Behind Enemy Lines: Bears/Dolphins, Part I

In Part I of an exclusive four-part series, BearReport.com's John M. Crist and DolphinDigest.com's Alain Poupart begin their back-and-forth interaction with five questions from John to Alain. What is the status of Daunte Culpepper, does the offense miss Ricky Williams, and where in the world is Chris Chambers? These Q&As and more inside.

John M. Crist, Editor in Chief, BearReport.com: Daunte Culpepper clearly wasn't ready to return so quickly from last year's devastating knee injury, so what is his status for the rest of the season in Miami?

Alain Poupart, Associate Editor, DolphinDigest.com: Coach Nick Saban said from the time the decision was made to sideline Culpepper that it would be a week-to-week evaluation. That said, it's not looking like it will be that soon because Culpepper has experienced soreness in his knee the last couple of weeks. It's also entirely possible the Dolphins at some point will simply decide to shut him down for the rest of the season.

John Crist: Nick Saban has always predicated his system on running the football and playing tough defense, so what in the Sam Hill was going on in Week 7 when Joey Harrington threw the ball 62 times?

Alain Poupart: The truth is the Packers weren't exactly stuffing Ronnie Brown all game long, but it seemed the Dolphins got impatient when they fell behind in the second half. That obviously happens when you're 1-5 and struggling to get anything going offensively.

John Crist: Ronnie Brown appears to be a very good tailback both running and receiving, but is the Dolphins ground game missing something with Ricky Williams not in there sharing the load?

Alain Poupart: Absolutely, undeniably, no question about it. The reason is simple: Even though Ronnie Brown has some ability, Ricky Williams remains a better running back. And you put the two together, you had perhaps the best 1-2 combination in the NFL. So now it's Ronnie Brown alone running behind a mediocre-at-best offensive line.

John Crist: Chris Chambers was a Pro-Bowler last season and the most productive receiver in the league in the second half, so what has led to his disappearing act this year?

Alain Poupart: There are a few factors. One of which has been the problems at quarterback with Culpepper, problems in pass protection, a lot of attention from defenses, and finally, Chambers himself. There are certain receivers who always find a way to get open no matter what (Steve Smith comes to mind), but Chambers simply isn't one of those guys. Chambers also has dropped his share of passes this season. What's most alarming is the fact he has made practically no big plays downfield this season.

John Crist: The Miami offensive line has been in shambles since Week 1, but is it injuries that are giving them a hard time, or is there simply a need for an influx of talent?

Alain Poupart: The answer is yes. The Dolphins have had bad luck at right guard, where Seth McKinney, Bennie Anderson, Joe Toledo and Joe Berger all were injured, but, really, is there anybody on this offensive line who could be called a great offensive lineman? Even a good one? Yet pretty much the same cast of characters performed fairly well late last season. It just didn't carry over to this season, although the line did play better in the last two games after L.J. Shelton was switched from left tackle to right guard and Damion McIntosh moved from right guard to left tackle.

Be on the lookout for Part II of this four-part series as John will answer five of Alain's questions.


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