'We've Got to Regroup'

On the bright side, at least Miami doesn't have to play Chicago (6-0) for another two weeks. But not even a bye week will be able to help the Dolphins remedy all the problems that have led to a 1-6 start.

Miami continued its mistake-prone ways in last Sunday's 34-24 home loss to Green Bay. Quarterback Joey Harrington was intercepted three times, including twice when passes deflected off the hands of tight end Randy McMichael. One of those throws was returned 23 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Charles Woodson, giving Green Bay a 13-10 lead 50 seconds into the third quarter that the Packers never relinquished.

"I was throwing the ball in the dirt," Harrington said. "Either Randy gets it or no one gets it, and it just gets tipped into (Woodson's) hands and goes for a touchdown. That's one of those things that's a huge momentum-swinger."

Overall, the Dolphins dropped seven passes and committed eight penalties for 70 yards. Just as alarming was the collapse of a defense that allowed 21 of Green Bay's 28 second-half points, the highest total surrendered by the Dolphins since a 41-38 overtime loss to the New York Jets in October 2000 that was dubbed the "Midnight Miracle."

Of course, it would take a miracle at this point for Miami to reach the playoffs. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals are the only team in NFL history to make the playoffs after a 1-6 record.

"We've got to regroup," Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas said. "We've got to start over like (it's) a new season. We put ourselves in a big hole. Our second half of our schedule is even tougher. We've got to get a lot better if we just want to be able to compete."

The fact the Dolphins posted only one victory against opponents that have a combined record of 18-26 was especially alarming for Thomas, who will likely finish his 11th NFL season with the Dolphins without ever having played in an AFC Championship game.

"Being 1-6, that's the biggest frustration," Thomas said. "It's tough. We even had an easy schedule. That's what's even worse because the teams we've played aren't doing so well either. I don't know how we could have those breakdowns like that."

Neither can Miami's Nick Saban, who has never started a season with a worse record in 13 years as a college or NFL head coach.

"It all comes down to better execution," Saban said. "I don't know how to coach 'mess-ups'. I don't know how to coach guys to do things that they're supposed to be able do. We're going to keep coaching, though. We're going to keep working it.

"One of these days, (the players) are going to get confidence in being able to do it with consistency. That little bit of consistency is what we need to make the difference between winning and losing football games."

Defensive end Jason Taylor agreed.

"It's a game of inches sometimes," Taylor said. "It seems that we're about 6 inches short sometimes."


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