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A quickie look at the week past, present and future

Joe Philbin is a structured man with rules he likes followed. It is the reason everyone on the Dolphins traveling party -- players, coaches, even staffers -- have a curfew on road trips. It is the reason he changed the timing of the weekly press conferences for coordinators Kevin Coyle and Mike Sherman.

While practically every other team in the NFL makes their coordinators available on Thursdays, the Dolphins typically do it on Mondays because Philbin has a 24-hour rule and doesn't want his assistants answering questions about last week's game four days after it ended.

The point is Philbin likes his team focused on one game -- the one coming up next.

As we are not burdened here by those rules, I want to look at the broader landscape of three weeks -- last week, this one, and the one ahead.

The impetus for this view was Thursday night's game between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals -- the opponent the Dolphins just played (Arizona) and the one they will play after Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

I watched that game and, frankly, became a little annoyed.

I was annoyed that Arizona could be defeated seemingly so easily by the Rams, 17-3.

I was annoyed that St. Louis did pretty much what the Dolphins did to the Cardinals offensive line, with nine sacks to Miami's eight, and that pretty much was the ballgame. The Cardinals did not, could not attack the Rams secondary like they did Miami's.

I was annoyed that the Rams won despite making very few big plays on offense. Yes, Sam Bradford connected on a  51-yard touchdown pass. But he completed only seven passes all game. Seven! The Rams threw for a total of 141 yards. And they still won.

Meanwhile the Dolphins completed 26 passes for 431 yards and still lost.

I was annoyed that Miami basically played better on offense than St. Louis, produced as much in the front seven defensively, and still lost. I can't escape the feeling that such a major effort was wasted.

Looking ahead, meanwhile, the Rams concern me now. Jeff Fisher, who turned down the Dolphins coaching job last winter, is getting a lot out of a team that doesn't seem all that talented. The Rams are 3-2.

And it is troubling that having defeated the Cardinals, the Rams now have 10 days to rest and prepare for the Dolphins on Oct. 14.

I will say that the Rams do not have a very good wide receiver corps and it is about to get worse. Danny Amendola sustained what the Rams called a shoulder injury during the game and did not return. I saw on the sideline when he was talking to trainers and it looked like they were looking at his collarbone.

Judging that and how Amendola reacted after the injury -- throwing his helmet as if something terribly serious had happened -- I would not be surprised if he has some sort of fracture that will keep him from playing against Miami. It may also keep him out much, much longer than that.

Never want a player injured, but that injury is a plus for Miami.

And what about this week?

One thing that has slipped under the radar the past couple of weeks is the injury to cornerback Richard Marshall. The starter has not practiced so far this week and I would not be surprised if he misses practice Friday.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if he misses the game against Cincinnati Sunday.

Marshall is severely limited and even painkillers haven't helped him from playing at a subpar level the past couple of weeks.

The Dolphins may decide they need to shut him down for a week or that he is too much of a liability to put on the field against Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Even if Marshall is active, it is clear he is diminished. It's been that way for a couple of weeks.

That means Nolan Carroll will have to perform at a higher level. That means RJ Stanford may actually have to get significant playing time. And heaven forbid if the Achilles' injury that has hampered Carroll the past two weeks -- limiting him in practice -- rears up during the game.

None of this gives me a good feel about Sunday.

And that too annoys me.

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