|Winless Dolphins expect suspect run defense to be tested by Texans|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 04 October 2007 10:35|
HOUSTON (AP) -Miami's Jason Taylor didn't have to think too hard to figure out what to expect from Houston on Sunday.|
``It wouldn't take a genius to figure out that we have a problem with the running game right now,'' he said. ``I fully anticipate Houston to do the same thing that Oakland did, that Washington did and the Jets did. And we're going to see it until we stop it.''
The winless Dolphins are allowing an NFL-worst 199 yards rushing a game. The good news for them is that the Texans have averaged just more than 63 yards rushing the last two games with starter Ahman Green out with a knee bruise.
He'll likely miss Sunday's game, giving backup Ron Dayne his second start of the season. Dayne had 15 carries for 62 yards against Atlanta, but couldn't convert three third-and-1 plays.
Coach Gary Kubiak said he changed the pattern of practice this week to devote more time to getting the running game back on track. The Texans rushed for more than 100 yards in each of their two wins, but have lost the last two when the ground game stalled.
``It's an attitude,'' Kubiak said. ``It's something you've got to be committed to. We tried to be committed to it the other day until we got down, but we're not going to run away from it by any means. We need to find a way to do it.''
Miami's struggles in defending the run have some questioning whether the defense still has faith in coordinator Dom Capers, Houston's head coach for four seasons. Taylor said everyone has to share the blame.
``Dom has proven over a length of time that he knows what he's doing,'' Taylor said. ``It takes more than just coaching to make this thing work. It takes players, too. Right now the players aren't doing a very good job and I'm sure Dom would say he was doing some things wrong, because everyone looked at it that way.''
The Dolphins (0-4) are off to their worst start since losing their first six to open the 2004 season, and have lost seven straight dating to last season. Receiver Chris Chambers said the veterans have the responsibility of leading the team out of its slump.
``We can't sit up there and ask some rookie or some first-year guy to step up and make a huge impact,'' he said. ``I think we have enough veterans on this team where we have to step up and we have to show them the way. We've all won games before and we've all lost games before. I think the weight comes on us and most of these guys are going to take it and try to do something with it.''
Miami's defense has been hit hard by injuries. The Dolphins have been playing without linebacker Zach Thomas for the last two games as he recovers from a concussion. He practiced in midweek and the unit would certainly get a boost if the seven-time Pro Bowl player can return this week.
Defensive tackles Vonnie Holliday and Keith Traylor and linebacker Channing Crowder are all nursing injuries, and safety Yeremiah Bell suffered a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury in the season opener.
While the Dolphins' injury problems are on defense, the Texans' woes are on offense. Star receiver Andre Johnson has missed the last two weeks with a sprained knee and is expected to be out again this week. His backup Jacoby Jones, who also returns punts for Houston, has a separated shoulder, and receiver Jerome Mathis missed the Falcons game with a sore leg.
The Texans had just three healthy receivers on the roster against Atlanta and could be in the same situation this week. They hope Andre' Davis, who had 117 yards receiving last week continues to fill in well until Johnson is healthy.
First-year starter Matt Schaub is coming off a career-high 317 yards passing against the Falcons and has proven reliable with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
``I think we just have to clean up some of the mistakes we've made,'' said Schaub, who has fumbled four times in the last two games. ``We've hurt ourselves in those games by turning the ball over in a tough area of the field and giving our defense bad position. If we can cut down the turnovers and the penalties, we'll be right there and we'll like what we see.''
In Miami, 37-year-old Trent Green's seven interceptions are tied with Drew Brees for most in the NFL. Despite his lackluster start, Dolphins coach Cam Cameron said he isn't considering a change at the position. Green was brought in to bring leadership and confidence to the offense and Cameron believes he has done that.
``He just needs to play the way he's capable of playing, and he knows that,'' Cameron said. ``We need to get our offense to take care of the football better, and we'll stay (in the) direction we're going right now.''
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