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The matchup against Aldon Smith is worse than you think

Football is a matchup game these days.

It's about your center versus their nose tackle. It's your cover corner against their No. 1 wideout, your punter against their returner, your tight end versus their safeties, your running back must break a linebacker's tackle or make him miss to get into the secondary.

Mano a mano.

And, of course, it is about your offensive tackles against their best outside rushers. That is why Dolphins fans this week greeted the news of Jake Long going down with a torn left triceps as terrible news because now NFL sack leader Aldon Smith comes at the Dolphins when they face the San Francisco 49ers.

And the matchup that was supposed to be Smith vs. Long -- a fracas in 'Frisco, so to speak -- now is looking like Smith vs. Martin. And that seems more like a blowout by the bay.

Well, I have two nuggets of news for you -- one good news, one bad news.

I believe when the now expected Martin vs. Smith matchup does occur, the Dolphins new rookie left tackle will be able to hold his own. I do not expect that Smith will be able to work Martin for 5.5 sacks as he did against Chicago on Nov. 19.

Martin has spent much of his rookie season holding his own at right tackle. He played left tackle quite well at Stanford. And during his time with the Dolphins, no less than Cameron Wake has come to respect his work ethic.

"I know from literally watching him from the day he got here mature and grow in the game," Wake said. "He’s playing like a veteran. We don’t have any rookies anymore. That’s what we always talk about in this facility; there are no more rookies. You’ve been playing, you’ve got to go out there and step up, and even guys who “aren’t starting,” I mean you’re one shoelace away from being in there and (facing) live bullets.

"So him, like I said, from the day he got down here I been watching him mature and get out there and playing the game the way he's been playing, working hard, staying extra. Even him and I after practice kind of working on things. ‘Hey you know what this week I’ve got a guy who likes to give the spin move. Why don’t we work on that?’ And maybe I would say, ‘hey I’ve got a guy who is an outside puncher, help me out with that.’ We’re kind of working off each other so that, come Sunday, both of our jobs are a little easier.”

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has shown confidence in Martin. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached Martin at Stanford, admires the kid and knows he's solid. 

Good news, right?

Well, here's the downside of that.

While everyone else is worrying about Martin vs. Smith, the Dolphins are more worried about Nate Garner vs. Smith. That's right. The moving of Martin from right to left has forced the Dolphins to install Garner as your starting right tackle.

And that's the matchup the 49ers are more likely to try to exploit. And the Dolphins know it.

 "I think it’s a little bit different than it used to be," Philbin said. "Again, I go back to when I started coaching in the National Football League, it was always the premier rusher was always over here (on the right side, the offense's left side). Those days are over, so there’s good rushers everywhere.

"A, a lot of teams have good rushers off of both edges. B, there’s more matchup consideration I think defensive coaches give to pass rush than maybe they did 10 years ago."

In other words, defenses move their permier rushers to either side. So Smith is just as likely to rush from the left side (against the Miami right tackle) as from the right side (against the Miami left tackle). And given the matchup consideration, it will be as much about Garner vs. Smith than any Dolphins fan would want to consider.

So basically, the Dolphins will have downs on Sunday where they will match a backup right tackle, their sixth best offensive lineman, versus the NFL's sack leader.

Let that marinate a moment.



Yeah, not a great matchup for Miami.

Now, Garner is not without experience. He started eight games -- some at guard, some at right tackle, in 2009. And he was in line for consideration as a starter in the 2010 offseason before he injured a foot and spent the whole season on injured reserve.

“You love his versatility," Philbin said. "That was my main thing. When you’re a sixth or seventh offensive linemen on an NFL team, you’ve got to have versatility. You’ve got to be able to do more than one job and, fortunately for us, he’s able to function in a variety of different positions and we’re counting on him to play well."

Against Aldon Smith.

Yeah, that's not a matchup that favors the Dolphins. 


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I've watched Aldon Smith play MANY times over the last two seasons & he's a FREAK of nature. He's like trying to block Cobra.

But the heart & sole of the defense is the other Smith--Justin. He's probably the best interior DL in the NFL & he causes a lot of problems forcing double teams which gives Aldon one-on-one coverage. Justin Smith is a pure masher & a game wrecker.

The Niners defense is absolutely LOADED & is by far the best defense we've faced all year.

Prediction--24-6 Niners.


You can add Armando's points....as another reason I don't like our chances (see last post).....

I had us @ 11-5...but this was one of the 5....and that was with us playing well....

Bush already sounds a bit...IFFY"...if you will.....

