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Are the Dolphins backups that good?

It is the proverbial two-edged sword that the Dolphins now wield with the handful of players that sat out Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay and those players that took their place.

Obviously the Dolphins won the game, so the replacements were good enough to help Miami to victory. But because the Dolphins won the game, one has to wonder about the players who sat.

Here's the thing that is frying my brain right now: Were Miami's replacements that good? Or were the players being replaced not as good as we thought and thus easily substituted for?

Let's take it position by position:

At outside linebacker, Joey Porter was benched for reasons the Dolphins don't want to divulge. But in keeping those reasons and Porter under wraps, something very interesting became quite public. Porter can seemingly be easily replaced.

Either that, or the Dolphins have amazing depth at OLB.

Think about it. Porter has not had a full sack since September. He's been missing practice time. He was invisible in last week's game at New England. So he gets deactivated and, voila, Charlie Anderson and Cameron Wake not only pick up the slack, but play much better than Porter has recently.

Anderson had five tackles -- almost half as many as Porter has contributed the entire season -- and added a sack and two forced fumbles.

"I was able to get back there and I knew the guy was tough to take down, but he can't go anywhere without the ball," Anderson said. "A couple of guys were like, 'Hey go for the ball,' The second time I was able to do that."

And he did. So do you think Anderson is a super sub? Or do you think Porter has been playing so poorly that this is the type of production the weakside outside linebacker position should be delivering regardless of who is playing there?

Oh, by the way, with Porter out, Cameron Wake also got a few extra pass-rush opportunities than usual. He turned in a sack, bringing his total to four, and had two tackles -- again better than what Porter has been giving.

At the tight end spot, the Dolphins played without starter Anthony Fasano because he is troubled by a hip injury. To cover the void, the Dolphins moved Joey Haynos to the starting job and used rookie Kory Sperry in double-tight end alignments.

Well, in his first NFL outing, the rookie tight end caught three passes for 31 yards, including a touchdown. In other words, Sperry now has as many TD catches as Fasano has had this season. So did the Dolphins miss Fasano on Sunday?

That would be a no.

Is it because Sperry is really good, a diamond found in the practice squad rough? Or is it because Fasano just hasn't been producing up to par to the point a rookie could match the veteran's typical production with little problem?

Discuss.

By the way, Sperry was brought up from the practice squad because he has been consistently out-performing fellow rookie John Nalbone in practice. Nalbone was a Miami fifth-round selection. Sperry was not drafted out of Colorado State. So much for all the draft experts out there.

Anyway, the Dolphins were also without LG Justin Smiley on Sunday. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Nate Garner. I'm not going to try to fool you and say Garner played well or as well as Smiley might. I have no idea.

I do know the Dolphins didn't give up any sacks. I do know they rushed for 199 yards. So obviously the offensive line -- including Garner -- was doing something right.

The greater point is this: If the Dolphins can manage to get such good production from their backups, they are a team that either enjoys great depth, as I said before. Or they are a team with some starters that aren't much better than their backups.

One is very good. The other possibility is troubling.

Only the coaching staff knows the true answer. And I'm sure the answer is different in each individual case.

But if the Dolphins have reserves that can deliver pretty well on Sunday, perhaps using those players might be a good idea in the future. Maybe applying the thought to other positions might be worthwhile.

Perhaps Tyler Thigpen might get better results in the spread formation than Pat White. Perhaps giving Patrick Turner some snaps with the offense (he was limited to special teams duty far as I saw on Sunday) might actually surprise people with production.

The old adage is the starter starts because he's better than the backup. Perhaps with the Dolphins that isn't always true.

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Let's see: the Bucs aren't as good as the Saints, Pats, and Jets. Haven't we known that Charlie and Cam are good rushers? Cameron Wake, unfortunately, is still too one-dimensional. On the other hand, Anderson is better than Porter against the run at this stage. We have several good pass rushers but not a single LB who is the complete package. Success at pressuring the QB of a not very good team with a rotation of very good edge rushers isn't that shocking -- I want to take it for granted week in and out against good teams.

