Frustrating times

Those who watched the Dolphins' performance in the nationally televised game at Cincinnati last Sunday night had every reason to wonder what's wrong with this team. And we're not just talking about the execution on offense. We're talking about the sideline outbursts of both Randy McMichael and Sam Madison. The players have been quick to say it's no big deal. Is it?

In case you missed it, McMichael flung his helmet to the ground in disgust in the second half and began yelling at the offensive line, although McMichael later said he was yelling at the entire offense.

Madison, for his part, got in the face of quarterback A.J. Feeley after the interception that was returned for a touchdown, and had to be restrained by injured safety Shawn Wooden.

Feeley said Wednesday stuff said in the heat of battle goes in one ear and out the other.

McMichael, on the other hand, got a few "attaboy" phone calls on his weekly radio show.

So from that standpoint, it appears that we shouldn't make too big a deal about it.

"Everybody is pushing for everyone," Madison said Thursday. "When you work out in the offseason, everyone works out together. When you practice, everyone practices together. We're all pushing for each other."

But the concern around Dolphins camp has been the same since the middle of the summer, and that is that the defense would lose it if it continually had to bail out the offense and not get any help.

In the first two games of the season, it's been worse than that, with Feeley throwing a pick returned for a touchdown in each game. And each time before the Dolphins had gotten into the end zone themselves.

You can almost understand if the defensive players want to go nuts on their offensive counterparts. But that's counterproductive.

The Dolphins offense is struggling enough without having to worry about their teammates.

We don't have any problem with McMichael yelling at his teammates, as long as he was doing it in a general sense of, "Let's get it together, all of us."

As for Madison, his frustration was understandable. But it's probably not helping anybody for a defensive player to chastise an offensive player.

We're going to go out on a limb here and suggest that A) Feeley didn't throw the pick on purpose and that B) Feeley doesn't need anybody to tell him he messed up.

When asked whether he thought an outburst like Madison's was productive, Coach Dave Wannstedt replied: "It's not. It's all a matter of how it's said and I think Sam gets emotional. He's not tearing anybody down as much as trying to encourage them. I think you just have to be careful how you do it."

The Dolphins have to be careful about so many things these days, becoming divided shouldn't be one of them.


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