FRONT AND CENTER

The offensive line, perhaps the most disappointing unit on the Dolphins this season, will get a chance to redeem itself Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. And the five guys up front better come through, or it could be a long night for the Dolphins.

The Eagles come to Pro Player Stadium riding an eight-game winning streak. It was built on a balanced offense and a defense that relied on pressuring opponents into making mistakes.

The way the Eagles do that is by blitzing and blitzing some more.

The New England Patriots had great success blitzing against the Dolphins on Sunday, and the Dolphins will have to do a much better job against the Eagles.

The Eagles will blitz on just about every down, and will do so with a wide variety of players, whether it be linebacker Nate Wayne or safety Brian Dawkins or cornerback Bobby Taylor.

That will put the pressure on the offensive line to recognize where the blitz is coming from and who needs to pick up who.

The Dolphins failed to do that against New England, the most obvious example coming when Randy McMichael left safety Rodney Harrison come in free to get a clean shot at Jay Fiedler, forcing a fumble that ended the Dolphins' biggest scoring threat.

Philadelphia hasn't been great at stopping the run lately, so the Dolphins might have the ability to do some damage on the ground. But that also will require a good performance up front, something that has bdeen too rare lately.

Guard Jamie Nails was asked Wednesday what was the greatest strength of the Dolphins offensive line. His answer was the guys up front stick together.

There are a couple of ways of looking at this. On the one hand, it's nice to no one is pointing finger; on the other, you'd like to hear an answer like consistency or run blocking or pass protection.

You know, something more tangible.

The offensive line, let's face it, has been a major trouble spot all season. But it could start making up for it Monday night.


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