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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. 

Comments

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That's what I've been trying to say Craig M....

Its seems that some think the Travel ONLY affects W. Coast team coming to the EAST....

It works both ways...

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

Clue,

I don't think the Dolphins will be able to run against the Niners defense & that puts all the pressure on Tannehill to score points by throwing to Hartline & Bess. I really like both guys but they're not exactly TD scoring machines.

It makes me so f#cking nauseous that Ireland thought that players like Gates, Egnew, Clay, & Cunningham would help this offense. What a joke. With the lack of talent on this offense I really wonder why Philbin took this job.

WHDP,
I get it that you don't like Henne.

Henne went 7-6 in 2009 and 7-6 in 2010 in his starts.
He played with the same scrubs here now with the exception of Reggie Bush.

How is it that when you talk about Moore and Tanne they were surrounded by crap talent but when you talk about Henne you sound like he was surrounded by all star talent?

Henne averaged 240yds and 60% completions in his starts here.

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.

Three hours??? From Miami to San Francisco??? How about over five.

One other point (and I hate bringing this up again because I'm tired of talking about it),

Dansby IS worth the money you paid him because that's what the market dictated. The Dolphins made the decision to go the free agent route and to play him what he wanted. That's like saying, 'Going to see The Rolling Stones for $250 a pop isn't worth'. Well actually it is, because that's what the market bears. If it wasn't worth it, then nobody would pay it. All the shows were sold out, so obviously LOTS of people felt it was worth it.

Karlos Dansby is being paid for PAST performance. If you don't want to pay what FA's want then don't swim in that pool. The same guys who are saying he's not worth it' or 'he hasn't earned it' are the same guys who are saying pay the money to go sign Bowe and Wallace. Does anybody see anything wrong with that?

Well, if Tanny gets hurt the coaches will see how much better Moore is.

They see how much "better" Moore is in practice everyday and still they side with Tannehill.. hmmmm

Kris @ 1:20pm.

No question. Anyone ever wonder why Seattle has such a good home record? Yeah part of it is the crowd and part of it is the stadium but part of it is the travel time too. Yes another obstacle we have to face this week.

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.

Craig,

Yeah let's judge Martin in his first game @ LT against the best defense in the NFL. Sounds fair to me.

Don't you worry--no matter happens--Ireland will come through & re-sign Long.

WHDPs,

Seems to me that you were the guy on the live blog saying last week, 'the OL is holding up just fine, thank you very much'.

Works both ways bud....

EVERYONE forget The 49ers can't protect their QB and we have Wake going against Anthony Davis who has given up 6 sacks on his own already this year LMAO.

Its on the coaches to help the tackles by moving the pocket around... I say let Thill make some plays with his legs and have designed plays that take advantage of his mobility, the coaches seemed to have done that a bit more early this year and not so much lately....

I better be treated like a KING on the blog Monday if Miami wins. ROYALTY I tell you!

WHRB, Philbin took this job because he wasnt offered a HC anywhere else. The guy didnt even call plays at GB just help "game planning". Anywho whats the over/under Tannehill throws 3 picks? I call it push he throws 3 exactly

DC,

Your prediction is WAY worse than Kris' 11-5 prediction. At least their was some logic in his. Yours?

If I was you, I'd hide behind some fake name going forward....LOL. Did you say how much they are going to win by?

Anyone paying250 to see the stones cant hear the band play anyway. All they hear is the stones of the60's &70's in their heads.

I get it that you don't like Henne.

Henne went 7-6 in 2009 and 7-6 in 2010 in his starts.
He played with the same scrubs here now with the exception of Reggie Bush.

How is it that when you talk about Moore and Tanne they were surrounded by crap talent but when you talk about Henne you sound like he was surrounded by all star talent?

Henne averaged 240yds and 60% completions in his starts here.

DeVille,

I don't dislike Henne. I thought he played pretty damn well in his first season as a starter. The problem with Henne is that he never improved. He throws too many INT's & he's too inconsistent to be a starter.

Tannehill is hardly a 'MADE' man in the NFL. He's gotten the opportunity to start b/c of where he was drafted but if he wants to be a good starting QB in the NFL he's going to have to keep improving.

The coaches thought Henne was better then Moore until Henne got hurt. Philbin's made the same mistake as Sparano did.

Clue,

There's a big question mark on Philbin at this point. Some questionable use of some of his personnel all season. Not saying he has the talent to work with but how he uses those guys can be called into question. He's safe this year and maybe even next (depending on the team's record) but at some point he, like everybody else needs to show improvement.

Sammo,

I saw the Stone back in '89 and they were starting to lose it then. I can't imagine how bad they are live now but whatever. It's not my money, so who cares.

I like philbin but his play count talk started to remind me of sparano. How long till thomas is running the wildcat because tanne is our qb but he was in danger of going over his playcount?

