TIME TO TAKE CHANCES

It's pretty obvious that the current approach used by the Dolphins combined with the personnel in place will only take this team so far this season. And since little can be done about the personnel until the offseason, we say it's time to change the approach.

Very simply, the Dolphins need to start taking some chances, whether it be in the play-calling, going for it on fourth down, maybe gambling a little on defense, or simply using the personnel differently.

There were a couple of situations against New England we found particularly troubling.

The first that stands out is the Dolphins punting on fourth-and-3 from the Patriots 38-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Come on, take a chance. This was a rare scoring opportunity for the Dolphins and they should have gone for it.

The next was the series after the interception return for a touchdown that made the score 10-0. The Dolphins ran Ricky Williams three straight times, including on third-and-1. When he was stopped short at the Miami 36, the Dolphins punted.

Sorry, bad move. There was about 7:30 left in the game and the Dolphins needed two scores. They simply couldn't afford to give up the ball.

Unfortunately, those two decisions are totally typical of the way Dave Wannstedt has coached since taking over in 2000. He is a defensive guy first.

But there are times when the situation dictates that you have to be aggressive, and Wannstedt's biggest flaw as a coach is that he always takes the safe approach and hopes things will work out.

Well, they didn't on Sunday and they haven't too many times during his Miami tenure.

Moving to personnel, is there nobody on this roster who can return punts and kickoffs. The Dolphins have gotten nothing from their return game this season and it's not like their offense couldn't use the help.

So why try a James McKnight on kickoff returns? He's already shown big-play capability and Dolphins coaches keep saying he's the best receiver on the team after the catch. Can he possibly be more anemic than Travis Minor?

And how giving Kendall Newson another chance on punt returns. Yes, he dropped the ball in the Sunday night game against Washington. But that was one time and he hasn't been back there yet.

Do this, put Newson back there unless the Dolphins are pinned back close to the goal line and then use someone more sure-handed, say, Terrell Buckley.

Again, maybe that provides a spark.

It's not like the Dolphins couldn't use a little something right now, don't you think?


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