Wrong Kind of Attention

Jake Long was swarmed by members of the media when he entered the Dolphins locker room on Thursday night, and they weren't there to ask him about the University of Michigan's 2-0 start. Rather, all the questions were about the rough afternoon Long endured in the season opener against Atlanta. The 6-7 Long stood tall and offered no excuses, even though he might have had one on at least one play.

Nobody will argue that Long didn't play against the Falcons, and the play that got the most attention was the one where defensive end John Abraham put him on his back with a bull rush before sacking Chad Pennington.

But here's the catch: Guard Justin Smiley told reporters Thursday the Dolphins were going with a silent count and center Jake Grove snapped the ball early.

Because of that, Abraham was on top of Long before Long could set his feet.

"It was a miscommunication," Smiley said. "Against Abraham you can't do that.

"It doesn't make excuse for the other three (sacks). We still have things we have to clean up. But it's not like our guy just got run over. That just doesn't happen to Jake Long."

For his part, Long accepted the negative attention that comes with his job when things don't go well.

"That's the nature of the beast," he said. "That's the position we play and I shouldn't be making those mistakes and doing that. I'll take it, grow from it and get better."

Long will face another tough challenge on Monday night when he goes up against Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, who certainly is in the same league as a pass rusher as the dynamic Abraham.

For Long, the focus hasn't changed, and neither has the goal, which is to play the perfect game.

"That's something I strive for; I think everybody does," he said. "You go out there and you want to be perfect. You don't want go get Chad hit. I did that, so that was definitely the low point of my game. That's what people are going to focus on and that's fine with me. I know what I did wrong and I've got to get better at it, grow from it, embrace it and get better."

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