said of the winless preseason. "There's yet to be a full game played on all fronts, offense, defense and special teams You can't have that. You don't have those letdowns everywhere." Actually, it does sound as if Wake has concern. Then again, there is one big positive about the preseason. "I'm glad it's over," said linebacker Karlos Dansby. "I'm glad it's over. I'm glad it's over." One thing that certainly doesn't appear to be over is Miami's roster tinkering. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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