Omar Kelly wrote:
"We gave up 140 yards on three plays on special teams," Sparano said. "We kicked one out of bounds, putting it on the 40-yard line. We gave up a 54-yard kick return, and we had a blocked punt. In the end [the blocked punt was] for minus-7 [yards]. If you're saying that's [suppose to be] a 45-yard punt then we're at minus-50 now. That's three plays, [about] 150 yards you don't get back."http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miam ... 5338.story
Short kickoffs paired with lackluster coverage contributed to Brad Smith's 37.5 yard average on his four kickoff returns. The Dolphins are also struggling to produce respectable returns.
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This is the third season where Sparano has found himself stressing about the special teams unit, which he initially hoped would be an area of strength for the Dolphins.
"I got to figure out a way to fix that problem," Sparano said.
Sparano's clearly bouncing around the idea of using more starters considering he pointed out Chris Clemons, the starting free safety, produced a "championship performance" in his six special teams plays against the Jets, making eight blocks in six plays.
"On two plays, he knocked two people to the ground completely, both times," Sparano said. "His effort was outstanding. Now that's a starter that played 61 plays [on defense]….If I got to get a few more of those kind of guys involved to make this better then I will."
But Sparano's first choice is to motivate more core special teamers to raise their level of play, which might require a roster churning sacrifice.