WHAT TO DO ON DEFENSE?

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the Dolphins have some work to do on defense after their dreadful performance in Sunday's 48-30 loss at Kansas City. But are the problems that surfaced Sunday easily correctable or are drastic measures needed?

First off, it must be pointed out that the Dolphins faced the Chiefs without Patrick Surtain, who just happens to be one of the top five corners in the game, and with a hobbling Jason Taylor. And Taylor, at 100 percent, is one of the top defensive ends in the league.

So it's safe to say that the Dolphins don't give up 450 yards and 48 points to Kansas City if Surtain and Taylor are both playing — and at 100 percent.

The Chiefs also deserve their share of credit. It's not as though they haven't put up big numbers in other games. They scored 40 against Cleveland in the opener and burned New England for 38 — at New England.

Having said all that, Sunday's performance was unworthy of a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

It was, however, a team effort on defense because there were breakdowns everywhere, particularly in the secondary.

"We feel we have a very, very good secondary," said safety Brock Marion, "and to give up five touchdown passes and that many yards, you almost look at yourself and say, What the heck we were doing?"

What the heck were they doing indeed.

Zach Thomas mentioned Monday a couple of examples of breakdowns that contributed to the debacle.

On one play, somebody botched his assignment and left Priest Holmes wide open on a swing pass, and the result was a sizable gain. On another play, a defensive back let a receiver beat him outside even though he had inside help.

"Stuff like that is crazy," Thomas said. "You learn from it."

They beat learn from it because the Patriots are next, and their passing game has been very impressive this season.

It certainly will help that Surtain will be back and Taylor expects to feel better — and play better.

Safety Arturo Freeman is a promising player in his first year as a starter, and one can only hope his performance Sunday was an aberration because he was brutal. Given his athletic ability and intelligence, there's reason to chalk it up to just one of those day.

Hey, even Sam Madison looked horrible on one play, the one where he froze and let Tony Gonzalez stroll behind him to catch a long pass that turned into a touchdown.

The bottom line is there is reason for concern after last Sunday, but it's only one game.

"A lot of it is mental," Marion said. "It's nothing about X's and O's, where we don't know what the heck we're doing. I think (the problems) are easily corrected.

"I think what's happening is we're getting a little unfocused on what we're supposed to do defensively. We're good and we know we're good. We have to go out and prove we're good, and not just line up and have it happen. We have to prove it every week."

That is especially true after Sunday's performance.


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