Seeking to shake the label of free-agent bust, Wilford caught a 33-yard touchdown pass against his former team for the game's lone touchdown Monday night, and Miami beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 12-9.
It was only a preseason game, and Wilford's big play came against reserves, but it suggested his recent move to tight end might work. He made only three catches for 25 yards as a wide receiver last season after signing a four-year contract for $6 million guaranteed.
"There's a sense of urgency for me," Wilford said. "I want to play well this year. It's a good start."
Wilford juked past a defender and ran the final 15 yards after catching Chad Henne's pass. Wilford then spiked the ball with zeal uncommon in an exhibition game.
"That was a lot of frustration right there," he said. "I didn't play that much last year, so I had to let it out."
Henne played about half the game and looked sharp, going 7 for 11 for 94 yards with one interception.
Many starters were gone by the end of the first quarter, and the game was filled with penalties and sputtering offense. Heavy rain in the third quarter further contributed to the sloppiness.
Garrard went 4 for 7 for 22 yards in three series. He encountered heavy pressure and led the Jaguars to only one first down.
"We have to get better at some of the protection issues," Garrard said. "I have to make sure I get everybody lined up in the right spots."
The lone first down with Garrard came on a 10-yard completion to newly acquired Torry Holt. That was the only reception by Holt, a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver.
"I had been anticipating this day for a long time," Holt said. "I enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun. I am looking forward to many more."
"My long arms came in handy," Smith said. "My whole focus is to go out and get better and show the guys in this locker room that I can play."
Smith started and played much of the game, while his competition at cornerback, first-round draft pick Vontae Davis, drew three penalties. Davis was flagged for pass interference on third down, for fair-catch interference on a punt, and for a personal foul on a punt return.
"I learned three times," Davis said. "I was just too enthusiastic. It was my first game. I've got to slow down."
The teams reported only one injury, and it's not believed to be serious. Jacksonville middle linebacker Justin Durant hurt his hip flexor in the first quarter and didn't return.
Jacksonville's revamped starting offensive line played the entire first half. First-round draft pick Eugene Monroe, who signed a $25 million, five-year contract Friday, saw action off the bench at left tackle.
"We are going to be physical up front," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "I liked what we did up front."
A holding penalty negated Bouman's 23-yard touchdown pass to Chauncey Washington.
For the Dolphins, undrafted rookie Chris Williams averaged 31.8 yards on four kickoff returns, and he had a 27-yard punt runback negated by a penalty. Ricky Williams carried 10 times for 31 yards but dropped a pass from Henne in the end zone.
Henne's first full series was a 14-play, 55-yard drive that ended in a field goal.
"Overall I thought I played pretty well," said Henne, Pennington's heir apparent. "I got some points on the board and had us moving."
The Dolphins' Dan Carpenter, battling to keep his kicking job, made a 48-yard field goal. His extra-point try, kicked from the muddy infield, was blocked. His challenger, Connor Barth, made a 27-yard field goal.
|In his first game as TE, Ernest Wilford shakes off a defender en route to his first TD as a Dolphin. (AP)|
|Mon. Aug. 17||Final|
|JAC - Pass: T. Bouman (10-18, 130), Rec: T. Williamson (4-74)|
MIA - Pass: C. Henne (7-11, 94), Rush: L. Hilliard (9-42)
|FG||Dan Carpenter 48 Yd, 4:42. Drive: 10 plays, 35 yards in 5:54.|
|FG||Josh Scobee 43 Yd, 9:10. Drive: 8 plays, 52 yards in 4:21.|
|FG||Connor Barth 27 Yd, 2:09. Drive: 14 plays, 55 yards in 7:01.|
|FG||Josh Scobee 36 Yd, 0:08. Drive: 9 plays, 48 yards in 2:01.|
|FG||Josh Scobee 43 Yd, 7:20. Drive: 6 plays, 8 yards in 3:23.|
|TD||Ernest Wilford, 33 Yd pass from Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter kick Failed), 5:44. Drive: 3 plays, 46 yards in 1:36.|
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