Wannstedt 'not concerned' about security

Updated: September 9, 2003, 3:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

DAVIE, Fla. -- The only other coach ever to lose to the Houston Texans in a season opener lost his job 15 games later. Will Dave Wannstedt suffer a similar fate?

Certainly the heat is on Wannstedt even more than it was for Dave Campo a year ago when the Cowboys lost to Houston in the Texans' inaugural game.

After all, the expection level is certainly higher in Miami than it was in Dallas last season. And that game last season was in Houston -- not Miami, where the Dolphins had not lost a game in September since 1993 until Sunday's shocking 21-20 loss to the Texans, who came in as two-touchdown underdogs.

But give Wannstedt -- who once worked next to Campo on Jimmy Johnson's coaching staff in Dallas -- credit for resiliency. He managed a smile Monday, less than 24 hours after the Dolphins' comedy of errors. He even chuckled when asked about being on the hot seat in his fourth season as head coach.

"I don't know what that means and really can't be concerned about it," Wannstedt said. "I'm excited about this season. I believe in these guys and what we're doing."

Touted as perhaps the best team in the AFC, the Dolphins They're 0-1 for the first time since 1991 and below .500 for the first time since 1996, and they must try to rebound on the road Sunday against their biggest nemesis, the New York Jets.

It's not the way Wannstedt wanted to start the season, especially given his tenuous job security. Numerous frenetic fans angrily vented Monday in phone calls and e-mails to local media. Targets of their ire ranged from Wannstedt to quarterback Jay Fiedler to punter Mark Royals.

"I know the expectations and everything that's being talked about," Wannstedt said. "But nothing has changed in my mind one bit on how I feel about this team. I like the guys we're going into battle with."

Following a humiliating collapse at the end of last year and a series of highly publicized offseason moves, the Dolphins were supposedly hungry and talented. They appeared to be neither against the 1-year-old Texans.

"It's a tough pill to swallow for a team like ours that has Super Bowl aspirations," safety Brock Marion said. "Why did we lose? It's baffling."

Among the reasons: Houston stopped Jason Taylor and stymied Ricky Williams, forced three turnovers while committing none and played with more poise in the fourth quarter. Wasted timeouts left the Dolphins without any when they desperately needed one in the final moments. They were flagged for 15 penalties, including four that were declined or offset.

"Dumb stuff," Wannstedt said. "There's no excuse for it."

Twice, long snapper Sean McDermott bobbed his head, trying to draw Houston offside on a punt, and the Dolphins jumped instead. When Royals did kick, he drew boos.

And then there was the matter of ill-advised trash-talking. The Texans said they were inspired by disrespectful comments from the Dolphins, especially a remark by backup defensive end Jay Williams, who told Houston players before the game he would see them ``after practice.''

"Here's what happened," Williams said. "I arrived at the stadium at the same time the Houston bus came, and Charlie Clemons, Corey Sears and Zach Wiegert got off the bus at the same time. It was like a little reunion because we all played together at St. Louis. After we said our hellos and were about to say our goodbyes, I said, 'I'll see you after practice.'

"It was a slip of words, because I have much respect for Charlie, Corey and Zach. It was a slip of words. I told them, 'Y'all know what I mean.' But Charlie took that into the locker room, and they fed off it."

Wannstedt said he was sure Williams didn't intend to suggest Miami expected an easy game against the Texans. But cornerback Sam Madison confessed: "We took these guys lightly."

Maybe that's why a defense with seven Pro Bowl players failed to protect a 14-6 lead. Houston rallied thanks in part to a 78-yard touchdown pass and a 7½-minute fourth-quarter drive. The Dolphins failed to register a sack against a team that allowed an NFL-record 76 last year, and All-Pro end Taylor didn't even make a tackle.

On offense, new starting receiver Derrius Thompson didn't make a catch. Williams, last year's NFL rushing champion, carried just 17 times for 69 yards and lost a costly fumble. The line struggled, and Wannstedt said a shakeup there is possible this week.

"We let ourselves down. We let everyone down," Fiedler said. "The only positive is that it's still very early in the year."

The Dolphins can draw consolation from the AFC East standings, where two of their three division rivals are also 0-1. Last year, six teams made the playoffs after losing their opener.

But Miami has lost each of the past five years on the Jets' field, and unless that streak ends, the Dolphins will be 0-2 for only the second time since 1969. It happened most recently in 1988 -- the last time Miami had a losing season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.