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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE AFC / EAST

They Can Walk the Walk

October 06, 2000

So what's the secret to the Miami Dolphin defense, which has largely carried the team?

A little cockiness, a little swagger. And, oh yes, a lot of talent.

"This year is a whole new attitude," said defensive end Jason Taylor, who already has 5 1/2 sacks after getting only 2 1/2 last season. "I've just been playing with a lot more confidence. You've got to walk around with borderline cockiness and a swagger. If you don't have it, you're not going to make it."

Funny, nobody walked around with more cockiness and swagger last season than former coach Jimmy Johnson, but it has taken new Coach Dave Wannstedt to turn things around.

It's easy to see why the St. Louis Rams are unbeaten.

The Jets? That's a little tougher to analyze.

Yes, they have running back Curtis Martin, but even with Martin's multidimensional skills, New York has had to pull out three of its four games in the fourth quarter and has yet to win by more than 13 points.

To stay in the win column, the Jets have needed fortunate bounces--Mike Alstott's fumble, Chris Watson's two bobbles on punt returns, and Antonio Langham's missed interception that became Wayne Chrebet's game-winning touchdown grab.

"They are not 4-0 by any degree of luck," Steeler Coach Bill Cowher insists.

Maybe Cowher, whose team plays the Jets this week, should have had his fingers crossed when he said that.

Just to be safe.

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