Bye week inventory: Miami Dolphins

A look at the Miami Dolphins heading into their bye weekend ...

Reason for hope: The Dolphins stagger into their bye week with back-to-back home losses, but they are 2-2 because they won both of their road games. The Dolphins are a balanced team seemingly with playoff-caliber talent on both offense and defense. Although they're still finding their way, I still can envision the Dolphins making a run at the division title.

Brandon Marshall has showed flashes of why he's considered one of the NFL's biggest receiving threats. He can dominate a game. Davone Bess has become a top-notch slot receiver who's clutch on third down. Ronnie Brown is averaging 4.7 yards a carry, and Ricky Williams looks sensational, even though he isn't getting the same turn-back-the-clock attention as LaDainian Tomlinson. Defensively, cornerback Vontae Davis is forcing teams to throw away from him. Outside linebacker Cameron Wake is on pace for 12 sacks.

Cause for concern: A quarter into the season, the Dolphins still are searching for their offensive identity. They appear torn between being that run-dominant club of the past two years and a team that wants to sling the ball with Chad Henne and Marshall as the stars. Henne doesn't look too comfortable in the role yet. Also, the Dolphins remain attached to the Wildcat despite averaging less than 2 yards a try.

Special teams has been a glaring weakness. Head coach Tony Sparano made a move to correct that by firing coordinator John Bonamego and promoting assistant Darren Rizzi. They have two weeks to patch up their problems there. Pass defense has been another issue. While the Dolphins rank sixth in allowing only 181.5 air yards a game, that number is skewed. They faced Trent Edwards in Week 1, a bumbling Brett Favre in Week 2 and Tom Brady hardly had to throw in Monday night's 41-14 "Gong Show." The Dolphins still have trouble covering tight ends, and right cornerback Jason Allen is a liability on No. 2 receivers.

Time to heal: A week off will help Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long cope with the knee that has been bothering him. Rookie defensive end Jared Odrick, their first-round pick, should return from an ankle injury after the bye. Inside linebacker Channing Crowder is slowly recovering from a groin problem that has keep him off the field all season.

AccuScore forecast: The projection is for a 9-7 record. The Dolphins have a 10 percent chance to win the AFC East, and a 24 percent chance to get into the playoffs.