DOLPHINS NOTES

Cornerback Sam Madison created somewhat of a stir earlier this week when he made some comments critical of the Dolphins, but was he really off base?

Among other things, Madison criticized the offense for lacking a killer instinct and becoming conservative with a second-half lead. He also suggest the defense would be better served by changing its look once in a while because opponents eventually figure out what the Dolphins are doing.

Let us first point out that both Madison and Coach Dave Wannstedt issued statements through the team the day after Madison made those comments on a Miami radio station.

Here is what Wannstedt said: "I had a positive, constructive discussion with Sam," Wannstedt said. "He indicated to me that his comments were misunderstood and he certainly was 100 percent supportive of what we did this past season. Like everyone else on this team, he was looking for ways to improve our performance and just meant to offer positive ideas on how best to accomplish those objectives.

"As far as I'm concerned, after talking to Sam, I think we are both trying to achieve the same objectives and that he is totally supportive of our efforts."

Madison's statement read: "I'm sorry if my comments were misunderstood and caused any problems with any of my coaches or teammates. No one wants to win any more than I do. I was just talking about ways we can get better, starting with myself. I'm proud of the way our defense played this past season, and our offense certainly did everything possible to overcome some unfortunate injuries.

"I know we were all disappointed at how the season turned out. I was just talking about ways we all can improve to reach our goals. Nothing is more important to me than our team, and I feel bad if anyone misunderstood my comments and thought otherwise."

OK, first off, Madison actually was right in his comments about the team. The Dolphins do lack a killer instinct, we have been saying that for a while now.

The Dolphins also should change up on defense once in a while. The argument can be made that the defense always ranks among the best in the league, and that's valid. But the defense also has come up short at crucial times just about every year, so maybe throwing a different wrinkle once a while wouldn't hurt.

Where Madison was out of line was when he made a point of saying he was bothered by the wife of a teammate openly campaigning for her husband to make the Pro Bowl.

Madison even suggested that bothered him for the early part of the season. Why should he care? What's so outrageous about a wife campaigning for her husband if she wants to?

Even though no name was mentioned, it's pretty obvious Madison was referring to Patrick Surtain, who did get elected to his first Pro Bowl this season.

But Surtain didn't get elected because of his wife. He got elected because he's been a great cornerback for a few years now and he had the interception numbers this season, including a touchdown in a nationally televised game at Denver that surely won him a lot of votes.

The bottom line is it was silly — and you could say childish — of Madison to even mention the whole Pro Bowl issue.

It's supposed to be about the team, isn't it? It's not as if Surtain's wife ever said that Madison was a bum and didn't deserve to be in the Pro Bowl.

It probably figures that Surtain and Madison should sit down and have a talk about this at some point to make sure the comments don't become an issue with the team.

-- The Dolphins signed two more players to contracts for 2003 on Thursday, coming to terms with offensive tackle Jarvis Borum and punter Kevin Stemke.

Stemke, a former All-Big Ten Conference selection at Wisconsin, punted for two games for the Raiders earlier this season and averaged 42.4 yards on five kicks.

As for Borum, he played in one game for Arizona in 2001 and spent part of the 2002 season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.


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