Huard knows his place

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The Independent Online

Miami quarterback Damon Huard insists he is only keeping the seat warm for Dan Marino, while the quarterback recovers from a shoulder injury.

Miami quarterback Damon Huard insists he is only keeping the seat warm for Dan Marino, while the quarterback recovers from a shoulder injury.

The 38-year-old legend has already been on the sidelines for a few games and is set to miss three more as the AFC East leaders try to stretch their slim lead in the best division in football.

East rivals Buffalo, Indianapolis and New England each have just one fewer win than Miami.

Huard, a former quarterback in Frankfurt in NFL Europe, has yet to cement his place as the heir to Marino's throne.

A strong, mistake-free performance against a Bills side which has won nine of its last 11 home games - and the only team to beat the Dolphins this season - would boost his credentials.

"Dan has been very durable here the last few years, and he is going to be back; he is going to come back strong from this injury, I know he is," said Huard.

"But until he does this is my job, and what I am paid to do is to fill in for him when he can't do it."

Buffalo took advantage of three Marino turnovers to grab a 23-18 win at Pro Player Stadium last month.

Huard has won all three games as the starter, but it has been coach Jimmy Johnson's 'reign of terror' defence which has given Miami the best record in football.

Miami's defence has not allowed a touchdown in the last 14 quarters - the stingiest stretch in club history. It has not allowed a rushing score all season.

Wide receiver Tony Martin, a key figure in Atlanta's Super Bowl run last year, is adamant that the attack has to get on track on Miami's championship dreams will be dashed.

"We're counting on our defence too much," said Martin.

"We want to be aggressive and be the ones to take the ball game to the other team. What is this, week nine? We should be in rare form by now. We've got to step our game up and stop relying on the defence to win the games for us."

The Bills, coming off an impressive 34-17 win at Washington, are 14-2 when Doug Flutie has been the starting quarterback at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

St Louis try to get back on track after back-to-back defeats when they host NFC West rivals Carolina.

Pittsburgh, winners of five games, need to triumph at Three Rivers Stadium against AFC Central foes Cleveland to boost their play-off hopes.

Indianapolis give NFC East joint leaders New York Giants their biggest test of the season in the Meadowlands.

Kansas City hope to bounce back from defeat against the Colts when they travel to Tampa Bay.

Other games: Chicago v Minnesota, New Orleans v San Francisco, Cincinnati v Tennessee, Philadelphia v Washington, Jacksonville v Baltimore, Oakland v San Diego, Arizona v Detroit, Dallas v Green Bay, Seattle v Denver and (Monday) New England v New York Jets.

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