Final Game 9 Observations

Tuesday is the one day off for every team in the NFL; for us, it's the day we take a final look at the most recent game before we start focusing on the upcoming opponent. So here are some final thoughts about the 13-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

OK, we'll start with the obvious. The special teams stink.

Well, no duh! This isn't a great revelation, but we have to mention it nonetheless.

The major problem here, as with everywhere else, is a lack of personnel. The guys playing on special teams for the most part are unknowns who might have a hard time making another team's roster.

For example, the penalty on Ted Ginn Jr.'s touchdown for naught was called on Greg Camarillo, whom the Dolphins signed after he was waived by San Diego. Now, Camarillo couldn't make the Chargers roster, and that team has had issues at wide receiver, as evidenced by their trading a second-round pick to the Dolphins for Chris Chambers.

Maybe special teams coach Keith Armstrong should take some of the blame as well. He's the second-longest-tenured coach on the team behind Mel Phillips, and his units have been solid but unspectacular for the most part.

But the real issue here, as mentioned before, is a lack of personnel.

DEEP THOUGHTS: Wouldn't it be nice to see the Dolphins thrown deep once in a while? The longest completion in the game against Buffalo was 21 yards, and after that there was nothing longer than 12 yards. What's worse, the Dolphins never even attempted to go deep. There doesn't have to be a completion for a long pass to be successful, you know. There is such a thing as pass interference. We're not sure if it's Cleo Lemon is just hesitant to let it go or Cam Cameron who won't let him, but the dink-and-dunk offense is putting way too much pressure on a team not well equipped to deal with it.

FLASHBACK: Have to give credit to Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who compared Sunday's game to one of the Dave Wannstedt era. You know, play it close to the vest, don't take any chances and let the defense win in the fourth quarter. If that was the bluepring, it was perfectly followed because the Dolphins had a huge edge in time of possession, did better than Buffalo in third-down conversions and won the turnover battle. But, as often happened in the Wannstedt era, something went wrong late and the fact the Dolphins couldn't distance themselves from the opponent despite badly outplaying them early came back to haunt them.

BACKING BECK: Nobody should have been surprised that a few fans -- there weren't that many overall at Dolphin Stadium -- started chanting, "We Want Beck!" as the offense struggled. All we can say is, we hear you and we're right with you.

UNDER COVER: Don't look now, but that's two good performances in a row by the secondary, which was so bad in the early going and especially against New England. J.P. Losman had a tough time against Miami, and there were a lot of times when he had plenty of time in the pocket but simply couldn't find a receiver. It's still not the Dolphins secondary of old, when Madison and Surtain were Pro Bowl guys, but at least progress is being made.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.