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The battle versus physical receivers continues

It has become clear to the Dolphins coaching staff that Miami's secondary can hold its own against smallish, quick, agile receivers. But strong, tall, physical receivers are another story.

The Dolphins lost every single battle against Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter this year. They won or held their own against guys like Laveranues Coles, Wes Welker and others.

The problem, coach Tony Sparano says, is that Miami's 11 remaining games promises many matchups against big, strong receivers.

"We're going to see it," Sparano said. "In this league there are a lot of big receivers. We're going to see it. We've just got to do a better job of making plays. Several times with Andre Johnson, we were in position to make plays and just didn't make the play. That sounds easy, you hear it from the players, and you'll hear it from coaches. You've just got to make plays. We've got to make plays.

"That's a reality. You're in position to make the play. Or the other guy does. One way or the other somebody's going to make it and somebody's not going to make it. We need to make more than we don't. In the game that we do, we win. In the games we don't, we haven't. We're going to see more of it."

A look at Miami's schedule shows the Dolphins won't be facing prototypical big receivers the next two games against Baltimore and Buffalo. Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason for Baltimore are not imposing guys, as neither reaches 6-feet nor is at 200 pounds. Same with Lee Evans and Josh Reed for Buffalo.

But there are some games afterward that should get the attention of the Miami secondary.

Denver will come at them with 6-4 and 230-pound monster Brandon Marshall -- not to mention smallish but fleet rookie sensation Eddie Royal.

Seattle will compete with 6-1 and 205-pound Koren Robinson, 6-1, 210-pound Keary Colbert, and 6-1 and 205-pound Courtney Taylor, not to mention 6-4 and 215-pound Billy McMullen.

Oakland is starting 6-2 and 210-pound Ronald Curry and 6-3 and 215-pound Javon Walker.

The Patriots have Randy Moss, who is 6-4 and 210, but the saving grace there is he doesn't have much of a QB throwing to him these days -- just ask Joey Porter.

The Rams' best receiver is Torry Holt who isn't imposing. But Drew Bennett, their possession guy is 6-5 and 197.

San Francisco has 6-3 and 211-pounder Bryant Johnson and 6-1 and 208-pounder Arnaz Battle. Kansas City has 6-2 and 221-pounder Dwayne Bowe and 6-1 and 213-pounder Devard Darling.

That means the Dolphins have seven games remaining against teams with the type of receivers the secondary typically struggles against. None of those receivers outside of Bowe and Moss and Marshall are game-changers. But all are capable of making plays.

So what will the Dolphins do to keep those players from making too many plays?

"All we can do is keep putting them in position in practice" Sparano said of his secondary. "We have three big receivers that work every day in practice out there, every day. We had some balls, quite honestly this week in practice, that were caught in some of those competitive situations. We need to do a better job in practice of competing to get the ball out and not to allow that to happen."


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The game against Houston was really enjoyable, despite the loss. One question- on the last play, it appeared the defense had men lined up on the left side and on the right-NOBODY in the middle. All Staub had to do was nothing much more than WALK in. This is not a criticism because they played a beautiful game. I could, and probably am, wrong. Please comment.

I just want to add this thought about the trade deadline in the NFL. i feel that the trade deadline is way too early in the season for teams to make changes to their rosters that will affect the teams chances at making a run. All other sports have much later deadlines thus making the trading mid season much more exciting and much more effective. Its only October 14th, 6 weeks into a 17 week season, basically only 1/3 of the season has been played and too many teams are still in it. By moving the trade deadline to week 10 I think you would see alot more trading and much more exciting finish to the end of the season. Look how exciting trades late in the season have been for baseball, NBA, and NHL. Just would like some thoughts on this issue.

Maybe this is why we se such a difference in some of our defensive backs from game to game. Maybe Jason Allen is a good defender againts a big reciever, but gets burned when going up againts the smaller/faster ones. It sorta explains the inconsistency that I have seen.

Your right, nobody was in the middle. I knew they would run the QB draw the moment I saw the Texans lineup with nobody in the backfield. They spread Miami out and let the 5 OL mash the 4 DL. Pretty simple. It was a good game. I had a bad feeling before the game began. Houston should have won against Indy. Miami has 5 of next 6 games at home. If they can go 4-2 against the likes of Balt, Buff, Den, Sea, Oak, and NE. I think they will be in pretty good shape following Thanksgiving.

