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QB Green the least of Miami's problems

DAVIE, Fla. -- It's just like the days of Dan Marino: The least of the Miami Dolphins' problems this week is quarterback.

The Dolphins were disappointed with their defense, blocking, receiving and running game in the season-opening loss at Washington. But new QB Trent Green played well.

Still, Green hopes for improvement Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

"We didn't win, so I didn't grade myself very well at all," he said Thursday. "I've got to find a way to play better. I've got to find a way to make the people around me play better. We have room for growth on offense."

Miami scored only one touchdown at Washington -- on a pass by Green on the final play of the first half -- and lost 16-13 in overtime. But Green went 24-for-38 for 214 yards with no turnovers, and his statistics would have been more impressive if not for five dropped passes, including two on third down.

Green became the 11th quarterback to start for Miami since Marino retired following the 1999 season. It has seldom been the case in recent years, but there's no quarterback controversy this week.

"If you look at the throws Trent made in the game, he can still make all the throws," coach Cam Cameron said. "He still has some niftiness in the pocket, which he demonstrated. He plays this game a lot younger than he is."

At 37, Green is nearly as old as some of the Dolphins' alumni who attended Thursday's practice and gave him their player of the week award. All alumni vote on the honor, which is new this season, and John Offerdahl, Bob Brudzinski and Keith Sims were among those on hand to present it.

"I would have rather had the win," Green said with a smile, "but it is a nice honor."

Green knows he almost became the game's goat. With the score tied in the final minute of regulation, his last pass floated into the hands of cornerback Fred Smoot, who dropped it.

Because of such humbling moments, Green is disinclined to chide teammates when they drop passes.

"Obviously I don't like it," he said. "But I also know that guys aren't perfect. I've never played a perfect game."

While not flawless, Green's performance in his Dolphins debut was a relief to those wondering whether he had fully recovered from a severe concussion that sidelined him for half of last season with Kansas City. He was acquired from the Chiefs in June.

"He is real experienced, gets the ball out quick and knows coverages and blitzes," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. "This guy is an exceptional quarterback, and that's why they went out and got him."

The challenge Sunday for Green will be to keep up with Dallas' high-powered offense. While the Dolphins struggled last week on third down, sputtered in the red zone and never established their ground game, the Cowboys scored 45 to beat the New York Giants.

"I really am not too concerned with that," Green said. "I'm concerned with wanting us to play well and the offense getting better, whether they score a lot of points or don't.

"If it's a defensive battle and a field-position battle, we've got to find a way to win it. If it's a shootout, we've got to find a way to get it done as well."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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