If things go south early....I don't know if the team will have the heart to compete till the final whistle.....

Good Luck FINS.....the bullies are calling you after school....the Ravens of the NFC.....

The back or the TE will obviously have to help a lot.

Great breakdown, Mando. Appreciate that you look beyond the obvious.

The back or the TE will obviously have to help a lot.


Won't be enough. The combination of Justin & Aldon Smith are an O-lines worst nightmare & ours has been inconsistent all year.

Tannehill is going to have to get rid of the football faster than he would like or run the ball more than he would like to avoid getting killed Sunday. That's what usually leads to turnovers for the Niners defense but personally I'm just hoping Tannehill comes out of this game walking on his own power.

Can we all agree that these match up problems are not the fault of Jeff Ireland?

A good running game would ease the pressure a bit but as Armando wrote " your running back must break a linebacker's tackle or make him miss to get into the secondary". I just do not see that happening. Trying to pass protect with the 49ers defense that would probably take the RB and TE's to boost the O line and hold off the pressure. Hence no offense this weekend.

49ers 31
Fins 13

Mando is always more frightened of the enemy than the players, or us, are.

49ers 24
Fins 3

The Giants beat SF by 35 points 3 weeks ago so we should be able to beat SF by at least 10.

Cadillac, apparently the players should be more frightened then, judging by their performance on the field.

The Rams Beat and tied SF. We have a chance.....that is why play the game.

A good solid gameplan is what is needed. However if the players don't 'execute' then no plan will work. San Fran are not unbeatable(obviously) but it is another opportunity for those that want to be here for the longterm to show their worth

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
Acting like a man is more important than the final score.
During the first 45 years of my life I never had to remind my team to "Play Like A Man".
Then NoodleArm came to Miami and BACKDOOR football was born in the form of the wildcat.

"If things go south early....I don't know if the team will have the heart to compete till the final whistle....."
Kris, is that a quote from Bush? Where did you find this?

WHDP, not worried about Justin Smith so much. I mean, we shouldn't be. Isn' that the reason you draft a centre in the first round? to help neutralize those inside guys? That's one thing that peeved me about last week's game - how much the coaching staff allowed Wilfork to work on Incognito 1 v 1. is there anyone else on NE's D-line that we should've even been remotely concerned about besides Wilfork? yet we allowed him to make game altering plays.

Alright, but better than to be hit from the blind side. Still, JMartin is going to need lots of help. The guy is a Beast.

And Aldon Smith can go fu@k himself. I want Incogs to give Aldon Smith 'The People's Elbow' a couple of times when he's down; that'll take some of the starch out of him.

Ño!! Mando! Great Post!

Agreed. This will be a Game Of Match-Ups. Martin and Gardner Should Be interesting to Watch!

Again! Jake Will Get His Rookie Contract Again! Which Sounds About Right To Dashi! 5yr/$58 Million! With The Last 2 Years! Being Cap Friendly Towards The Dolphins! In Case We Have To Cut Him Like Dansby!!

Opti/Pesi From Last Blog. Great Post Describing The WCO!

First of all the game is in SF which always hurts the road teams when they are traveling long distances like from Miami!!!

Secondly, you can throw all the stats out the window--the Niners have the best defense in the NFL & our offense has struggled to find consistency & balance all season.

Anyway the more important, entertaining game will be the one in 9 days when Henne comes back to SunLife with receivers who hold on to the TD passes.
There are only 2 possible outcomes:
1. Henne outplays Tanne and Jeff Ireland is fired for letting him go and getting nothing in return or
2. Tanne outplays Henne in which case everyone in SunLife will be laughing at Chad Henne (except for me).

Either way it is win-win.

Sure, our O scheme will be limited because of those 2 great Pass Ruhers they have, as we need to give our QB a chance to throw. Now, to whom and where?

Thanks Dashi.
I can see that our Offense will take a beating this weekend, unless we get the running game going. Thigpen got a couple of carries last game, if he can break one we might have a shor or else, only shot we have is our Defense paying back the favor. Kaepernick needs to be pressured all day and we can and have to take away their running game. Just might be a good defensive game.

WHDP, not worried about Justin Smith so much. I mean, we shouldn't be. Isn' that the reason you draft a centre in the first round? to help neutralize those inside guys? That's one thing that peeved me about last week's game - how much the coaching staff allowed Wilfork to work on Incognito 1 v 1. is there anyone else on NE's D-line that we should've even been remotely concerned about besides Wilfork? yet we allowed him to make game altering plays.


