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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Week 2 Hope and Concern: Dolphins

By James Walker

The Miami Dolphins (0-1) will try to get in the win column Sunday against the Houston Texans (1-0). Here are Miami's biggest reasons for hope and concern in Week 2:

Reason for hope: Chad Henne/offense

Was it a one-game wonder? No one knows for sure. But quarterback Chad Henne and Miami's offense looked pretty good in a Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots. Despite some struggles on third down and in the red zone, Miami registered 488 total yards. Henne threw for a career-high 416 yards and produced three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Miami can win its share of games if Henne continues to play at this level. Miami also is getting healthier at running back. Rookie Daniel Thomas and fullback Charles Clay might both return Sunday from hamstring injuries. More depth could help spell Reggie Bush, who played every snap last week.

Reason for concern: Pass defense

Miami's defense was pretty good last season. The Dolphins ranked sixth in yards allowed in 2010. But I don't know if this group could play any worse than it did Monday night against New England. Yes, Tom Brady (517 yards, four touchdowns) was amazing. But Miami's missed tackles, blown coverages and lack of pass rush cannot be ignored. Miami made one casualty from that performance. Former Dolphins cornerback Benny Sapp was released and they added veteran corner Will Allen. Coming into the season, I considered Miami's defense the strength of the team. The Dolphins don't appear to be a team built to win high-scoring shootouts. It's going to be hard for Miami to avoid a slow start if the defense can't quickly round into form.