Dolphins D prepared for Panthers

Zach Thomas and the Dolphins Defense knows what is in store for them on Sunday when the Carolina Panthers roll into town. "They are well-balanced," Thomas said of the Panthers offense during his Thursday press conference. "If you try to take away one thing, they'll hit you on the other. We have to be on top of things."

"We definitely have to stop the run game. They have a one-two punch in (DeShaun) Foster and Stephen Davis. Jake (Delhomme) does a great job of finding open guys and they throw a lot of mix-ups at you. We have to be on top of things this week."

"They run and pass the ball well and they are balanced," said Dolphins LB Junior Seau. "They do a lot of things, in terms of personnel, and we are going to have to keep in tune with that. It is going to be a great game."

Through two weeks, the Panthers rank 21st in overall offense; 9th in rushing yards per game with 122.5, and 24th in passing yards per game. However, it's an offense that defeated the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots last week and nearly beat the Saints the week before. Though they have 4 capable receivers and a QB that can seemingly turn the magic on and off, it's no secret that the Panthers bread and butter is the running game, starting with Stephen Davis.

"He played very well last week and that is the No. 1 key to the game, to stop him and (DeShaun) Foster," said Dolphins DE/LB Jason Taylor. "A great thing to have in this league is two running backs like that. Stephen Davis can take it downhill and run somebody over and Foster can hit the edge and outrun people. They've got a good 1-2 punch. [They are a] good team overall. This is the same team that went to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. They are a darn good football team."

"It is going to be a broken record throughout the year," said Seau. "We are going to try to turn every offense into a one-dimensional team and it starts with the run. (Stephen) Davis is a running back that has been around the league for a long time. He is a veteran and a player to be reckoned with. He is one of the better running backs in the NFC and we know that. Going into the game trying to stop him, is going to be a challenge."

However, Stephen Davis and the Panthers running game isn't the only thing that the Panthers have in their offensive cupboard. Panthers WR Steve Smith is currently tied for second in the NFL with four receptions of 20 yards or more, arguing against the popular belief that the Panthers passing game has been sub-standard through the first two weeks of the season.

"Last week against New England, they spread it out," Thomas said. "They didn't have anybody in the backfield. They had empty and threw the ball. We definitely have to be prepared for that. They put up 27 [points] against New England and they could of put up a little more. We have our hands full. They have some confidence coming into the game. We have to play well. We have to use the crowd and play intense."

Miami enters the game ranked 8th in the NFL stopping the run, 16th in stopping the pass and 10th overall in yards allowed per game. Led by players like Seau, Thomas and Jason Taylor, the defense has been one of the best in the NFL for the last several years. They enter the game 1-1, coming off a disappointing loss to the NY Jets last week.

"We didn't play that well last week," Thomas said. "It was disappointing, the long drives last week. I didn't think that we played well last week. People can say whatever they want, but to give up two long drives – one was 80 yards and the other was 90 yards, that is not good enough. It was disappointing, so hopefully we can bounce back and have a great game like we did the first week, which I was happy with."

"We have to play a lot better because they have a great defense over there in Carolina. We have to play well because this offense has a lot of talent."

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