While I agree we struggle against big receivers, we've only struggled against big receivers who are established stars. Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Johnson are top 10 receivers in this league. I am sure we will struggle against Brandon Marshall because he is a beast but I don't think we need to worry about guys like Koren Robinson. Yeah, he is big but he is garbage compared to the big guys who have been hurting us.

seems to me that keary colbert has been traded to seattle for lets see about a month now. get with the program

Plain and simple.....we need to upgrade the DB's and the WR on this team.

So why doesn't the damn coach put in the friggin one guy we have who is 6 feet and 200+ pounds with 4.4 speed? Just try the kid...geeeeez. Isn't this the year to find out if he can sink or swim?

Armando, ask the coach about Jason Again. Screw asking the defensive coordinator. Ask Sparano doesn't he think he would match up better than the other's against these big receivers? Why won't they let this kid play? He was fine last year and this pre-season.

Big recievers or not, we lost by one point! what is the definition of ONE point as it relates to the grid-iron? if a team scores EIGHT points from a single drive, and the other team scores only SEVEN it means you have just forced the other team to drive 200 yards compared to your 100 yards to overcome this 1 point defecit. you actually put the other team behind by an entire drive(or, 100 yds). this was the situation in houston, we were behind by an entire time consuming drive(1 point or 7, it doesn't matter!) the advantages are, the team who goes for the 2point conversion has the element of surprise and does not have to drive an extra 100 yards to achieve this simple advantage, conversley the other team is pressured into driving the entire length of the field AGAIN(where an array of mishaps can happen) just to overcome this single point, in addition, any attempt to overcome this by a two point conversion will have lost its element of surprise. this should be one more simple problem added to other simple problems to achieve complexity!

I was proud of their effort and think some of the blame lies with Pasquiloni. Teams that run a spread offense give him fits. In this order I believe we are one or several receivers, corners, linebackers, & linemen away. We need to draft Crabtree

JJ, you are a genius!! Your comment "Plain and simple.....we need to upgrade the DB's and the WR on this team" is perfect! Wow, why couldn't the coaching staff or management think of that?! I would not to be shocked for your phone to ring as a talent evaluator any second now!!!

drsamii, I agree in regards to J. Allen and wish the head coach would be address as the others NEVER give an answer. He plays well in the games, I could care less on what he does in practice. He's not going to get any better on the sidelines. His size and athletic ability warrants playing time in this secondary.

Its not the wide outs that lost us that game!

Mismanagement of time... Ronnie stop running out of bounce... and remember to win the game with the offense on the field... take a dive at the one (Brian Westbrook)

Crowder don't be afraid to call your team's last time-out. You knew the field was wide open and you followed the back away from the middle of the defense. A football team shoulf never leave a half with time-outs availble. They must all be spent.

Micheal Lehan has returned a terrible corner...
Good players don't slip!!!... twice

Trade deadline is today. doesn't philly have a cornerbackwho is dying to 2 start in this league? greenbay has a reciever who i've been RAVING (literally) about by the name of jordy nelson. we are a young team so y not a "proven rookie" who is big fast, can return, sparano would like *hint* *hint* he can play more than one position which seems to be the reason they don't play wilford or hagan. C'MON DOLPHINS "LOOK UNDER ALLLLLL THE ROCKS"

I’ve always felt CB was the second hardest position on the football field aside from QB… The WRs are big, strong, fast and they know where they’re going. Typically a CB cannot be as big as a WR because he has to have great recovery skills once the WR goes into his break. It’s hard for a bigger guy to make those kinds of adjustments. Most of the great corners in the league have been smaller guys with tremendous speed, Darrell Green and Dion Sanders come immediately to mind.

When looking at a lot of the big plays against us there was a guy in position to make a play he was just a step behind or not physical enough… The physicality needs to change. But that comes from taking chances. Coming hard at a guy and throwing your body around can cause a big play when you miss and are off balance but the big plays are happening anyway. Stop playing the ball and play the man. It looks to me like we are trying to hard to locate the ball and not hitting the receiver and hitting him hard.

In a nutshell it looks to me like our CBs need to hit somebody and quit playing soft.

Good point Patrick. We have Will Allen one side who is a pretty good corner in this league and on the other side we have a corner who every team picks on just because they know they can at least get a 1st down against him at least. Lito sheppard is AGGRESIVE small quik and is better than W.Allen. Does any one agree???? Ireland, Parcells anyone?

play J Allen on the other teams biggest receivers. It can't be worse than what is happening. He at least is athletic and fast enough to stick with any of them. And big enough with enough leaping ability to slam the ball out of their hands. YOU have to punch the ball away from these guys not reach for it with your hands and try to just knock it away.