It has never been possible to make it through a Stones song without falling asleep. This was true in 1969 and it's true in 2012 and it was true in ever year in between. Utter garbage.

#Nirvana
#kurtcobain4ever

Clue, he won't throw 3 picks, but he also won't have more than 150 yards and 1 TD.

Hey, I got 4 $750 Stones tickets, sold 2 for $1200 each and am using the other 2 next week. Its a once in a lifetime event.

Seems to me that you were the guy on the live blog saying last week, 'the OL is holding up just fine, thank you very much'.

Works both ways bud....

Craig,

Not sure why you're being a wise a@@. I just said that it looks like your boy Long is going to be re-signed. That's according to an article in the Palm Beach Post yesterday. You should be popping champagne bottles by now. Nothing like breaking the bank for a player who is going to miss a quarter of the season.

Would be a horrible decision to re-sign a player that is physically breaking down but then again what else is new with our GM??? Yeah I know...He's doing a GREAT job too & he definitely deserves another five years.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have more than two WR's &/or a TE who can consistently contribute on Sundays??? A guess that's just a luxury though...

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.

bangee | December 06, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Craig M @1:16

I would like to add something to your posts that seems to get lost on others. The 49ers were tied and beaten by the Rams but it's a Div. opponent and those games tend to be measuring stick Mini-S.B.'s for teams looking to make a move up. In 04 the 1-12 Dolphins in those ugly orange jersey's handed eventual S.B. Champ N.E. it's 2nd and only loss of the Season guess we should have gotten a pass into the post Season even though we finished 2-14 with an interim Coach.

This Yr. the Bills came back and pushed N.E. to the wire dropping 34 points on them, huhh!! Guess the Pats SUCK! The Fins sacked Brady 4 times last week after he'd been sacked something like 7 times this Yr. to that point, guess we exposed them and they TRULY DO SUCK.

How about the MENTAL FART the Bears lay every Yr. when faced with the Pack. The Steelers having the Ravens number whenever it really matters period! The Texans of the last 3 years dominating games Vs. the Colts only to be MANNINGED in the 4th Qrt every time. The fact is your built to win your Div. 1st and foremost.

The NFC West is not a pushover anymore the 49ers, Hawks and Cards all have young up and coming D's and the Rams under Fisher got some players on D and will make noise in that Division. It's the nature of the beast in the NFL and to say that there games against the Rams is an accurate measuring stick is in my book wrong or were the other teams and situations I mentioned an accurate measuring stick as well??

I hear ya Craig. I saw your comment and laughed.Hell tom petty charges150$. Crazy. Invest in a nice home theater and buy the live dvd's.

"There's a big question mark on Philbin at this point. Some questionable use of some of his personnel all season. Not saying he has the talent to work with but how he uses those guys can be called into question. He's safe this year and maybe even next (depending on the team's record) but at some point he, like everybody else needs to show improvement."

Craig,

Except Ireland, Jake Long, & Dansby. They deserve a pass right??? LOL!!!

Kris, we have played nowhere near the weakest schedule in the league man, come on. Numbers say by opponents win %, we have the 19th easiest schedule in the league (.511). You want to talk easy schedules, look at Atlanta (.396)

Sammo,

Amen to that brother. Criminal what some of these artists are charging now but whatever....as long as people keep buying it. It's like the Toronto Maple Leafs. They've been putting a sh8tty product in front of fans for a great many years now but people are prepared to shell $300-400 to watch them on a nightly basis and but all their crap. No wonder they are now the first NHL team values at more than $1 billion....

There was nothing wrong with henne in his first few years, it's the lack of progression that killed him. He's the same qb now he was game 1

10 of our 12 games were against pathetic teams.

WHDPs,

And you wonder why I come across as a smart a** to you? Take a look at some of your comments to me brother. I realize it's often hard to look in the mirror.

Niners 24
Fins 3

Mark,

I'm going out on a limb and predicting a Panthers victory over the Falcons this weekend. I know, sounds kind of crazy but it's a total TRAP game for the Falcons. I don't believe the Falcons are the team to beat in the NFC and like fin4life says this is a Super Bowl game for the Panthers.

We did keep the Patriots under 30 points. I was impressed with that. But they didnt have Gronk either!! This one is going to be much different. If our offense is not near perfect. That SF Defense pick us for 1-3 touchdowns. We have to play a mistake free game to even keep it within 3 touchdowns!!! Go Phins!!!

Hey, Tannehill is an exact repeat of Henne. Actually Tannehill is a little worse. I dont think Henne was ever rated #33 like Tannehill is.

Craig, I think Carolina is underrated and Atlanta is probably a top 5 team but anything can happen - especially like you said - if it's a trap game. I don't gamble on football. I think all sports are fixed to a certain extent. The better teams always favour from the "human element". We saw it first hand last week. Still laughing at that pass interference call on the ball Tom Brady threw into row Z

Nate Garner's has been a pretty good backup for us when he was able to stay healthy. Health has been Garners greatest concern. Inability to stay healthy is probably the primary reason Garner isnt a starting nfl olineman right now.