One game with a handful of catches is no way to judge a TE. Fasano and Haynos have already proved that point. Sperry could be a nice pickup, but blocking is just as important as a reliable receiver and it's too soon to know.

On the other hand, did you notice how much worse ST coverage was without Walden?

i hate to break it to you mando but any player on any team at any time can be replaced it happens all the time in all sports

I second that...I'm pretty sure it was more of the fact that we played one of the worst team's in the league and although you mentioned some stand outs. Still BARELY won the game. I'm looking REAL hard a Sean Smith. He wasn't even close on the pass he attempted to defend giving up the TD

Bill Belichik made a classic bonehead decision in going for it on 4th and 2 tonight. But it still wasn't as dumb as Tony Sparano going for 2 points when the Dolphins were up by 11.

Um I disagree, belicheats call was worst in recent history

rey maualuga is playing lights out for cincy and i know i and tons of other fin fans wanted him here but we got pat white instead thanks again .another costly mistake by the trifecta

I think Porter is a great leader and that's why they let him keep his job, but as far as ability, Porter is simply a marginal NFL player. Not marginal starter, marginal NFL player. He is just not that good. 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks from that position is embarrassing. I think Charlie Anderson is clearly better than he is. Much more athletic. And the stats prove all that.

Miami Dolfans Rule!!!! you guys make my Sunday...Have a wonderful,safe, week you all...

Start play makers weather the 3rd string or 1st you make plays you start or get more playing time you don't you don't start or get less playing time! That's how it is at every level and age group

You still gotta roll with Smiley when he comes back. That guy is our best guard, period.
If the Sperry kid can block , then I say goodbye Fasano !
Ask Joey Porter if he minds playing special teams ! LOL

A wins a win, i dont care how much we win by or how pretty it was all i care about is we have a big W next to the Bucs game, and the Jets and Pats both lost today. And the Bucs are not that bad of a team just really young, hell they beat a good Greenbay team that just beat Dallas today.All that shows you is how tough it is to win in the nfl.

Very true Ev

First of, Wake is a monster. You can see it in the leverage he gets bull-rushing the line. Whatever they do with Porter they should use Wake a lot more often.

I say trade Porter for a WR or some picks. He's really up and down and can't seem to manage his emotions or any opposing OL. Go younger. It seems to be working elsewhere. And if the Dolphins can pick up a legitimate receiver corps their running game would really take off. You wouldn't see teams crashing the line with 7-9 guys every down. Our best receiver is really a no.3 or 4. It's really obvious every time you watch another NFL team play--any team--that the only real WR position we have covered is the slot.

For the OL I'm less inclined to write off Smiley. The TB run defense is terrible. We could have been more dominant than we were. More consistent.

Hard to get by in this league without a receiver corps. Every time I watch Ginn it pains me. There aren't any other pieces that are consistently missing.

Robert E. Lee made a classic bonehead move with Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. But it still wasn't as dumb as Tony Sparano going for 2 points when the Dolphins were up by 11.

White was drafted AFTER Mauluaga, White was 44th, Mauluaga 38th.

Let the better players play. Bench Porter, and Fasano. Why not try Pat White out at WR? Man we really need a #1 WR. Henne clearly has a better arm than White.

I think the truth here is somewhere in the middle. I haven't been able to figure Porter out. He plays unbelievable last year and one would think, was poised for another big year this year considering offenses now also have to account for Jason Taylor on the other side. Yet, Porter been a non-factor in almost every game this season. I just don't get it. Sub-par year for Porter in 2007, great year last year, sub-par this year. Maybe the common denominator in all this is Jason Taylor. Are the Dolphins doing something scheme-wise with JT and Porter that limits Porter's playmaking ability?

On the other side of the coin, I absolutely want to see more of Cameron Wake and Charlie Anderson on the field. I know it was just the Bucs the Dolphins barely beat today, but these two players have shown flashes of brilliance all year. I'd love to see what they can do if they're given the chance to play quality minutes week in and week out.

