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Dolphins look for answers, find only a couple

So where are the answers?

Well, if you are a logical person you might ask yourself, "What the heck are the questions?"

The most important question is where do the Dolphins find the answers to what ails them? And you know the ailments: The right guard position is inconsistent, the secondary needs to cover better and hold on to potential interceptions, the special teams need to find a way to make plays that change field position, and the offense needs to find a way to stretch the field.

I have good news and bad news. The answers will come. But if you expect them all this year, that is not likely, which is the bad news.

The fact is the only way the Dolphins could correct some of these problems is to hold a private, singular draft or free agency signing period right now and I don't think the NFL will go for that. So the true solutions won't come until next spring when that happens for everybody.

Until then?

Well, many of you want to trot Jason Allen into the secondary. He's a cornerback now and you want him to replace Andre' Goodman as the starter. Others want the Dolphins to sign Ty Law.

Here are the problems with that: Allen is thisclose to earning a bust label. The former first round pick is in his third year and still is not a starter. He is on his third coaching staff and none have really held him in high enough regard to start him.

Nick Saban tried him at CB and moved him back to safety. He never started for Saban, who is a DB guru. Cam Cameron started Allen at safety only after five other players ahead of him went down with injuries. Tony Sparano handed Allen the starting free safety job at the beginning of training camp this season and by the middle of training camp Allen had lost the job to Chris Crocker, who then lost it to Renald Hill. Sparano then moved Allen to CB. Allen's game day contribution is on special teams.

Ty Law? He's 34 years old. He has not played since last year and that is saying something considering all the NFL teams out there that need secondary help. Law was contacted by the Dolphins last week -- along with three other no-name street free agents. It wasn't that the Dolphins wanted to sign Law immediately, it was that they wanted to establish an information profile on him in case one of Miami's current CBs goes down. So he is on the back burner.

That's consistent with what Law wants because he's not exactly itching to play for Miami even though he lives here. He would like to play for a team that has a chance to compete for a championship. He'd love to play for Green Bay or the Giants or Dallas. So he's sitting and waiting for those teams to call. Will he accept a chance to play for a losing team like Miami? Maybe. But that is not his preference.

So where is the answer in the secondary? In the draft or free agency.

Special teams? Everyone, including myself, has been lobbying to let Ted Ginn Jr. return kickoffs. He did so Sunday with mixed results. "I thought Ted Ginn helped us a little bit on the return game," coach Tony Sparano said.

Good. It was a logical move a couple of weeks late.

But Miami's special teams have a loooong way to go. The team spent the offseason upgrading the units and they have given up way too many big plays this season. The coverage teams did better last week. "We weren't great but we were a lot better on coverage," Sparano said.

The Dolphins need the coverage teams to be great. After the investment of practice time and free agency dollars the Dolphins have made, this unit should be great. It says here there will be more tweaks here in the offseason. The guys currently on the roster can improve only so much.

The receivers? Ginn and Greg Camarillo got open deep last week. Chad Pennington didn't throw them the ball. Having said that, it continues to baffle how neither Derek Hagan nor Ernest Wilford can get on the active roster on game day. They have been inactive each of the past two weeks.

The Dolphins will address the receiver position in the draft, although I don't believe it will necessarily be with a pick in the first round. I believe Miami is more likely to address this position in the second or third round, not the first, because that is where value comes.

The first round screams for help at CB and NT.

Why nose tackle? Jason Ferguson is banged up now. He missed all of last year with an injury. He will be 34 next month and it has become clear to the Dolphins they are soft up the middle without Ferguson. They will turn over rocks to solidify that spot.

Finally, I wrote today he Dolphins should be taking a more serious view on playing Chad Henne after the next two games. That might be the answer to the idea of stretching the field. Absent a switch at QB, I don't see the Dolphins getting deep throws with much consistency the rest of the season.

OK, that's a lot to digest. Discuss ...

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