Wilfork is a heck of a football player. One of the best interior lineman in the NFL but I believe Justin Smith is even better.

The Niners play a 3-4 so Pouncey is going to have his hands full with their NT Sopoaga who is a load. Their DE's are Justin Smith & Ray McDonald. One of the biggest match-up problems with their defense is the fact that Aldon Smith is an OLB/DE hybrid & when Aldon is playing up on the line in their 4-3 sets you just can't stop both him & Justin from wrecking the play &/or crushing your QB.

You'll see for yourself on Sunday--the Niners have the best defense in football & I don't even think it's close.

I would say short passes to recievers that get open quick. Forget YAC. Think ball possesion and tiring their D.

Even a good, playoff-caliber Dolphins team would have a VERY tough time winning against this Niners team--playing at home--and coming off a loss.

Many of you will predictably freak out Sunday. I will simply hope for a competitive game, but not run around like Chicken Little or demand retribution over an expected loss in a rebuilding year.

Sorry for not sharing your insanity.

Now this is funny...Sparano wanted Henne back???

"Well, Tony called me as soon as free agency opened," Henne said, via the New York Post. "Obviously Mark signed his contract before that, but they still were interested and wanted to get me in on a visit. But I had two visits already lined up, here at Jacksonville and also in Seattle, so New York kinda would've been my third opportunity. But it just didn't work out. It was more coach Sparano and his offense feeling comfortable with me running that more than anything. Whether it worked out or not, it is what it is."

Cadillac, I think Richie is more likely to try the Bundy Avalanche than the people's Elbow. He can't run more than 5 yards.

Chad Henne is a 4 year veteran who has a top 5 pick in his stable... One would HOPE he can muster a better game... The fact that it's in SERIOUS doubt leads me to believe Management and Coaching made the best choice for the Dolphins Organization long term.
While it is silly to believe Miami is going to score all over San Fran. It is just as ridiculous to believe San Fran is going to shred Miami's Defense. Seattle and teams that have tough interiors seem to frustrate the 49er offense... Jones is playing at Pro Bowl level and as long as the personnel are playing at they're capabilities... San Fran will NOT score at will.It would be a REALLY good week to use that 2 RB set and get Reggie Bush catching passes behind the Linebackers and creating mismatches along the seems... The 49ers have lost 3 and tied 1... They are NOT invincible.....
Miami Till I die.....

get a qb.

FUKK THE NINERS! Dolphins win by 42.

We Have Draft Picks,

Well said! Justin Smith is simply a wrecking ball. That dude is as tough as they come.

We don't have those pass rush Beasts that the G-Men have. But Cam it's up there with the best in sacks and pressures. I guess we just have to blitz Kaepernick a lot, and often.

No, the 49ers are not 'invincible.' No team is.

That said, they are extremely solid in nearly all areas--have probably the NFL's best defense--and are gunning for home field advantage in a year when they have realsistic designs on reaching (and winning) the Super Bowl.

A Miami win would be a HUGE upset, and something no sane person should expect to see, especially with the Niners coming off a loss and wanting to breassert themselves at home.

2 watt we may already have one. He needs this season for the experience he didn't get in college and more weapons next season before an objective and rationale conclusion can be drawn.

2 watt never lets objectivity and rationality stand in the way of a good post!

So--after reading this article I understand why the 49ers are undefeated.Hey---wait a minute!

WHRB you hit the nail right on the head 24 to 6 sounds about right, I just dont see this offense scoring a TD period

Yeah, I have a feeling we're going to end up seeing a lot more of Matt Moore on Sunday.

I'm as BIG a homer as anybody on here but as a fan of the game itself I don't like this match up for us for a couple of reasons.

1st the 49ers employ a 3/4 scheme anchored by P.Willis and dominated outside by A.Smith. If this weren't enough the other 2 LB's would be the stars on any other team given Navarro Bowman in the middle with Willis and Ahmad Brooks Strongside can absolutely run themselves. These guys get alot of fan fare for their overall physical play but to me their real strength is that all 4 can run like the wind and cover as A.Brooks showed Vs. the Saints right after Kaep threw his 1st pick before the half were Brooks was on J.Graham of all people and picked his pocket on a good throw. I bet Brees didn't think he could catch up to that pass going to the house on what I felt was the play of that game.

