QB not the only problem

To the satisfaction of many, Coach Dave Wannstedt has decided to go with A.J. Feeley at quarterback for the Dolphins' Sunday night game at Cincinnati. But those who think Feeley will be the cure-all for this offense might have another thing coming.

This is not meant as a knock on Feeley or as an endorsement for Jay Fiedler because we have advocated the need for the Dolphins to go with Feeley before.

To refresh your memory, our thinking is that we all know by now what Fiedler can do, what he can't do, or how good he can become. He can run a little bit, he's a good team leader, he can get on hot streaks, but he can't throw the deep ball, he will make bad decisions at times, and at his best he's a decent quarterback who can get you a win if the other facets of the game are playing well.

We don't know what Feeley can do if given the chance, so that's why he needs to be in there.

But here are a couple of sobering realities: First, if Feeley was so good, he would have started at Oregon ahead of Joey Harrington, who's not exactly lighting it up with the Detroit Lions, and he would have beaten out Koy Detmer for the No. 2 job in Philly behind Donovan McNabb.

Second, the Dolphins' problems on offense run far deeper than the quarterback position.

The sad truth is that the Dolphins have made some nice acquisitions and actually have a pretty good group of skill position players outside of quarterback with the likes of Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, Randy McMichael and Lamar Gordon.

But they'll never get much of a chance if the offensive line doesn't improve a lot ... and quickly.

The Dolphins offensive line was bad last year, and tragically it's looking even worse right now. The bottom line is that this group hasn't produced and hasn't shown indications that it will produce.

The running game can't go anywhere when there's no holes and opposing teams can just tee off on the quarterbacks.

We're not going to put Saturday's loss to Tennessee solely on the offensive line because Fiedler had time to throw on the two interceptions he gave up.

But on the killer interception that Feeley threw, linebacker Keith Bulluck was allowed to come in free to the outside of the line and basically up the middle. To clarify, the right side of the Dolphins line converged toward the middle, opening up a gaping hole that Bulluck sprinted through.

Obviously, someone should have picked him up, and being on the right side that means either guard Taylor Whitley or tackle John St. Clair.

Feeley deserves blame for throwing the ball instead of just eating it when it was clear Lamar Gordon wasn't looking for the pass where it went, but it's inexcusable to have a blitzer come in free like that when the numbers were right for the Dolphins up front.

Can Feeley make a difference? Sure, because he does look like he can make more throws than Fiedler and in time probably will become a better quarterback.

But the Dolphins offense will remain mediocre until the offensive line picks up its game. For the Dolphins' sake, that better happen soon.


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