REALITY HITS HARD

Dolphins players showed up at their training facility on Monday knowing there would be no playoff trip because of Denver's victory over the Indianapolis Colts. So they were left with dealing with that disappointment while trying to stay focused on the season finale against the Jets.

"It's disappointing, but we've got one more game to go," said quarterback Jay Fiedler. "We signed up for at least 16 games and we're going to go out and play 16. We're goin to go about this game to try to get a win like every other week."

Most Dolphins players wound up watching the Sunday night game between the Broncos and Colts, and it was a frustrating experience for all.

"It was hard to just watch our fate go up in smoke like it did," said defensive tackle Larry Chester. "At one point, I said, why? But in my faith, I never question it. It happened for a reason, and I feel it happened to bring us closer together."

As their coach, Dave Wannstedt, did earlier Monday, Dolphins players spoke about the significance of winning against the Jets Sunday and finishing the season with 10 victories.

"A lot of teams would love to be in our position because we have something to build on," said cornerback Sam Madison.

But the bottom line is that while the Dolphins may have something to build on, the reality is they'll be watch the playoffs on television for the second consecutive year, something that hasn't happened in Miami since the team went four straight years without making the playoffs from 1986-89.

"Ten wins any year is good," said defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, "but making the playoffs is the ultimate goal. So it's disappointing."


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