On a final note, the Dolphins really need to let Patrick Turner see the field on offense. The WR corps right now needs some kind of jolt. No disrespect to Hartline, Ginn, Bess, or Camarillo, but Patrick Turner at least presents DBs with a physical nightmare match-up. Give the kid a chance. Hell, he can't do any worse than what we've seen at times this year from the Dolphins receivers.

Well. It was ugly, but end the end we got a W. My game view perspective. I haven't seen anyone mention it, but the Phins were hitting hard on defense tonight. I saw many plays where the Phins defenders popped Tampas guys.

Matt Roth looks to be coming on a bit. He's still behind, but he is mean and made a few good plays tonight.

The phins need to abandon the Pat white plays altogether. Haven't got much production out of him this year and he can't seem to make a pass play anyway and while they're at it I hate when the Phins are moving the ball and they run a trick play (reverse or whatever) and they get stuffed for 10 yards or so and kill the drive.

Henne is learning on the job, but he has to get the ball within reach of the receivers (Ginn) on the long balls. I don't fault Ginn for tonights missed catches. Most of the balls thrown to him were a bit high and out of reach, but Ginn has missed some balls he should have got in past games, so I am not excusing him entirely.

Camarillo & Bess are beasts on 3rd down when the ball is on target, but as mentioned in the article Bess is a slot guy. Camarillo is a possession guy and probably a 3rd best on any other team.

Finally Gibril Wilson is deciding to show up in the games and make some plays and most importantly some stops on defense. His improved play makes Yeremiah Bells job easier in coverage and Bell has started to smack the receivers hard again.

The 2 rookie corners are doing decent considering how early they are in their careers. Smith got burned for the one TD, but what rookie doesn't. Something he will learn from & move on. Davis is not doing too shabby. Can't really complain.

Jason taylor & the linebacking corps is playing decent as a unit, but they do need more impact plays than what JT has been offering up lately.

D-Line is OK, but nothing opposing offenses fear. They need to get more pressure on the QB and wreak havoc in the backfield.

Running back -Great, but now we will have to see how the paly calling changes with Ronnie brown possibly out and see if Lou polite or Lex Hilliard can step in to spell relief for Rickey when he needs a breather. It may be tougher to dominate with Ronnie out.

this years draft was very good. davis, smith, and clemmons will be fixtures in the secondary. hartline is making plays. white has contributed though i think he is being misused. folsom seems to be a good future lb. the only 2 misses seem to be nalbone and turner. but maybe in time they will be ok too.

the biggest problem this team faces in being gutless on offense. no killer instinct. heck they are budists.

Porter is not what he used to be, he is injured and getting older and slowing down. He doesn't have that explosiveness or elusiveness that we saw all of last year. JT is consistently outplaying him, as evidenced by today's performance by Anderson and Wake, it seems the younger guys are nipping at the heals of the veterans. In this case, the youngun's are growing up quickly, Andersen continued to play special teams too!.

As for Sperry he looked good for a few when he was in there, however, that pass with time running out before half where he stayed in bounds with us running a hurry up cost us time we could have used to take a couple of shots at the endzone instead of settling for a field goal. I don't think he's ready to take over and neither is Nalbone. Fasano is still good, he fumbles and Haynos doesn't have the speed but it serviceable. Unfortunately, like you said Armando the talent level is so close that our starters are maybe a yard better than our backups. Plus I like Fasano's run blocking better.

If you didn't see him Armando, I did. Garner was nothing special on a couple of toss sweeps when he pulled he completely whiffed and failed to kick out blocks or pancakes on smaller DB's and consequently they got to Ricky for a loss or no gain. You could tell he wasn't ready. He couldn't have done any worse I suppose. Because our recently signed right tackle Carey stunk up the joint!!!! He missed on two blocks on screen plays and the lateral from Ronnie to Henne. He whiffed on that and didn't give him a chance to throw.

Our receivers stink except for Camarillo. Enough said. Patrick who? what? where?

Finally, we have a QB!!!!! A big time arm with smarts to match. They keep putting him in long yardage and he keeps bailing them out, except for one bad mistake the coaching staff pushed him into today. The future is bright here with the starter and the backups.

