Turnovers telling

It really can't be considered that great a shock that the Dolphins offense has struggled this season, what with Ricky Williams retiring, David Boston going down with a knee injury, and the offensive line breaking in five new starters. But there is a difference between being unproductive and consistently giving away points to the other team.

The Dolphins defense not only has to worry about stopping the opponent these days, they have to concern themselves with how many points the offense will surrender every week.

The Dolphins are last in the NFL in turnover ratio, and the interceptions returned for touchdowns were big contributors in the losses to Tennessee, Cincinnati and the Jets.

Coach Dave Wannstedt's vision for this team was to avoid mistakes on offense and hope the defense would be able to pull out some wins.

That's what makes all the turnovers even more mind-boggling. It's not as if the Dolphins offense throws the ball down the field every down and takes a lot of chances.

It is, by nature, a very conservative offense, yet the turnovers keep showing up.

Whose fault is it? Obviously, the biggest culprits have been the quarterbacks, Jay Fiedler, then A.J. Feeley and now Fiedler again.

GM Rick Spielman said earlier this week that not every interception is on the quarterback, but if you examine all the picks most of them have to fall on the shoulders of those two guys.

Take last week, for example, one of the interceptions against Fiedler wasn't entirely his fault because his pass to fullback Rob Konrad after he scrambled away from pressure was tipped right into the hands of linebacker Victor Hobson.

The other one, though, was all on Fiedler because the design of the play with Konrad lined up wide calls for Fiedler to go elsewhere with the football if Konrad is covered by a cornerback.

Fiedler somehow disregarded that edict and tried to hit Konrad nonetheless, with disastrous results.

You can also think back to many instances where Feeley tried to make a play under pressure, only to throw the ball directly at a defense, as happened in the loss to Tennessee and in the loss to Pittsburgh when Feeley was bailed out because linebacker James Farrior dropped the ball with an easy touchdown staring right at him.

Wannstedt and Fiedler were asked this week whether the offensive players were pressing to make something happen, and both agreed there was something to that.

There's also concern that maybe Fiedler will force some things because he wants to make plays so Wannstedt doesn't replace him again, as he did at halftime of the opener.

Whatever the reason, the Dolphins need to stop the turnovers to give themselves a chance to win.

That's got to start Sunday at New England.

"We know what we have to do to win this game," Wannstedt said Friday. "We just have to go out there and execute better than what we have. We're going to have to continue to play great defense, and when we get opportunities to put it in the end zone, we have to come up with touchdowns, and we cannot create any turnovers which would eliminate our chances from winning. That's been the difference in our first four games."


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