McMichael needs to be the man

Not all was bad in the Dolphins' loss to New England last Sunday, starting with the play of quarterback Gus Frerotte. But there was another important development in that game, and that was the re-appearance of tight end Randy McMichael. We can only hope that was a signal of things to come.

The Dolphins will need McMichael down the stretch Sunday at Cleveland, whether Frerotte or Sage Rosenfels is at quarterback, and they'll also need him down the stretch.

The Patriots stacked the line of scrimmage last Sunday and dared the Dolphins to beat them with the passing game, and you can expect other teams to follow suit.

That means that not only the quarterbacks will have to step up, but also the receivers.

And the truth is that McMichael is the Dolphins' best receiver right now. He also represents the one Dolphins receiver who presents matchup problems for opponents.

Sure, Chris Chambers and Marty Booker will have big days here and there, but McMichael is the one who can and needs to be a factor on a regular basis.

That's why it was disappointing that he hadn't caught more than three passes in any game during a six-game stretch that ended Sunday when he had seven receptions for 81 yards.

The way opponents defend McMichael obviously can affect his number of opportunities, but the Dolphins need to make a conscious effort to always get McMichael involved.

Sunday was the way to do it. It needs to happen on a regular basis.

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