« Dolphins assistant Bowles a candidate in Detroit | Main | Martin, Starks back at practice Thursday »

Joey Porter discusses his late-season slump

Logic would dictate the Dolphins have to deal with Baltimore's much-hyped defense by playing well on offense. Duh.

It is also fair to expect Miami's less known, more obscure defense to step up. After all, how are the Ravens going to win if they don't score?

Well, in expecting the Miami defense to play well, one should expect their best and highest-paid player to play exceedingly well. That means the spotlight is on Joey Porter for Miami's D as surely as it shines on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed when Baltimore is on defense.

One problem: Joey Porter hasn't exactly been prominent in Miami's defensive success the past few weeks. Porter had only one tackle the past two games. And the man who finished second in the NFL with 17.5 sacks during the regular season collected zero sacks in those two game against Kansas City and New York at the end of the season.

Now, you've probably heard theories as to why Porter hasn't been nearly as effective at the end of the season as he was the rest of the time. But frankly none of those theories apply.

He's not injured.

He hasn't been double-teamed to any significant degree.

Porter just hasn't gotten to the quarterback. Starting-caliber offensive tackles have outplayed him. And against Kansas City he not only couldn't get to the QB, he also struggled holding the edge of the defense on run plays.

“They're not doing anything, I am getting the same looks," Porter said Wednesday. "I just have to win some of my battles when I have opportunities. They have been playing pretty good football. I just haven’t been getting home."

That doesn't mean Porter is concerned about his miniature slump

"It’s not anything that I am worried about, like I said before, no sacks, that’s all I am pretty much looked at, if I don’t get a sack, I am not playing good," he said. "I understand that, but they come in bunches. I could run off three or four easily and then a game I will be quiet then, ‘He’s not playing good anymore.’ I hate that it’s looked at like that. ‘If he doesn’t get sacks then he isn’t playing good.'

"But that’s just the way it is.”

Well, perhaps if Porter was collecting four or five tackles per game no one would say anything about the lack of sacks.

Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni on Thursday said dogded the question about whether Porter had seen different techniques from teams as he's been shut down of late. Pasqualoni did say last week, Porter came very close to sacking Brett Favre on several occassions but the New York quarterback simply got the ball off before taking a sack.

In other words, Favre didn't hold the ball and hold the ball and hold the ball as Shaun Hill and JP Losman did this year vs. Miami. But Pasqualoni believes Porter will get back on track.

"It's a combination of things," the coach said. "It runs hot and cold. Joey is working very very hard and those things will come around."

Happy New Year everyone ... The Dolphins will be working on Jan. 1, which means I'll be working on Jan. 1. So look for the updates throughout the day Thursday.