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Thursday, October 21, 2004
Huizenga disappointed, focused on 2005

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga said he's surprised and disappointed the team is off to the worst start in its 39-year history, but he hasn't made any decision regarding the future of coach Dave Wannstedt or general manager Rick Spielman.

Huizenga said his staff is formulating a plan to improve the organization but didn't elaborate.

"It has been a very disappointing year for us, needless to say," Huizenga said Thursday. "We're trying to get focused for next year as to what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. Thus far no decisions have been made."

Miami, the only winless team in the NFL, takes an 0-6 record into Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams. Three more losses would ensure the Dolphins' first losing season since 1988. Huizenga bought them in 1994.

Wannstedt and Spielman have been widely criticized for their roles in the decline. Huizenga said any changes would likely come after the season.

"And I'm not sure we'll do something after the season other than having a plan," he said. "We don't know what we're going to do. I like both of those guys."

Wannstedt said he believes he still has Huizenga's confidence.

"I think he's obviously got confidence from the standpoint that he's hopeful and optimistic that we can get this thing turned in the right direction," Wannstedt said.

"Wayne and I talk every week. ... Everybody is disappointed. Everybody would agree to that. The guys are working to get better and get it turned. We know what's kept us from being successful in some games. Some things we can control. Some things we can't. The things we can control we're going to get corrected."

Huizenga said he expected his team to finish above .500 this season even after running back Ricky Williams retired shortly before the start of training camp.

"We were disappointed when Ricky didn't come, but that didn't mean we didn't think we were going to have a good season," Huizenga said.

"It's tough. But look at the Yankees on Wednesday night. They won three games in a row, and you would think they would win one more game. For somebody like the Yankees to go four and out -- but it happens in sports."

The Dolphins' dismal start follows an offseason organizational reshuffling by Huizenga that drew widespread criticism. Wannstedt was stripped of authority over personnel matters but also given a two-year contract extension. Player personnel chief Spielman was promoted to general manager. Dan Marino was hired as an executive but had second thoughts about the commitment and quit 22 days later.