MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Drew Brees wore a uniform -- and even eye black -- but never played. Ryan Tannehill also watched from the sideline, laughing at the Kiss Cam when it showed during a timeout on the scoreboard video screen. The final preseason game for the Saints and Dolphins was for reserves, and Miami third-string quarterback Pat Devlin rallied his team to a 24-21 victory Thursday night. Devlin threw for 259 yards, including a 56-yard pass to Marvin McNutt on fourth-and-4 with 3:02 left for the winning score. "A lot of games in this league are decided inside five minutes," coach Joe Philbin said. "It was nice to see our guys step up and make some plays." Many of the players who took part will be out of work by Saturday, when teams must reach their 53-man roster limit. The fans knew it, which is why the stadium was two-thirds empty for the wrapup to the exhibition season. "Youre glad its over," Saints backup quarterback Luke McCown said. "The hays in the barn. Now its time to get down to what really matters." The Saints (3-1) open the season Sept. 8 against Atlanta eager to rebound from a 2012 season that went wrong from the start following their bounty scandal. The Dolphins (2-3) open at Cleveland the same day, hoping to end a streak of four consecutive losing seasons. Philbin said the Dolphins are better than a year ago, when they went 7-9 in his first season as an NFL head coach. "We had an excellent training camp," he said. "Weve covered a lot of ground and a ton of different situations." By the start of the season, the final exhibition game will be long forgotten. A neutral zone infraction by the New Orleans defence on the first play signalled the quality of what was to come. The game was the Saints first in Miami since they beat Indianapolis in the Super Bowl four years ago, but this New Orleans team bore little resemblance to that one. The only first-teamers to start were receiver Marques Colston and centre Brian de la Puente. McCown played one series, directing a 14-play touchdown drive, and went 4 for 7 for 44 yards. Ryan Griffin, an undrafted rookie, went 15 for 31 for 198 yards and one interception to end the Saints final scoring threat. Undrafted rookie Khiry Robinson ran for 115 yards in 22 carries and caught six passes for 50 yards, while Mark Ingram scored on an 8-yard touchdown run. Both lost a fumble. New Orleans had four turnovers and committed 11 penalties. "We did some good things, but we killed ourselves in a lot of ways," Ingram said. "We have to clean that up. Weve got to take care of the ball." Robinson said he didnt know whether he helped his chances of making the team. "Im just waiting to see whats going to happen, waiting and praying," he said. "I went out there and gave it all I had. Its a numbers game. You never know." Right guard John Jerry was the only Miami first-teamer to start. Devlin, just hoping to make the roster, went 22 for 38 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. "Pat has an excellent mastery of the system," Philbin said. "He has very good poise, and he stepped up and made a play when we had to have one." McNutt caught four passes for 99 yards. Hes also battling for a spot on the roster. "I dont know what theyre thinking," McNutt said. "You just have to pray for the best." Rishard Matthews helped his chances of winning the No. 4 receiving job by making three catches for 37 yards. Rookie Dion Sims, who is challenging Charles Clay for playing time at tight end, caught four passes for 36 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown. Rookie Mike Gillislee ran for 47 yards in 14 carries. Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis, who won a job in training camp, went 3 for 3 on field goals and finished 9 for 9 in preseason. Top draft pick Dion Jordan missed his third consecutive game because of a lingering shoulder injury but said he hopes to play in the opener. "Its really testing my patience," said. "Its a hill to climb. Im climbing that hill." Notes: The Saints had 24 first downs and outgained Miami 417-289. ... The Dolphins had fewer penalties than their opponents in every exhibition game. MLB Jerseys China. Fair or not, its championship or bust for the star-studded Heat, who is squaring off with the much-improved Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in South Florida. Wholesale MLB Jerseys. The 32-year-old native of Duncan, B.C, who fights out of Las Vegas, is coming off a loss to fellow Canadian Mark Bocek in his return to the UFC at UFC 145 in April. http://www.salejerseyswholesale.com/Mlb-jerseys.html. -- Bob Baffert is down to one horse for the Kentucky Derby after early 6-1 second choice Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of a sore left front foot.PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The salary cap is going up and business is booming, but still the NHL often gets the most attention for ugly stuff that happens on the ice. Ugly was front and centre Saturday night during the Boston Bruins-Pittsburgh Penguins game that led to two suspensions and three players on the injured list. But instead of expressing concern over Shawn Thornton and James Neal, the leagues board of governors gave vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan a thumbs up for his handling of discipline. "I believe the sense of the room is that Brendan Shanahan and the department of player safety has the confidence of the board of governors. He certainly has my confidence," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Its about modifying an element of the games culture and we think weve made positive, dramatic steps forward." When