Breaking down the game

A lot of the focus this week has been on Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and what the Dolphins must do to contain him. But there will be two quarterbacks in this game, and the other one could play a significant role as well.

At 3-4, the Dolphins still are in a position to make some noise this season (read: contend for a playoff berth), but that won't happen if the passing game doesn't improve.

Coach Nick Saban has been quick to defend quarterback Gus Frerotte in recent weeks, saying the blame should be spread throughout the offense.

But anyone who has watched the Dolphins can clearly see that Frerotte has been missing too many open receivers -- and often near or in the end zone.

If the Dolphins hope to beat teams better than the Saints, that simply can't continue.

The Dolphins' margin for error just isn't that big.

And that includes Atlanta. The Falcons have been giving up their share of yardage this season and opposing quarterbacks have compiled an 85.2 rating against them.

That includes a 62.3 completion percentage, and that's the neighborhood Frerotte needs to be in on Sunday.

Opponents also have been able to run on Atlanta, and it obviously would make Frerotte's life easier if the Dolphins can get the same kind of production out of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams that they got last Sunday.

Make no mistake, Atlanta will get rushing yards because ... well, because they always do.

What the Dolphins can't have happen is letting Vick break long run after long run, something he's more than capable of doing.

Tampa Bay always had a lot of success containing Vick because they had enough speed throughout their defense to contain him.

Vick's passer rating is a mediocre 63.1, and that tells you all you need to know about him as a passer.

He will not hurt the Dolphins with his passing, and the more the Dolphins can force him to throw out of the pocket, the better off they will be.

Atlanta has some tall wide receivers, but Vick's favorite target by far is tight end Alge Crumpler, who is among the best in the league. The Dolphins need to keep an eye on him.

But, again, it all comes down to what the Dolphins do with Vick. And also what Frerotte can do for the Dolphins.


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