With only six practices on his Dolphin resume, it seems almost unfair that inside linebacker Kevin Burnett has to make his debut with the first-team defense in Friday night's pre-season opener at Atlanta.

Burnett's take: It's football.

"In this day and age you've been through enough battles, especially if you've been a starter in this league, that you know what to expect," Burnett said after Wednesday's final workout before the pre-season opener. "So I should be prepared to go out and play 20-30 snaps, if not the whole game. You have to be prepared to do it at any time, and do it at a high level."

Burnett certainly did it at a high level last year, not only playing on the San Diego Chargers' top-ranked defense but leading the team in tackles. In one year he made more defensive big plays - defined as sacks (6), interceptions (2), forced fumbles (1) and fumble recoveries (1) - than the guy he replaced, Channing Crowder, has made in his career.
For all that, Burnett, 28, a six-year veteran who was a second-round pick of Dallas in 2005, is unknown to Dolphin fans. If he's feeling any pressure to demonstrate his skills, he doesn't show it.

"I'm not anxious; I just want to go play my game," he said. "Nobody's expectations are higher than mine."