Thornton is suspended following an in-person hearing Friday, it will be the 19th ban this season that costs players at least one regular-season game. The first 18 suspensions added up to 77 games, including Neals five for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head. But Shanahan told the board Tuesday that among roughly 55,000 hits over the course of a year, only 50 to 100 are problematic. General managers have noticed a major change over time. "Youre not going to rid yourself of suspensions and what have you, but weve certainly come so much farther," Nashville Predators GM David Poile said. "I mean, look where we were. Ive been around for a long time, and some of the stuff that happened in the so-called old days, to where we are now, its so much better for the players and a so much better game." Its a different game, too. Some of the same hits that used to be acceptable are now spelled out as illegal. Shanahan has taken to producing videos showing examples, something that earned praise from Bettman. "My guess is people dont analyse the things he does in the detail that he does, and if you study the videos that hes put online, the specific instances where supplemental discipline is imposed or the more general tapes that hes put online explaining what the standards are of play, people should take a great deal of comfort that were being extraordinarily proactive," Bettman said. The next step could be harsher punishments as more of a deterrent for players. But general managers didnt display much of an appetite for change in that regard. "If managers and the board of governors want the suspensions to increase, I think that thats a direction theyll certainly give me," Shanahan said. "I can say from my perspective that I think that players do feel the effect of the suspension. Whether its two games or a lot more games, I think that players dont like being in that position, they dont like the game being taken away from them." General managers dont want the game taken away from its roots, either. Shanahan gave his usual update on player safety on the second and final day of the board of governors meeting at the Inn at Spanish Bay, and Peter Chiarelli of the Boston Bruins emphasized that the league can absolutely have hitting and progress with safety at the same time. "You can have both and you should, and theres a respect factor that the players have to adapt, and theey are," Chiarelli said.dddddddddddd "Theres a physical component to the game. Its just going to be a continuing challenge. Youre going to have discussions like these, youre going to have incidents like these. It may be longer suspensions, but you cant have a physical game without having these things." New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said Monday evening that the onus is on players to follow the rules. Its his hope that maybe the fear of a season-long suspension will stop some of the violence around the league. Poile believes the incidents in the Penguins and Bruins game represented much more of an isolated incident than a trend. "I would think that the type of thing that Neal did, I cant even remember seeing something like that," Poile said. "And Shawn Thornton, he seems to be a stand-up guy, always seems to play his role really well. Hes already said he made a mistake, and hes going to pay for that. He knows that. And I dont think that stuff is going to happen very much. You cant say never, because its a physical game and thats why we partially like the game. Stuff is going to happen." How much stuff has happened was what Shanahan updated the board on Tuesday. As for the future of suspensions, it wont be much different right away. "There has to be the due process and it has to evolve and stuff," Chiarelli said. "You cant just say, All right, lets change the template. You cant say that. Its not fair to the process, its not fair to all the parties. You guys talk about trends and opinions on certain trends, and we do the same thing. In due course that will manifest itself." In addition to talk about player safety, deputy commissioner Bill Daly provided the board with a logistical update on the Sochi Olympics and a joint evaluation of substance-abuse policy between the league and the NHLPA. The deaths of Rick Rypien, Wade Belak and Derek Boogaard in the summer of 2012 prompted a look at how players mental health is handled. "We commissioned jointly with the Players Association and co-operated with them on an independent review of our program and I reported on the results of that review today," Daly said. "The bottom line is the report was good, that the program is doing what it is intended to do, it is helping players and former players in times of need." Daly updated the governors on what to expect from the Olympics and during the NHLs break, along with some logistical elements. Bettman said the governors were briefed on the leagues discussions with the NHLPA about reviving the World Cup of Hockey but predictably did not have any new information to share. "I think its no secret that we collectively believe having a world cup on a regular basis makes sense, the specifics were not there yet on," Bettman said. Bettman reiterated the NHL has no formal plans to expand beyond 30 teams, though he did spend a good portion of his time with reporters fielding questions about expansion. He did not rule it out in the near future. "Were getting lots of expressions of interest and no decisions have been made to do anything other than listen," he said. "We havent embarked on a formal expansion process, but when people want to talk to us we listen." ' ' '
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