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Dolphins must get up in Phillip Rivers' grill

You want a defense that quarterbacks fear? You want a defense that gets off the field on third down? You want a defense that can make up for some deficiencies in the secondary?

Then you want a defense that rushes, hurries, sacks, hits, or torments the quarterback.

The Dolphins need that type of defense Sunday at San Diego. The Dolphins need to put Phillip Rivers on his behind otherwise, as the commercial says, he might go all Phillip Rivers on Miami.

What I'm saying is the Dolphins need to improve their pass rush. And they must do it by any means necessary which might include doing that which the team doesn't like to do much -- blitz.

The Dolphins are not a good blitzing team. Let's face it, Neither Akin Ayodele nor Channing Crowder are great blitzers. Crowder has 1.5 career sacks. Ayodele has 9.5 career sacks in eight years but none since 2006.

Miami's most efficient blitz last year was the cornerback blitz by Nathan Jones, believe it or not.

And yet it is clear that Miami needs to find some way to get some pressure, certainly more pressure than it did against Indianapolis.

“I think that against Atlanta, I think we hit the quarterback about ten times in that game, maybe a few more -- 8, 10, 12 times we hit the quarterback, and I think [Phillip] Merling had a sack, Jason [Taylor] had a sack," coach Tony Sparano said Wednesday. "This game this week, I’d say we hit the quarterback half of those times, probably about five times if I’m correct, maybe even four times we had quarterback hits in this game.

"So, not enough pressure this past week which is not – well, you guys asked me last week about sacking that quarterback, and that’s not, that’s not an easy thing to do. Those guys don’t give them up many times, and he [Peyton Manning] gets the ball out pretty quick. So I would say from a pressure standpoint we’re always looking for more on the quarterback at least, and we’d like to get it in a way that we don’t have to generate it.”

By "generate" pressure, Sparano means blitzing. But when the pressure isn't coming with the four rushers, you have to try something else.

Look for the Dolphins to do that Sunday, or at least be ready to do that if they can't generate the pressure they want on Rivers with their four-man rush. The team, as I have suggested, is also working toward bringing pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake to the game.

But he's been hindered, and inactive, by the fact he isn't good enough to contribute on special teams yet.

"It’s not anything other than that," Sparano said. "It’s, to be honest with you, we were hoping to get him to a point special teams-wise where he could be a little more familiar with some of the techniques and things that we were asking him to do that way.

"We will get him there, and I think he’s close to that point, been getting better and better and we’ve been repping him – we’ve been preparing Cameron every week, the first two weeks, like he’s playing in the game. So, he’s putting in reps, doing those jobs so that he can be more familiar that way. The other thing I would say is playing his position against the run. It isn’t pass rush with him, it’s playing his position against the run. The things that Jason [Taylor] did, he will do faster than Cameron, in other words, learning the fundamentals of that position.

"And again, were preparing him during the week like he’s playing, so he’s getting more and more of those reps too.”

The Dolphins are blessed this week in that San Diego's offensive line is in shambles. Center Nick Hardwick is out because of an ankle injury. Guard Kris Dielman (illness), offensive tackle Marcus McNeil (illness), and guard Louis Vasquez (knee) did not practice at all Wednesday.

But the Dolphins cannot rely merely on injuries to save their pass rush bacon. The Dolphins need both Jason Taylor and Joey Porter to bring their A-games Sunday. They need Phillip Merling to play like he did against Atlanta. They need Jason Ferguson to continue playing as he has, which is quite good. And they need Kendall Langford and Randy Starks to show up for the first time this regular season.

Helloooo ... The season has begun, guys.

Failing that, this team faces a quarterback that threw for 436 yards last week against Baltimore's special defense. Imagine what he might do to Miami if he's not somehow rushed, hurried, and otherwise made to feel uncomfortable?

It's a must.


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1) We beat SD last year, so we don't have to respect them too much. Their run defense is weak (see their game vs OAK), and I think we'll have success vs them with a game plan similar to the one we used vs Indy.
2) But I would be very careful with the blitz, especially with DB's blitzes, because Rivers can kill us with screens to Sproles and/or Gates.
3) I think our DBs should concentrate on tackling, and that the pressure must come from Porter and JT, who have been non factors so far.
4) It's now or never, because we'll never get out of a 0-3 hole.

Cameron Wake? Is he the savior now? Just another overblown hype that was a total waste! Just about the only good thing nowadays about being a Dolphins fan is that we get alot of coverage on TMZ. Unfortunatly...it's negative coverage. TMZ has decided to single out the Dolphins and make fun of us on all fronts. As long as we keep losing they will continue to have a field day. How many games will we lose until we make a change at QB to provide a spark. Word is that Pennington has already lost most support in lockerroom! Tempers are flairing and a loss this week will bring down the house! Watch out, this is the week. My money on Henne starting on week 4 after we're 0-3! One last thing...Canadians have NO HEART! Wake has NO HEART! He's already nursing a stubbed toe! Thats why he's not playin'!!! Check it out!

"Shawn, are you serious. You think our problem is quarterback?"
Posted by: mike | September 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM

uhhhh, what, YES, of course Mike. what games have you been watching? we have ballers on offense; Ginn, Ricky, Ronnie, Bess, Hartline but not a QB. you blame Ginn, while Ginn has been running open since last year. hard to develop as a young WR when your passes are coming from Pennington.

I am not the only one that thinks our problem is at QB...ask half our fan base if not more, ask Tony Sparano why he ran the ball three straight times at the end of the half and the game? why are we playing for FG's versus TD's in the 2 minute drill? BECAUSE WE HAVE PENNINGTON, and Sparano doesn't want Penny to lose the game for us. If we had Ryan, Manning, Sanchez, Brady, Flacco, Brees do you think we would be playing for FG's and ball control? HELL NO. it is because we have Pennigton that we play so conservately...wake up Mike.

