ARTICLE FROM THE PALM BEACH POST'S BEN VOLIN ON TEAMS POST GAME REACTION
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano wasn’t asked about his team’s effort in the postgame press conference Monday night.
But after watching his team struggle and appear flat in a 24-6 loss to the arch-rival Jets on national television, Sparano felt the need to address the topic, anyway.
“I thought tonight early in this game they played their tails off, played with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of emotion,” Sparano said, unprompted. “I think they played hard the whole game. That wasn’t a question.”
That could be debated. The Dolphins showed little emotion on the sideline or on the field, and not just because Brandon Marshall didn’t get ejected, as he jokingly said he would earlier in the week.
Only Brian Hartline bothered to chase down Darrelle Revis in the first quarter, when he literally walked into the end zone backwards to cap off a 100-yard touchdown return. Linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby seemed to give up on the play whenSantonio Holmes scampered 38 yards for a touchdown in the second half. And the postgame locker room lacked the usual anger and frustration that usually comes after losses.
Safety Yeremiah Bell, the second-longest tenured Dolphin behind Jason Taylor, didn’t question his teammates’ effort but said that a team that returned 16 starters from last year still doesn’t know how to finish ballgames.
“The effort is there, we’re just not getting it done,” Bell said. “We haven’t quite figured out how to win games yet. I think that’s our major problem right now. We’re playing hard, but things just aren’t going our way at times.”
Receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught six passes for 109 yards but dropped another pass in the end zone and missed out on another when he couldn’t prevent himself from drifting out of bounds on a 46-yard catch, vowed that his teammates haven’t given up on the season.
“We have way too much character in the locker room,” he said. “We owe it to the city of Miami, we owe it to ownership to play better, and this is embarrassing. We have way too many players in our locker room to be sitting at 0-5.”
The Dolphins are 0-5 for the third time in the last eight years (2004, 2007), but Bell said this year’s team is more disappointing than the 2007 squad, which finished 1-15.
“This team is way better than the ‘07 team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more players. We just got to figure out how to get it done.”