MASTER PLAY CALLER

The Dolphins offense has been much better this season — with the exception of that nasty three-game stretch — than it has been in recent years, and there are several reasons for that. Among them are the arrival of Ricky Williams and Randy McMichael and the continued improvement of Jay Fiedler. But the arrival of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator also has played a big role.

Dolphins offensive players have marveled all year at Turner's ability to keep defenses guessing with his play-calling, and Coach Dave Wannstedt called him one of the best play callers in the league.

Tackle Mark Dixon said early in the season Turner's presence alone was good for seven points a game.

That might be stretching things a little, but there is no debating the fact that Turner has been a godsend for an offense that often was predictable in years past.

"I think Norv obviously has had a positive impact," Wannstedt said. "(Former coordinator) Chan Gailey did a great job. We didn't have the talent the last couple of years.

"Norv has come in and the thing that he does such a good job of, besides the play-calling, is he understands the importance of running the football."

In fairness to Gailey, he clearly didn't have the same amount of talent to work with as Turner, but he obviously didn't show nearly as many formations or different plays as Turner, and that has clearly made a difference.

Tackle Todd Wade said the offense also is better prepared to react to what defenses are doing.

"We're adjusting to their blitzes a lot better if the safety comes up," he said. "They'll use a quick count against them before the safety comes up.

"It's not just the play-calling, the adjustments we're making are a lot better than last year."

It's inevitable that Turner's name will come up in connection with head-coaching openings for the next several weeks and months, but that goes with the territory.

Besides, Turner wouldn't be a hot head-coaching prospect if he weren't doing a great job.

Said Wannstedt: "I do know that if we win enough games that hopefully people will be looking at him and hopefully he will get another opportunity. No one would be happier than me. That all happens when you win enough games."


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