REDEMPTION TIME FOR DEFENSE

In the words of safety Brock Marion, the Dolphins were humbled at Kansas City last Sunday, and that was particularly true on defense. They will need to be much sharper against the Patriots, or they could be in for another long afternoon.

In particular, the Dolphins need to do a much better job in the pass rush, both in getting pressure on the quarterback and in not allowing the QB to break containment and scramble for easy yards, the way Kansas City's Trent Green did last Sunday.

"It's a point of emphasis," said defensive end Jason Taylor. "We need to get it corrected. ... We get paid to win one-on-one blocks and to get to the quarterback. When you're blocked one-on-one, there is no excuse for not beating him and getting there. We take a lot of pride in what we do and we get paid a lot of money to do it."

One encouraging thing for the Dolphins defense is that cornerback Patrick Surtain will be back after missing the last two games because of a knee injury. In addition, there's reason to believe Taylor will be more effective after being limited by a knee injury against the Chiefs.

The Dolphins will need everybody to slow down a Patriots offense that hardly resembles the group Miami beat up in a 30-10 victory at Pro Player Stadium last October.

For one thing, the Patriots have become a pass-happy group with Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady leading the way.

But that didn't necessarily happen by design.

"We're trying to move the ball and score some points," said Pats coach Bill Belichick. "We're not trying to invent any kind of philosophy. If we can move the ball and get into the end zone, I'm all for it."

The Patriots have improved their receiving corps since last season, adding tight ends Cam Cleeland, Christian Fauria and Daniel Graham, as well as wide receiver Deion Branch, who was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for September.

"The thing that you can't get fooled with is (that) they're just going to line up and they're going to throw," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "They're still a balanced team, and that's how we've got to approach it.

"They're scoring a bunch of points. You're darned right we're concerned."

But on the flip side, the Dolphins are confident they will play much better defense than they did against the Chiefs.

"There were very simple things that we did wrong (against Kansas City) and it obviously came back and bit us hard," said Taylor. "When you lose a game the way we lost, everything is magnified. We'll be ready to go Sunday and we'll play much better."


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