As for our linebackers, Torbor played better than Crowder (when he was out). An upgrade is needed here. Our secondary is young for the most part and is still growing.

As for our coaching staff, at least they don't show fear in putting in the young guys. But they need to step it up. Clock and game management need an upgrade and there is not time to waste. The Pats are still within reach, the Jests suck and the Jills are, well, the Jills. We have a good chance going forward mixing in the young guys and the vets. Our starters are liker a 2nd and 5 at the 50 while our backups are more like a 2nd and 8 at our own 40.

Having decent backups is a sign of much better depth and a reflection of better talent evaluation than anything we've seen over the last ten years.
Only 2 games back now. If Miami wins out and New England drops another game, Miami will win the division at 11-5. Implausible yes, but sounds similar to last year.

That's a pretty big can of Tuna you're trying to open up Mando. May I call you Mando?

Anyways, Porter is a bag of hot air anyways. I believe what you've reported about the team being down in the dumps is what we saw today.

Someone told Sparano to play these guys.

oh and i forgot the costly play at the end of the game when Garner got called for the false start when we were trying to run the clock out. Went from a 3rd and 2 to a 3rd and 7 and then Henne got picked.

Coupla three things here, 'Mando.
1. Restrict Ginn to returns for the rest of the season (He's a lot like Dr. No - Metal Hands)
2. Enough with that Pat White experiment. It has failed
3. The team has yet to learn how to tackle

We're gonna need all the luck we can on Thursday!

Someone said something about J.D Folsom but I think he is no longer with The Dolphins, is he?

The test certainly wasn't yesterday. It is going to be Thursday. It is going to be a tough game and I hope and pray the d is ready.

I am not the biggest fan of Porter anyway. Having to yell at your opponent in this league is a wast of time. And you have to do 2 times as much just to create an impact. So, if he is replaced, no tears here and from his on field performance the team isn't going to miss him.

Fasano has a bad case of the fumbles. He is carrying the ball to high or standing to verticle before gets hit and it seems he has weak hands. I don't know if you replace this guy because he blocks real well.

The defense does appear to be getting a little stiffer.

The coaching.... I think the preparation is great, but the coaching is not quite right during games. In the NFL the coach is actually playing the game. He has to know when to throw the little red flag, he has to know when to call time out and he needs to read the momentum of the game and call the right plays. Sparano was better at this last year or we were willing to forgive. Going for 2 when you are up 11 seems dumb, but kicking for one is dumb too. If you get 2 then it would have been a td and 2 field goals to tie... So the math seems right to me. At least Sparano thinks a little outside the box.

Pat Turner should get a shot. He might just be the answer at wide receiver. Forget Ginn, he is just not a reciever in the hard hitting, unforgiving NFL.

COACHING IS HORRIBLE!!! at least sparano took back the coaching reins from porter who was allowed to do whatever he wanted. anderson way outperformed porter; so did wake! why did it take the coaches this long to see it????

Patrick Turner needs to get an opportunity so they know what he can do in game situations.

The defense might be better off in a 4-3 alignment than the 3-4, just a thought.

I do agree they could have gone in another direction but why the hate on White? From what I've seen he's hardly deserving of such venom. He is a rookie and no worse or better than the other rookies. They just have more playing time to prove themselves.

Whatever it is, Miami might be putting trade bait out on the field, in the starters or backups. Just a thought.

Turner shouldn't get a chance in the NFL just because fans think he might be better than our current WR, he needs to earn playing time in practice.

Ginn needs to play WR, because he is the only WR who can get behind defenses and will keep a safety out of the box. Bess and Camarillo are get in short routes, but defenses love to see them at WR because they can shrink the field and stack the box.

Wake might be one-dimensional, but he does that dimension better than anyone else, he needs to be on the field in every passing situation. I love Roth on running downs too.

I believe Porter's ability has diminished, but in his defense he did play against QB's that get rid of the ball considerably quicker than the rookie they played yesterday. Never any excuses for a player of Porter's caliber not to have any tackles though.

