Random observations

With the Dolphins off on Tuesday, we figured this might be a good time to share some thoughts on the team and other football-related topics before the focus totally shifts to the Buffalo Bills, Sunday's opponents.

-- The NFL is hard to figure sometimes, and we're not talking about the games but about the league office. Specifically, we're referring to the fines assessed against Tebucky Jones and Wes Welker for penalties they got against Carolina. Now, we didn't see Welker's block, which got him a flag for an illegal crack-back, from the press box and there was never a replay of it. So we can't comment on that one. But the Jones fine is nothing short of stupid. Yes, he did grab Jake Delhomme's facemask and deserved a penalty. But Jones was in the process of sacking Delhomme. Does anyone honestly think he was trying to get away with a cheap shot that might cost him the play? How absurd. We can assure you there have been a lot worse hits or blocks that have been let go.

-- New Dolphins GM Randy Mueller addressed the media on Tuesday and had some interesting comments. Two that stand out were his saying that he's in favor of keeping Ricky Williams beyond this year and the other was that he subscribed to the philosophy of longtime Green Bay GM Ron Wolf of drafting at least one quarterback every year. On the Williams topic, we're certainly with Mueller. Unless the Dolphins get a big-time offer, which isn't likely either this year or next year, they should take long and hard before trading him. As for quarterbacks, it's another sound move -- if you have enough picks. Green Bay was able to trade backup quarterbacks for draft picks through the years because they always built up good depth at the position. Of course, the Dolphins could start by having a franchise quarterback for the long term.

-- The Dolphins, following Coach Nick Saban's lead, downplayed the significance of what's going on around the AFC East, and they have good reason. Considering that the Dolphins went 4-12 last year, the focus should be on building something themselves this season, regardless of what else happens in the division. Looking ahead should be left to the fans and the media, and we'll be more than happy to do that.

-- Speaking of looking ahead, anyone seen New England's schedule over the next few weeks? It's at Atlanta, at Denver, bye week, vs. Buffalo, vs. Indianapolis and at Miami on Nov. 13. With the problems at quarterback that the Jets and Bills are having, it's the Patriots who are worth watching and they clearly could find themselves at 2-4 heading into their bye. All of a sudden, the idea of the Dolphins being able to win the AFC East doesn't seem so absurd anymore.

-- Did anybody, even the most diehard of fans, truly believe that before the regular season started? If nothing else, this season figures to be interesting.


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