By BARRY JACKSON
The Miami Herald
MIAMI -- As the opposing quarterback barks out signals and the behemoth offensive linemen settle into their stance, a quiet confidence washes over Paul Soliai and Randy Starks.
Confidence not only in their ability to do their job, but confidence the other one will do theirs, too.
"Paul is to the point where I can really trust him," Starks said. "You have to communicate sometimes without talking. We know what we're thinking."
Soliai and Starks have been Dolphins teammates for 4 1/2 seasons, but this is the first time they are paired together as starting tackles in a 4-3 base.
The two 28-year-old tackles stand at the epicenter of a defense that ranks third in the league stopping the run and is holding opponents to 3.5 yards per carry - tied for second best in franchise history, behind the 3.3 against the 2003 defense.
"They are exceptional," defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said this week. "The entire defense, everything starts with them inside. They set the tone and make it very difficult for teams to run the ball."
To appreciate their work, listen to how Coyle summarizes what they did against the Jets on Sunday.
"Randy made the play on the opening play of the game," Coyle said, citing Starks' and Chris Clemons' tackle of Shonn Greene for a 1-yard loss on the Jets' first offensive play.
Starks would like to stay, too, but he likely would consider outside offers as a free agent if the Dolphins don't extend him before March. He said the Dolphins haven't started serious negotiations. "Maybe they want to see more," he said.
But his price is rising. One agent, unaffiliated with Starks, said he stands to make more than the four-year, $24 million deal that St. Louis gave to former Dolphins defensive lineman Kendall Langford this past March.
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