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One Day Later...

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As we put a bow on Sunday's win over the Seahawks, let's just quickly touch on a number of things that are being talked about down in South Florida:

OK.  I'm aware that the expectations of this particular season have changed a bit since training camp.  Back in July, we were all just hoping to see improvement in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Yes, I get that now things have changed.  The Dolphins are 5-4 and just one game out of the division lead.  But can we not forget about where this team has come from since last year?  I think some journalists have forgotten this fact.  One of them, Edwin Pope, writes the following:

The Dolphins started gangbusters and finished with the touchdown they needed to nose out one of the worst teams in the National Football League.

That was good. Only they looked awful in between. They couldn't run, couldn't pass, couldn't block, couldn't tackle. The Seahawks -- the lowly Seahawks, for crying out loud -- were literally playing the Dolphins off their feet.

How quickly we forget that it was just last season when the Dolphins weren't just the Dolphins, but rather the "lowly Dolphins."  Complaining about a win - at this stage in the rebuilding process - is almost laughable.

Now I'll admit that I was one of those fans who thought the Dolphins would blow Seattle out of the water.  Yes, I did indeed "take the cheese."  But Sunday taught me a valuable lesson: this is still a team learning how to win.  So let's temper those expectations a bit and not complain about a win - no matter how ugly. 

After all, do they keep stats on how many of those wins in the standings are "ugly wins"?

Less than 24 hours after knocking off the Seahawks, the front office was back at it - turning over some more rocks.

The Dolphins have brought back safety Courtney Bryan, who the Fins released back in August.  To make room, they cut safety Brannon Condren.  Condren was brought in to help on special teams - but clearly didn't help.  The idea here is that Bryan will bolster Miami's coverage units.  Hopefully the front office is right.

In a more intriguing move, the Dolphins have also signed WR Todd Lowber to their practice squad.  Why is this more intriguing?  Lowber is an immensely gifted athlete, but is very raw in terms of his football skills.

You see, Lowber (6'3, 205) was a basketball star at Stockton College (for 2 years) and Ramapo College (after transferring) - both in that great state of New Jersey.  And in 2006, Lowber was also the NCAA Division III National Champion in the high-jump.  So, like I said, he's a natural athlete.

But Lowber had never played football until 2007, when the Vikings signed him.  But Lowber was cut in August of '07 and signed to the Giants' practice squad.  He spent all of the '07 season on NY's practice squad, along with Brandon London, and earned a Super Bowl ring in the process.  London then spent 2008's training camp with the Cowboys, seeing action in 4 preseason games and catching 2 passes for 44 yards.  But Lowber was one of Dallas' final cuts and remained unsigned until the Dolphins snatched him up on Monday.

So he's very raw and inexperienced, but is an intriguing process.  It'll be interested to see how Todd develops between now and next year at training camp.

The Dolphins have a number of key free agents after this season.  But none are more important or more valuable than Yeremiah Bell - Miami's stud strong safety who is having a terrific season.  Consider the numbers: Bell ranks 10th in the NFL in tackles (2nd among safeties) with 71; ranks 2nd in the NFL with 3 forced fumbles; and ranks 10th among all safeties with 7 pass deflections - including some rather huge breakups like the one last week on Seattle 2-point conversion attempt and the one against the Chargers in the 4th quarter that prevented a potential 1st down on SD's final possession of the game.

With that said, it does seem like there are some talks going on between Bell's agent and the Dolphins.  But I think there could be some problems with this.  For instance, what's he worth and for how long?

Bell is in the midst of a one-year deal that pays him $1.4 million.  But he's proven that he's healthy, though injuries have always been a problem for Bell in the past.  He'll also be 31 years old in March.  So how long of a deal should Bell be offered and how much should the deal be worth?  Those are questions I've pondered but have been unable to really answer.

Hopefully, though, Jeff Ireland and company can find an answer that works for both Bell and the Dolphins - keeping the "play-making bullfrog" in Miami for at least a few more seasons.