If that weren't enough the deep middle to intermidiate routes were Tannehill has been making his living will be patrolled on Sunday by Donte Wittner and Deshon Goldson (player I coveted last FA period) while everybody is still stuck on the Safety's in either Pitt. or Baltimore I feel these 2 have the best range they cover alot of ground and are absolute head hunters. Go ask Marcus Colston of the Saints if he's going to go high for a pass across the middle Vs. these 2 again and they've been together sometime doing it consistently. The CB's Carlos Rodgers and T.Brown are no slouches either. and as someone mentioned earlier Justin Smith creates absolute chaos on the line doing his human wrecking ball.

The few bright spots we have on O are things they will counter easily on D given they can stay in their base 3/4 and use the LB's to erase the RB's and Fasano with Bess and Hartline blanketed in their intermidiate game. For us to make a dent we need to come out caution to the wind and start airing it out going 3 and 4 WR sets with Bush in the slot or something of the nature. By the way when they go 3 WR's they will be putting Manningham in the slot with Randy Moss and Crabtree wide a weakness for sure when you take into account one of our Safety's will have to account for Vernon Davis down the middle. BAD MATCH UPS all around for us in this one. I would hope to at least keep it a game and show that we can hold are own with anybody.

And what about move John Jerry to right tackle and Gardner to right guard?

I'm not that worried. Marcus Thigpen bails us out with a return kickoff for a TD. They stumble on offense once again. Defensive game, and we eke out a win.

Seriously folks lets play the games first. The 49ers aren't an offensive juggernaut. we "held' the pats to 23 points. and the 49ers tied the rams yea i said it tied the rams and got beat , think this team is beatable.
Phins 21 - Niners -13


That wasn't a quote from Bush....but after re-reading my post...I can see how you might interperet that....

Let me see if I can find the quote that made me THINK bush was "iffy"....

Kris....something about having to play a perfect game.

Danny....here you go....use the link @ the bottom to see the entire article....Bush has some of the same questions as us fans....

Reggie Bush says the Dolphins are “going to have to play a near perfect game” to beat the 49ers

Posted on December 5, 2012 by Grant Cohn

Here is what running back Reggie Bush said Wednesday to South Florida reporters, courtesy of the Miami Dolphins.

(On facing the 49ers defense) – “It’s going to be a tough game – physical, make no mistake about it. This is probably going to be the most physical game we’ve played all year to date. We’ve got to prepare ourselves on a daily basis. You’ve got to get in the hot tubs, cold tubs, get your body ready, whatever you’ve got to do to get ready for a physical game. Get it done. This is going to be a tough game. It’s going to be a grind it out football game. It’s one of those games that it’s going to be won by three points, seven points. We’re going to have opportunities to make plays this game, but I think it’s going to come down to just our effort, our ability to go out there and execute and how bad we want to win this football game.”


Smiths coach is awesome and will have him prepared.

If Tannehill gets hurt it could be a blessing in disguise just like Henne last year.


PLAYER QUOTES.....i love'em.....

Fin 77 hows it a blessing in disguise unless they put Devlin in ahead of Moore and Devlin lights it up. I say this because Moore will be playing on his 4th team and that leaves Tannehill and Devlin..

Home is still here, obviously. He's not very good at camoflauge.

Thanks CocoaJoe.....

Ok, thanks
"near perfect"? How about perfect, Well I'll tune in but my expectations are low. As they've been most of the season, especially the last 2 weeks.

When they ban someone is it just based on the IP address they use? You can reset your IP address.

Many will see Sunday that this defense is NOT on par with the ELITE defenses....or TEAMS in this league.....

We have played the WEAKEST SCHEDULE in the NFL...and we have come out of it with 7 losses....

now some expect us to COMPETE with a SB contender.....not going to happen....even if we we were 10-2 @ this point.....

Mine as well Danny....mine as well....

Bush and "physical game" shouldn't be uttered in the same sentence (even by him). He's a finesse player. Let Daniel Thomas talk about the hot tubs.

Bush just needs to remember to run to Aldon Smith's side and that will neutralize him.

I don't think it's close this weekend guys. Niners are the better tea, no question. They have better talent. They're at home. They don't have the 3 hour travel time. I believe they're a better coached team. But to me the BIG thing is they're going to be ANGRY. They've been embarrassed now twice by the Rams and it's costing them in the standings. I've got the Niners winning this weekend, 31-7.

We'll get a good look at what Martin and Garner can do at the tackle spots this week. This will be a better test this week than that banged up DL they played last week. We'll see if Martin can be an effective LT in this league, as some guys have already annointed him.

By the way, were LOL and DUH, also Home? I haven't seen either one of them since the ban. Anyone know?

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