Cracks me up - some guy named Nathaniel second guessing these elite coaches (there's nothing above the NFL, Brother), but at the same time it is bothersome because all this negativity can be self-fulfilling. Players read this stuff, and they ain't rocket scientists. Pretty soon they start believing it and start playing like Larry Johnson. You have some bottom-feeding sports "writers" taking cheap shots and beer buzzed goobers taking up the call. Depressing.

Sometimes certain players who don't impress in training camp and practices just know how to make plays during real games. Merling is like that. Stars on some other teams are like that. I'd like to see what Charlie Anderson, Cameron Wake, Patrick Turner and guys like that can do when given some chances. This is the season to do it.

Were not at practice so it's hard to sit here and argue what we know nothing about. What I do know however, is that this team(and more to the point Henne) is in dire need for a receiver who can actually catch the damn ball. Ginn has now gone beyond bust, and obviously is a threat on returns but for some reason our idiot coaches would rather let Bess return punts. Ginn cannot catch or run routes so why he is starting is beyond me, I'd rather see Hartline and Bess start with Camarillo in the slot and spell in Ginn for occasional deep ball threat. Give Sperry another look this week, Fasano hasn't done squat so it's worth it. As for Turner, we have to give him a chance at least in the red zone snaps.

Don't forget who they were playing...a team who has performed like a bunch of second and third stringers. Do you think NE or Indy would have as much trouble with the Bucs? And as far as the rookie TE, rookies have stuff to prove with no opposing coaches knowing their talents. But once seen they usually get shut down proceeding games.

I think the backups got lucky that they played on a week where we played one of the worst teams in the NFL. You think if Porter wasn't out there he wouldn't have done the same? I do think Sperry could be what we're looking for. He has nice hands and is a nice big target. Not sure about his blocking skills though. Haynos, while playing ok, is just so damned slow. I think what made this game closer than it should have been is the offensive play-calling. Another week where it completely took the offense out of the flow of the game, disrupted Henne, tried once again to prove that Pat White wasn't a horrible pick. It ain't happenin'. Henne is a PASSING QB. We need to scrap the Wildcat (for the most part, just use it sparingly), get back to a regular offense, where we run and Henne throws DOWNFIELD! These 1 yard screens are DONE!! Every D in this league is ready for it and are putting 8-9-10 guys in the box to stop it. We need more 20+ yard plays. We were able to do it in the 2 min. offense, so why can't we do it at other times in the game?

And Ginn, please stop throwing him the ball. Maybe one deep shot a game but that's it. Let him return punts and kickoffs, reverses occassionally. Plus Bess has bobbled enough to show he shouldn't be returning. Short week, make the adjustments cause Thurs is a better team, go Phins.

IVE SAID PLAY THESE GUYS ALL YEAR!!!!!! AND LOOK WHAT IS HAPPENING PRODUCTION. PLEASE KEEP LISTENING TO ME, AND PRESSING SPARANO, HELL I CAN KEEP THIS SEASON ALIVE!!!

Lets write about something else, more important right noe - how about: HOWS RONNIE BROWN DOING???

The football players are football players starters or backups, as a backup your job is to step in when the starters can't go.

Let's remember who the competition was and I don't think a 25-23 victory against the bucs is a very sexy message to say our backups are the best in the league and we could go without the starters.... thats just dumb.

Joey Porter hasn't been 100% so a healthy and egar Charlie Anderson would most likely play better but of course a 100% Porter is the best choice.
Wake should not be considered a backup, we have to find a way to keep rotating this guy in the game more often.
The Sperry kid is a nice surprise but again it was the Bucs, who's to say Fasano wouldn't have 5 catches 55 yards and a TD?

And you can't even try to compare Smiley with any other backup. He might be a top 5 Guard in the league... come on now

I don't think any true dolphin fan is happy with how we played yesterday, it was bad. The only positive was the running game and Henne's ability to bounce back when it counted the most, besides that I give that game a D performance.

