Grading the Dolphins


QUARTERBACK | F The Dolphins have a quarterback controversy in reverse. John Beck struggles and comes out. Cleo Lemon comes in and, save for a couple of plays, also struggles. When you combine the two, you have five sacks, two interceptions and two lost fumbles.

RUNNING BACKS | C+ Can't fault Samkon Gado, who did some good downhill running and scored two touchdowns. And rookie Lorenzo Booker has played well the past two weeks after being benched the previous 11. Maybe if the Dolphins hadn't found themselves down 24-7 after one quarter, they might have been able to run more.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT END | D Ted Ginn Jr. continues to get open deep, and a Miami QB actually threw him the ball for a 54-yard gain. But it speaks poorly of the receiver corps that Booker is probably Miami's most consistent pass-catcher. Derek Hagan caught eight passes for 93 yards, but most were in garbage time and he dropped a TD pass.

OFFENSIVE LINE | F The line has allowed 12 sacks the past three games after yielding 17 the previous 10 games. With no injuries on the unit to speak of, these men cannot claim the same dispensation for struggling as most of the other units.

DEFENSIVE LINE | D- The Dolphins are soft up front. It is the reason they got wiped out with two 100-yard rushers. This unit is supposed to keep the center and guards off the linebackers. That rarely happens. No wonder three of Miami's top four tacklers Sunday played in the secondary.

LINEBACKERS | D- The Dolphins are soft up front. Yes, you read that previously, but it applies here also. It also doesn't help that Joey Porter was Miami's only starting LB who actually played. Derrick Pope and Donnie Spragan are good backups, but as starters, they're good backups.

SECONDARY | C- Trent Edwards steps back to pass and scans the field. Still looking. Still looking. Filing his nails now. Still looking. Ah, there, he finds an open receiver or tight end. The 70-yard pass that burned Travis Daniels and Jason Allen was bad, but the game was over by then.

SPECIAL TEAMS | B Jay Feely is Miami's MVP this season, which speaks poorly of the rest of the team. His good season continued Sunday when he connected on a 41-yard field goal in rough weather. This unit, by the way, dodged a bullet when a TD on a punt return was called back.

COACHING | F That nice night out with the boys to watch the Floyd Mayweather fight Saturday night kept the team out until 1 a.m. or so on a night that normally has an 11 p.m. curfew. Maybe that wasn't the reason the Dolphins lost, but when they fell behind 24-7 in the first quarter, it had to make everyone wonder.

OVERALL | F For a second consecutive week, Miami played a team it played earlier in the season, and for the second consecutive week the result was worse than the first meeting. If this is not a team backpedaling, what is?

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