Soliai On The Spot

Coach Tony Sparano has confirmed that veteran nose tackle Jason Ferguson is out for the season with a quad injury and not a knee injury, as had been widely reported. Either way, the burden of anchoring Miami's 3-4 defense will fall on the broad shoulders of Paul Soliai, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury but is expected to play Sunday against the 3-7 injury-decimated Bills.

"I would hope that Paul Soliai is ready to go and Paul Soliai would have to step in there and play," Sparano said. "Now the last time that happened, the guy played pretty good. I would hope that is where we are."

Soliai filled in for a nicked-up Ferguson against the Jets last month and notched a career-high six tackles. Also expected to help fill the void left by Ferguson are blossoming defensive end Randy Starks and Tony McDaniel. Starks has compiled a career-high 5.5 sacks.

"Very confident in what those players can do," Sparano said. "Starks, I would say most people would rather see him on an end, because when he gets in there and you have to figure out ways to single block this guy and still protect Joey (Porter), and protect Jason (Taylor) out there and do those kind of things, it gives him a little bit of space. I would say that that's something they would prefer to see."

The Dolphins' 11th-ranked rushing defense could be aided if Bills running back Marshawn Lynch (shoulder) can't play. The Bills are ranked 21st in rushing, but they should have a healthy Fred Jackson ready to run behind a beat-up offensive line that just lost right guard Eric Wood for the year. Also injured Sunday was reserve lineman Seth McKinney, and Buffalo had already lost left tackle Brad Butler in Week 2.

Sparano wouldn't elaborate on any of the other nicked-up Dolphins, including center Jake Grove, whose ankle injury is believed to be the most serious of the rest.

"We are not the only team in the league that is suffering injuries right now; nobody is going to feel sorry for you," Sparano said. "We are in a situation right now where we fought our tails off to put ourselves in the best situation that we can be in at this time. We got some pretty important games coming up, so we are getting ready for Buffalo."


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