I liked what I saw from Sperry, definately give him more playing time this week, his blocking was good too and he actually can catch the ball, may be a diamond in the rough.
Can we finally call it quits with Pat White, all it does is disrupt the team's rythm and usually leaves Henne with 3rd and long to convert after sitting for 2 or 3 plays which he somehow usually manages. Pat White is a luxury pick we couldnt afford, I hated it at the time and more so now considering other players of greater need we could have had.
Henne is growing more and more, god I wish we could get him a no 1 receiver, hopefully in the off season surely. Even Danny boy threw the odd bonehead pick but it was more telling how Henne came back to put us in position to win the game.
As for Ted Ginn, he is just plain embarassing, I don't even think he cares anymore, every 1 on this time is trying to do what it takes to win except him, the effort on that last runback was pathetic we should have been closer midfield instead of the 15 yard line, the more you watch him its plainly obvious he's always heading for the sideline, use him as an occasional decoy deep tho what kind of threat is a deep threat who cant catch the damn ball, not much of one basically!!!

Coach Sporano has a cheat sheet that tells him when to go for two. I think the sheet said eleven is about as good as twelve but thirteen is much better. Get off his back Nathaniel Dodsworth.

Nathaniel Dodsworth - Billacheat going for it on forht and 2 is by far the dumbest coaching moves in the history of the NFL!

Any news on Ronnie Brown???????????

Any news on Ronnie Brown???????????

Any news on Ronnie Brown???????????

Any news on Ronnie Brown???????????

Any news on Ronnie Brown???????????

Where is that patsie troll who was here last night?

Maybe he somewhere crying in he clam chowder, its ok buddy, maybe the tears will add some salt.


Henne the Hero!

Sperry and Haynos are looking pretty good at tight end I think. Haynos is slow, but has good hands and is huge, I'm sure he is a strong blocker.

Maybe Sperry can the the Dolphins pass catching te?

I thought it was funny how the announcer keep calling Haynos, "Hanus". It made me laugh...

Hahahahahahaha
Funny comment about the Patsie pansy on the Clam chowder hahahahaha

Hello People? The Bucs put Freeman in last week and they beat a very good Packers team. The same Packers team that manhandle the Cowboys! The Bucs are find they rhythm and with Freeman they are much better team.

Freeman going to be much better than Sanchez

Who was our best reciever yesterday? You could argue it was an undrafted free agent tight end.
that is nice for him, but what does that say about us?

sebipop,

it was either undrafted te rookie or undrafted wr in his 2cnd year

Do you guys not get it our starters are being out performed in some cases by the practice squad. Hello is anyone think this is bad. About the game we did nothing that says we should have a win. Yeah Henne put together a good drive but what were we doing kicking a field goal both times when we had a chance to score. At least rum the clock down. The only I can say is we have a long ways to go. Nothing they did was worthy of a win. NOTHING. WE FELL APART AGAIN WHEN IT MATTERS MOST.

Just a sprained ankle, x-rays were negative, no breaks but most likely out for trip to Carolina!!

bwahahahahahahahaha this is sooooo f'n funny!!!!!

The patsies arrogance comes back to bite them in the butt! Who goes for it on fourth down on your own 20?

Carlito I heard that to about haynus. Lol. Man they were terrible yesterday. I don't know the answer but that panthers team is looking real good. And we better bring our A game. I was thinking; without Ronnie it could be the beginning of a new offense with henne at fulltime. Still need Ronnie though.

Remember the fins were playing the bucs

Everyone remember these bad teams start playing Spoiler roles at this point in the season. Don't underestimate them!

Canfin,
Where did you get your information and have you heard if they think Ronnie will be back against the Bills?

finatic,

lol, the lady on the sideline even called sparano "soprano" twice.

I think Dolphins can beat the Panthers. They are a running team, and we have good run defense.

Also, Jake Delhomme is horrible qb, Dolphins can force him to turnover the ball

phintim,

don't forget, the bucs beat the packers

I don't get the reasoning behind the benching of Porter. Why not bench him because he isn't producing? The coaches decision thing is garbage.

Jamil, its on Pro Football Weekly and ESPN I think, don't know yet about the Bills game pal

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