Defense Putting the Pats Behind

Coach Tony Sparano gave his team a message on Wednesday and that message was clear: Forget about the 38-24 season-opening loss against the New England Patriots on Monday night. Put it in the past. Don't think about it. On to Houston.

The Dolphins on Sunday host the Texans at Sun Life Stadium and Sparano wants his players focused on the task ahead. And not on the defensive disaster that was the defeat against the Patriots.

In defeat, the Dolphins allowed Tom Brady a career-high 517 yards. Brady picked apart the Dolphins like they'd never been picked apart before.

Indeed, no Dolphins team in history had every allowed as many passing yards.

The performance was so bad that cornerback Benny Sapp, who played on the inside as a nickel back on Monday night, was cut earlier this week. The Dolphins then re-signed veteran cornerback Will Allen, whom the team had cut after the final preseason game.

Allen was hampered by a knee injury throughout the preseason but Sparano said Allen was healthier now than he was when the team cut him two weeks ago.

"I felt like it was something we needed to do," Sparano said of bringing back Allen, who hasn't played in a regular season game since 2009.

Sparano wouldn't say much else about the issues that cost his team on Monday. There were plenty -- blown assignments in the secondary; poor tackling; an inability to cover Patriots tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

Kevin Burnett, the inside linebacker the Dolphins acquired at the start of the preseason camp, was supposed to provide an upgrade in pass coverage over the departed Channing Crowder. But Burnett appeared as lost against the pass as the rest of his teammates.

Still, Sparano said on Wednesday he wasn't focused on the mishaps against the Patriots. Instead, he was looking forward to what he hopes will be a better performance against the Texans -- another pass-happy team.

"On to Houston," Sparano told reporters. "You can waste time talking about anything else you want to but I got work to do upstairs."


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