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Reeling Dolphins maintain resolve

The SportsXchange

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (3-4) are desperate to stop their four-game losing streak as they prepare to play host to the Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium.

Miami is the first team since the 2002 New England Patriots to win their first three games and then lose their next four.

Coach Joe Philbin insists team morale isn't an issue.

"If you don't have a strong locker room, if you don't have good character individuals in the locker room, I think it could be a concern," he said. "I have a lot of faith in our guys. I believe in them. I think we'll get this thing right and fixed. We have to do it quickly. This is a good team coming in here on Thursday night."

If the Dolphins lose on Thursday they will have 11 days to stew on their five-game losing streak before visiting winless Tampa Bay on "Monday Night Football" (Nov. 11).

The Dolphins keep insisting it's little things, fundamentals, that have victimized them during this four-game losing streak. New England rushed for 111 yards in the second half en route to its 27-17 victory over Miami last week, but Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle insists his team didn't get plowed into the ground.

"There were two plays in particular that we mentioned, one we missed a tackle where we had an opportunity, and then one we just didn't fit it up as aggressively as needed, but they popped it through," Coyle said.

"Going back and looking at the tape closely, it wasn't a matter of ... we were just getting the ball run down our throats. They averaged 4.1 yards per carry at the end of the day which is much higher than what we want, but I don't think it's indicative of the run defense we played throughout most of the game."

Offensively, coordinator Mike Sherman said he also has no concerns about his players' mentality.

"I think we have a pretty resilient group of guys," he said. "I think we have excellent chemistry. The challenge that they have that I always talk to them about is that they can't let the noise outside the room effect the mindset inside the room.

"The only people that can make a difference are the people inside the room and they know that, they depend on each other. I think it's a good room and I feel like it's fairly resilient, I think we have good chemistry, I think we believe in each other. We didn't get the job done, very disappointed, very disappointed about that, but at the same time I believe that they'll fight back."

NOTES: TE Dion Sims (toe) missed practice for the second consecutive day Tuesday. ... RT Jonathan Martin (illness) missed practice for the second consecutive day. If he can't play most likely Tyson Clabo, who started at right tackle before the Dolphins acquired Bryant McKinnie from the Baltimore Ravens, would return to that spot.
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