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The focal point of attention in Miami? Always OL

In the next 24 hours you will hear that Monday Night's game will come down to turnovers or how Chad Pennington compares with Peyton Manning or whether the Wildcat is unleashed on more than just three plays.

There are a myriad focus points that could determine the outcome of the game.

Can we get to the bottom line for the Dolphins? The offensive line.

Look there when Monday's night's game is complete. If the Dolphins line has played well, it will more than likely mean the team has won. If the line plays poorly -- as it did last week versus Atlanta -- Dolphins fans will be staring at an 0-2 record.

That's because with the way the Dolphins have been built -- with $156 million in salary spent on the starting line, with tons of draft pick and free agent resources expended there -- when the offensive line plays well, life is good.

When the offensive line lays a collective ostrich-sized egg ...

"It could be bad," left guard Justin Smiley said. "I agree with that 100 percent. I have a saying: Heavy is the head that wears the crown. They give you a lot. They expect a lot in return. And this is a high-performance business. It's like, you may like your pool guy, but if you come home and your pool is dirty, you're getting a new pool guy. That's the bottom line. So we got to be able to get it done."

One might argue the play of any NFL's team offensive line typically determines whether that team wins or not. That could be true, although not in all instances. But I argue Miami's line is exponentially more important to the success of this team because that is where the Dolphins have placed the most emphasis since Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano have come to South Florida.

Think about it:

Miami's first free agent signee under Parcells? Smiley, at precisely 23 minutes after the start of free agency in 2008.

Miami's first draft pick under Parcells? Left tackle Jake Long, who remains the NFL's highest-paid lineman at an average of over $10 million per season.

The unit on which the most money was utilized during the 2009 free agency period? You guessed it, the offensive line, where right tackle Vernon Carey was re-signed for $42 million and center Jake Grove was signed for $29.5 million.

And what should the Dolphins expect for using so many resources on the offensive line? The team strength. The team's foundation. The team's unquestioned epicenter.

And what have the Dolphins actually gotten for using so many resources on the offensive line? Let's just say the return has not yet matched the investment.

"I say we've done some really nice things, but we've been too inconsistent in the preseason to go to where we want to go against the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers and Patriots," Smiley said. "We got the big boys now."

Miami's big boys have gotten their butts handed to them the past two games they've played together for a significant number of snaps. The Falcons had four sacks and made the Miami running game -- by no means a failure -- of non-effect, anyway.

Before that regular-season opener, the Miami line put much effort into making an impact during the third preseason game -- the dress rehearsal for the opener. And that game was also a disappointment for the linemen. 

"There [were] too many four guys kicking butt and one guy not doing good on each play -- whether it was me or somebody else," Smiley said. "We're a team within a team. It's no way to make a living when one guy isn't doing his job and the other four are. And I've been on the bad end of that one as much as anybody."

Well, that has to stop if Miami is to beat the Colts. Indianapolis present another quick line with premier pass rushers and the Dolphins will be severely tested.

Miami, of course, seems prepared. Linemen this week held extra meetings among themselves to help identify the problems. Sparano, a former line coach, rolled up his sleeves and worked with assistant Dave DeGuglielmo to find reasons for the problems and correct them.

Their success in doing that will be measured by how well the line plays Monday night. And that is kind of important. Because, for the Dolphins, how the well line plays usually determines whether the team wins or loses.

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