Just so I'm clear we have 3 big, strong receivers to practice against, and they make plays against our secondary, but thier not allowed to play/make plays on Sundays. Would the three be Hagan, Wilford & Ginn?
The 4th down play that Johnson made on Sunday on the last drive was just that 'a play'. Schaub threw the ball, like a man, into tight coverage and gave his receiver a chance to make a play.

I agreed to get on board the noodle arm of CPenn and the back-door wild card formations but lets face it: There are no more back-door surprises being delivered by the Dolphs this season, on the field.
The O-line has played like men. The defense has played like men. WE NEED SOMEONE TO THROW THE BALL LIKE A MAN TO OUR RECEIVERS.

Roy Williams is now with the Cowboys. ____________ is now with the Dolphins. Wat a great NFL trade day. :\

How is it possible that fast, athletic, prolific, big-time college receivers come to the dolphins and all of a sudden none of them can catch the ball? And at the same time we have a qb that does great on those deep 25 yard pass plays whenever the db falls down but otherwise doesn't even try. And here we are crying that we have no receivers?
Mando: I got with the program and I held my keyboard as long as I could but there is only so much urine to face that I can take and I've reached my breaking point.

Exactly Peter. We've all heard the "turning over all the rocks" phrase. But to me that's BS if we can't get something out of the trade/deadline. Oh wait, it's 4:20, too late.

What a load!

thanks joe. that turnign over rocks thing is obviously not working on the secondary or the receiving side according to the coaches. Or is it the coaches that aren't doing their job with the secondary and receiving choices. What i do find as sum pack of BS is dat they don't start wilford and camarillo. 2 big recievers against any team should be a problem a la cardinals with or without boldin. start ginn on kick and punt return duties and switch bess and ginn on the slot position when necessary so we kan we games by a landslide so that teams don't have a chance to come back in the 2nd half. Maybe i should fire ireland and hire ME.

*win games by a landslide not we*


If memory serves me correctly Westbrook stopped at the 1 yard line when his team had the lead. I would love to see your response had Ronnie stopped at the one yard line, and on the next play we fumble the snap, or we kneel down and get the FG blocked or miss it with very little time left. In that case you play for the TD and if all else fails you kick the FG. You have to take the TD if it is there in front of you. We lost the game because we couldn't stop them from going 76 yards in 1:45.. We didn't lose the game because of poor clock management. You arm chair QB's crack me up with your superior knowledge.. It sure is easy to be a genius when the answers have already been given. Unbelievable that you blame this loss on Ronnie Brown not falling down at the one and running more time off the clock.. Un freakin believable.. Honestly the team deserves better fans then you!

I agree with the fact that Brown had to score the TD, you take that every time. On our WR and DB's, The Tuna knew how bad they were but wanted the trenches addressed first and he has done a great job with Long, Thomas and Smiley. On Defense Langford, Starks, Merling and Ferguson have stopped teams ripping us apart like 2007. The entire draft next season will take WR, DB's maybe a solid FB and a NT to take over from Ferguson, probably in the 3rd-4th round. Expect Hagan ,Ginn and Wiltford to be traded or released.

All the talk of DB's and recievers is good. Brandon Fields needs to stop outkicking the coverage. This leads to a head start for the return man. The Houston players said they noticed this in film study and expected a good day in the return area. They came through and we lost!!

Coach is right, When Johnson made the 4th down catch the saftey over the top was standing right there. I think he thought that now way Johnson was going to catch that ball over the corners head. But he did. The Saftey has to make that hit and Johnson does not catch that ball and the game is over.

whats the deAL WITH ERNEST WILOFRD, why sign him, give him money, play him, greg camarillo is ok, we need a playmaker, did you see whAT andre johnson did to us last week, we need someone to compliment the running game an d chad pennington.

was getting Tony Gonzalez part of the plan, the dolphins have a ton of winnable games ahead and the afc is not strong at all playoffs are not out of the questions.

even if they were a bad team last year

they have qaulity players that are HEALTHY, no team is as healthy as us...its not fair to waste this opportunity to get to be a 9-10 win team, that loss sucked against the texans, but the ravens stink, and they play the chiefs, the raiders,

i want this team to rock


the next 4-5 years are gonna be so sweet

start the winning tradition now

wildcat formation rules

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