DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -As coach Cam Cameron discussed the state of the Miami Dolphins on Monday, a player in the adjacent weight room dropped his barbell, generating a thud that shook the walls and served as the perfect soundtrack for the season.
The Dolphins are 0-6, matching the worst start in team history. They've lost nine consecutive games over two seasons, a franchise record. Cameron remains winless as an NFL head coach.
``I don't see how it can get any lower than this,'' cornerback Will Allen said.
Actually, the worst may be yet to come: Miami next plays unbeaten New England on Sunday.
The Dolphins' 41-31 loss Sunday at Cleveland inspired such adjectives as ``horrible,'' ``embarrassing'' and ``humbling'' - and those were words used by the players. When a newspaper headline described the situation as ``unbearable,'' Cameron took exception.
``I shared that with our team,'' Cameron said. ``I believe you're never given more than you can bear. This is not unbearable. It's not what we want to do. We're not thrilled about it. But in no way are we going to put this in the category of unbearable. We need to bear it.''
Miami and St. Louis are the NFL's only winless teams. The Dolphins are in the running for the No. 1 draft pick next April, which would be a consolation prize for their sixth consecutive year out of the playoffs, a franchise record.
``It has been six years of this, so we've got plenty of practice, unfortunately,'' defensive end Jason Taylor said.
The situation is most dire on defense, where the Dolphins' rapid decline continues. They are giving up 23.5 points per game, which would be a franchise record.
Cameron said the biggest problem is that Miami is allowing opponents to convert 54 percent of their third-down situations, worst in the NFL.
``The No. 1 thing we have to address is our ability to get off the field on third down,'' Cameron said.
Linebacker Joey Porter, Miami's most expensive offseason free-agent acquisition, has yet to register a sack. Taylor, the reigning NFL defensive player of the year, has failed to make game-changing plays at the rate he did last season. The secondary is the team's weakest area and seems to be getting worse.
``I've never played on a defense this bad,'' said linebacker Zach Thomas, a 12th-year pro. ``We're just playing horrible.''
Cameron absolved defensive coordinator Dom Capers, instead blaming injuries.
``My confidence in Dom has really even grown,'' Cameron said. ``You may find that hard to believe. It's not working the way he wants, but he's keeping his poise and staying the course. He hasn't been rattled.''
Things look less dismal on offense. Miami's 31 points and 356 yards Sunday were season highs. Ronnie Brown reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth consecutive game, and quarterback Cleo Lemon showed promise in his second NFL start.
Top draft pick Ted Ginn Jr. had kickoff returns of 96 and 57 yards. But in typical Miami fashion, both runbacks were negated by penalties.
Sunday could well produce another thud. The Dolphins are 16 1/2-point underdogs - a staggering margin for a home team in the NFL. But then the Patriots are 6-0 and averaging 38 points per game.
``You prepare every week to win,'' Cameron said. ``When you get to the point where you don't think you can go into a game and win, you better go do something else.''
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