After putting on a show in the preseason, Albert Johnson has struggled as a punt and kickoff returner so far in the regular season. But he has still done some good things, which is why the Dolphins aren't ready to give up on him just yet.

Johnson ranks fourth in the AFC in punt returns with a 10.2-yard average, while he's ninth in kickoff returns with a 25.0 average.

Johnson has yet to break a long one so far, with a long punt return of 13 yards and a long kickoff return of 35.

But the Dolphins are hoping he can at some point provide the type of threat they haven't had in a while — we don't need to remind Dolphins fans the team hasn't had a kickoff return for a touchdown since 1989.

Besides, Johnson has looked less shaky with each passing week.

"He was better (against the Jets)," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "He just didn't have many opportunities. Mentally he was fine."

That wasn't necessarily the case in the first two games of the season, particularly the opener against Detroit. Johnson simply didn't look like the same guy who was so impressive in the preseason that the Dolphins decided to keep him instead of steady veteran Jeff Ogden.

Johnson has had problems catching the ball cleanly at times, and he also has made some bad decisions regarding fair catches, one time backing up and making a fair catch at the 6-yard line with plenty of room in front of him.

That kind of decision-making is why the Dolphins have been using veteran wide receiver Dedric Ward when the punt figures to land near the Dolphins goal line.

"He's got more experience making decisions," Wannstedt said.

The Dolphins haven't needed much help from the return game early on because the offense has been successful, but there will come a time during the season when it could be the difference between a win or a loss. And that's why the Dolphins will give Johnson every chance to show he deserves the job.

But it's clear he's got to improve if he's going to be the kick returner for more than a brief period of time.

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