As far as Coach Dave Wannstedt was concerned, it was almost a good thing that the Dolphins' front-line players had their problems in the early part of Monday night's preseason opener against Tampa Bay. That was among the topics he addressed in his day-after-the-game press conference.

"I'd rather have a little eye-opener," Wannstedt said. "The worst thing that could happen is to have everything go perfect and then have the guys walk around here thinking you're better than what you are, and then have that come back to hurt you."

The Dolphins' problems against Tampa Bay included a run defense that gave up 182 yards, four penalties in the first quarter (not counting one that was declined) and, of course, allowing a 95-yard kickoff return to open the game.

Wannstedt said there was no major reason for concern about the run defense.

"The most disappointing thing defensively is they hit us on three perimeter runs," he said. "On all those plays, it was not lack of effort. We just did not execute like we needed to. We were in bad position, missed a couple of tackles, but nothing that can't be corrected."

The problem on the kickoff return was a case of Olindo Mare not getting enough hang time, and the penalties were a lack of execution.

Wannstedt said he was happy with the effort his team put forth and also singled out several players for their performance, among them QB Ray Lucas, FB Rob Konrad, WRs Robert Baker and Albert Johnson, DE Adewale Ogunleye, TE Randy McMichael, LB Joshua Symonette and guards Jamie Nails and Todd Perry.

Wannstedt also was happy with the play of the offensive line, particularly the fact it did not allow a sack.

Overall, Wannstedt said his team needs to improve.

"We have a lot of work to do," he said. "We didn't start off as far as we need to. It was not physical, just mental. But we need to come out of the blocks a little faster."

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