LOOKING FOR A GOOD ENDING

The Dolphins continue to practice without defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and Coach Dave Wannstedt said Wednesday there was nothing to report in terms of negotiations. The feeling is still that Ogunleye will still before the start of the regular season, but in the meantime the team's other defensive ends are trying to make the most of their opportunities.

Should the Ogunleye contract situation not get resolved, the Dolphins will go into the season with one of three players starting opposite Jason Taylor at defensive end: David Bowens, Jay Williams or Otis Grigsby.

Bowens currently is lining up with the first unit, which shouldn't be surprising he was No. 1 on the depth chart, ahead of Ogunleye, in 2002 before being sidelined by a hand injury.

Ogunleye replaced Bowens in the starting lineup at that time and the rest, as they say, is history.

So maybe there's a role reversal here. Maybe Bowens plays so well during training camp and the preseason that the Dolphins decide to keep him in the starting lineup even after Ogunleye returns.

OK, so that's a little far-fetched, but the truth is that Bowens actually is a pretty good player. He just hasn't been able to stay healthy.

There was the hand injury two years ago and then the infamous home incident that resulted in a torn knee ligament last June.

But whenever he's been in the lineup Bowens has made things happen with his quickness and his relentless pursuit.

Williams, for his part, is a terrific backup who once started for the St. Louis Rams. He had six sacks two seasons ago, but fell to two and a half last year, with Williams and defensive line coach Clarence Brooks saying that it was a matter of Williams not finishing plays.

Williams is a rock-solid veteran, but he just might be best suited for a role of backup and third-down situational rusher.

As for Grigsby, he's a young player the Dolphins had big hopes for. He has made steady progress since joining the team as an undrafted rookie, but it's doubtful he's ready to handle a full-time starting job just yet.

The Dolphins also worked out former Giants first-round pick Kenny Holmes on Wednesday, but he hasn't been that impressive in recent seasons.

The bottom line is that the Dolphins obviously want and need Ogunleye back, but from this vantage point we're very curious to see what Bowens could go if he were the full-time starter.

Having seen what he's done in his limited playing time, we're going to make the argument it wouldn't be nearly as big a drop-off as most people would anticipate.


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