Nostradamus nobody in their right mind sees the doom amd gloom yet because the scenario you proposed is all if's and maybe's. What if Henne pans out? What if Parcells stays for 2010? What if Jake Long continues to get even better every week? What if the Jets falter under pressure? See, I can see the future too.

Try to keep in mind that Jake Long has faced the 2 best speed rushers in the NFL the last 2 weeks, while our safeties and lbs have been against 2 of the best TE's (1 an HOF'er). Our coaches have NOT reacted sufficiently to this, except for helping Long against the Colts. On Sunday, Jake will have no troubles, but we again face a phenomenol TE, but the coaches have now had 2 weeks to deal with this problem. Who knows? Maybe they'll figure it out, or at least notice it, by then.


Uh Shawn, I'm woken up. Tis thee that is sleeping. I watched the game Monday night. I'm not saying Chad P is the guy thats gonna take us all the way...But I saw him hit Tedd G with 2 TD strikes. One went right through his hands (Game winner). The other - and you can go back and watch the replay, would have been a TD if Ted G knew where he was on the field. He hesitated because he though he was going out of the back of the endzone and didn't make the catch. I saw Fasano drop a TD strike from him (woulda been a great tough catch - he still shoulda made it). That's 3 TD's from the "Biggest Problem" we have blown by other offensive players. But forget all that. Our defense is shit against the pass...and we can't win when we give up TD's every other play.


alright, all you Penne lovers, here is 20 QB's we would be much better off having instead of Pennington;

1. Manning, P
2. Brady
3. Brees
4. Rivers
5. Manning, E
6. Roethlisberger
7. Warner
8. Schaub
9. Cutler
10. Flacco
11. Romo
12. Ryan
13. Rodgers
14. Sanchez
15. Palmer
16. Stafford
17. Cassel
18. Favre
19. Collins
20. Harris, Jacory

Is the 20+ best QB, Pennigton, good enough to take us to the promised land? NO, NO, NO. time to be realistic with the Phins, our QB is holding back the rest of the talent on this team!

I totally disagree with you Mando. Being from San Diego, I watch this team every week. Rivers is a good QB but he presses things too much and likes to throw the ball away if nothing is available. I’ve seen this happen even when the defense isn’t in his face. It is almost a joke locally. The thing he will burn you on is if you leave someone open. He is good at finding then and goes deep frequently during a game. My recommendation is to contain him. Make him work for the yardage. This will frustrate him into making mistakes. This will also help in solving the real key to the game. That is to contain Sproles. If he has a good game, the Fins are done for.

Go Dolphins and good luck,

Mike from San Diego

Shawn - I'm not absolutely in love with Pennington - but go back and watch the game. He threw 3 TDs that were blown by receivers. Receivers Shawn, not the QB. One was the Game winner to Tedd (right through his hands). One was to Tedd in the endzone, and if you watch the play you will see that Giinn hesitated because he didn't know where he was on the field. He thought he was going to go out of the back of the endzone and hesitated just long enough to miss the ball. The other was to Fasano on what would been a great catch. Good teams make those catches though. The bottom line is that, even if you think we should be airing out on 4th with guys like Cutler (he of the 4 ints in game one) we kicked the crap out of Indie on Offense. DESTROYED THEM. No team has won a game since the 70's with the amount of plays Indie ran. You completely disregard game planning (which was to run and keep Peyton off the field) in your "air it out" philosophy. Again, nobody is calling Chad Peyton Manning - but I'll take him over Cutler, Warner, Favre (current day Favre), Whoever number 20 is, Schaub, Stafford (Really dude!!! Stafford who wasn't even accurate in college). Get a grip man.

oh, and I'll take him over Palmer and Cassel as well. Cassel is not good, he's being outplayed by brodie coyle and is still the starter only because of his contract.

the pat white thing is an attempt by the trifection to justify wasting a mid 2nd rounder on an undersized quarterback, who is also an undersized receiver, and a way undersized running back just so the Patsies wouldn't take him and Belicheat being heralded as a strategic genius for drafting the counter to Fins. Said it before...they should have let the Patsies have him. Every snap he took away from Brady is a bonus for us the opponent.

First game o-line was dead. Second game o-line was brought back to life in amazing fashion. Defense went M.I.A. Time for Pasqualoni to do as he did last year after the second game. Make a few timely changes in player placement and coverage looks. Try playing Taylor on same side with Porter, and Anderson or Wake on the other side. Taylor can play defensive end. It's just one set up. Disguise his plays better. Someone has to light a fire in the defense like the one that was lit in the o-line this past game. If this team is going to win, they'll need the intensity and fire they had last year.

GINN and the whole O would be better with a better QB.

The pass he droped in the end zone was CP's fault.

He had him by 4 yards when the pass was thrown.


YOU all seen the results.

I don't think Pennington deserves to take the fall. Nobody considered him to be the qb of the future for the fins. He was simply their best chance of winning at the time. You know what you are getting when you sign him. He has a weak arm and has to rely on timing (which he actually does do very well) and being a veteran leader for, a once very lost offense. He works hard, and can only be the guy he has the talent to be. I see the bigger issue with our linebackers. They are average at best. A great linebacker can drop back into coverage and be a good blitzer too. Giving up Randy Moss yards to every tight end that steps on the field is unacceptable. The Steelers have been one of the best for a long time, so why don't more teams pattern their draft picks after that philosophy. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers will all destroy our team if we don't make them feel frightened when throwing. The offense still put up 23 points last week. That would be enough if the fins had a Steeler/Ravens-like defense. A great quarterback WILL still be needed, but won't solve this teams greatest need. The secondary has potential, but let's Dick Lebeau their ass!

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