Trash-talking has its place in the NFL because, to a certain degree, it is entertainment. It turns up the volume on games and individual matchups. It piques the interest of the otherwise disinterested.
But trash-talking should be like a baton leading an orchestra. The words should be biting and true and sharp and, ultimately, should be backed up with action. Used that way, it sounds great.
Joey Porter uses it like a hammer banging on drums. It often has no rhyme, reason or rhythm. Lately, it is rarely backed up with on-field production. Coming from him now, trash talk sounds like noise.
And that's not all of it. Porter has throughout his Miami career made statements that give pause, and when he fails to back up those statements during games, he often disappears afterward. That's what he did last week when he ripped the NFL and Tom Brady, had a bad game, and then didn't speak with a crush of waiting reporters afterward.
Porter hung a bull's-eye on himself before the game, but dodged the bullets afterward.
So Porter's trash-talking ways, entertaining and even interesting when he first arrived in 2007, have grown old and tired. And the fact that Porter this year is not backing up his words with production on the field makes his trash talk a smelly, rotting pile of garbage.
That pile began to collect when Porter boldly predicted a victory over the Oakland Raiders in 2007. The Dolphins lost as the Raiders rushed for 299 yards.
He infamously called out the NFL and then-Jaguars receiver Matt Jones last year because the player was still performing after having been caught with cocaine in his car during the offseason. How could the NFL allow such a thing, Porter growled on a national conference call.
Except he didn't know the NFL had already issued a suspension for Jones and the reason Jones was still playing is he had appealed the ruling. Oops.
Last year he called out Matt Cassel.
Last week he called out Brady and the NFL.
He called out the Jets before the first meeting between the teams this year. The Jets lost, but that was because the offense had a great night even as the New York offense lit up Porter and the Miami defense.
Before the second meeting this year, Porter said he was focused on putting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on the sideline "wearing an icebag."
Porter didn't get close to Sanchez and didn't have even one tackle.
Fact is, even as Porter has continued to be one of the loudest voices in the Miami locker room, his production has dropped to a whisper. He is 15th on the team with 12 tackles. He is fourth on the team with 2.5 sacks. And he has not had a full sack since September, meaning October was a pretty bad month.
Last week Porter questioned the NFL and Brady. He suggested Brady is afraid of being hit and when he is, can basically call for an official to throw a roughing the passer penalty. And I guess one can say those things, questioning Brady's toughness and impugning the NFL's fair-mindedness, if you prove your point on game day.
But on Sunday, in a game the Dolphins needed to win to stay in the AFC East race, Porter didn't contribute a sack. Or even a tackle.
Someone working at Gillette Stadium decided to mock Porter for his big mouth and puny stats by showing the defeated player on the losing sideline as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Porter's statistics, or lack of them, accompanied the shot.
It was a bad move, as I wrote in my Monday column, because it showed very poor sportsmanship -- mocking an already defeated opponent.
But the reams of e-mails I got from Patriots fans basically made the point that Porter deserved it. And while I don't agree anyone deserves such treatment, Porter certainly set himself up for it with his big talk before the game and bumbling walk during the game.
So where do we go from here?
Well, it would be nice if Porter tipped the scales more toward tackles than talk, more toward hurries than harangue, more toward sacks than smack.
Talk the talk if you must, Joey Porter. But please walk the walk.