If Garner is truly healthy, I believe he has great chance to have a pretty good game Sunday.

Craig, IMO Philbin has done a lousey job coaching I still dont get not having your starters on the field when its crunch time its eqvalent to sitting Lebron James in the 4th quarter because you have faith in some scrub. Also benching Bush and not Hartline when fumbling in the Bills game?? Where is the consistencey? I'll give he a pass this year because of the scrubs he has for players but he needs to tighten up

Mark,

I think sports are fixed to a certain extent to and like an idiot I play along, thinking I've got it all figured out. They just keep reeling me in.

You got any other upsets this weekend? Can the Saints beat the Giants? Vikings beat the Bears? Chiefs beat the Browns?

rt 7-6 last season.

Niners 31
Fins 10

I think our defense will do just fine agains the 9er offense. The key to this game will be the Miami offense v the 9er defense. That is obviously the big mismatch. Keep turnovers down. Actually I think if Miami has the exact same offensive output and approach they did last week against the Pats - they could win. Even on turnover ratio and 16 points will have them within a score again.

Craig,

I was just kidding around with that last post about Long, Ireland, & Dansby getting a pass....

Dolphins 13 49ers 10

How about Niners 38-16, just for old time's sake?

Sounds about right.

Clue,

He probably gets a C+ from me. He's not the reason we're 5-7 but he's also not the reason we're 5-7 (if you know what I mean). I'd say he's done a slightly better than average job with the team. I'm still on the fence with him. He could be a star as a HC or he could be a dud. Until he has better talent and more time to work with these guys we won't know. I think he rubs some of the vets the wrong way (guys like Bush and Dansby) and it will be interesting to see if that make the team stronger or divides them. There's a lot still to be determined.

Craig, I didn't really look at the games but from the ones you mentioned - I really don't like Minny's chances - Ponder is fading badly. too bad too because i like the kid and started this year so brightly but it looks like he is going the way of the Henne. Add to that Harvin is done for 2012 and the bears knowing they need a win because they will get lit up again by the pack next week and every way you slice it - bears win.

But then again, nobody ever made a dime listening to my football picks and the Steelers leadinginto a game against the ravens turned the ball overe 3,462 times in one game agains the browns. go figure.

Craig,

Here's my logic:
- 49'ers are a run-first team. We do very well (historically) vs. those types of teams, ESPECIALLY ones who specialize in the power run game.

- Colin's shown flashes, but he's basically a rookie QB. Our defensive weakness all year has been our secondary. If a QB can't take advantage of our weakness effectively then we do pretty well.

- 49'ers are angry? MIAMI IS ANGRY! 49'ers have something to play for? MIAMI HAS SOMETHING TO PLAY FOR (RESPECT)!

- Ryan Tannehill has proven himself this Season vs. young QBs (I believe it lifts his competitive spirit). ie. Dalton, Bradford, Luck, Wilson.

MOST IMPORTANTLY - I. FEEL. LUCKY!

That reminds me: we should be using Bush like the 80s Niners used Craig -- 80 *catches* a year for 700 yards in addition to 800 rushing yards.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CraiRo00.htm

WHDPs,

It's a weird blog, bud. Half the time I don't even know if I'm talking to the real guys. I don't know if I'm even talking to the real guy right now. Through in sarcasm and the fact it's written words and it all makes it more confusing. It's very easy for our comments to be taken wrong in this format.

For the record, WHDPs, I actually don't care if Long is back next year or not. I just want this team to win and make the right decisions. I'm loyal to a fault and I don't kick guys when they are done. Jake Long's been a very good pro for this team since day one and I get my back up when I see how OUR fanbase treat him. I believe these guys need our support and they need to know we're behind them. I'm not a fan of trashing our guys when they're giving their best.

In 1985 Roger Craig had well over 1,000 yards rushing *and* receiving.

A few years later he had 1500 rushing and 600 receiving.

That's two 2200 all purpose yard seasons.

Total machine.

Oh, I forgot to mention another one..

- 49'ers have Ted Ginn, JR. Miami has one MARCUS THIGPEN, SR!


And also when EVERYONE will be picking one team to win, usually that's when the other team surprises everyone.

Anyone paying250 to see the stones cant hear the band play anyway. All they hear is the stones of the60's &70's in their heads.

Posted by: Sammo | December 06, 2012 at 01:34 PM

Describes How Craig Feels About Dansby!! Just Hearing The Music! (Don't Get Offended Craig.)

Dansby Will Be Gone!! AFTER THIS SEASON!!

DASHI WILL GIVE U ANOTHER REASON ON TOP OF THE MILLIONS DASHI HAS ON WHY DANSBY IS GONE!!

WHAT IS THE FRANCHISE TAG FOR A MLB? $9 MILLION!

How Much Does The SELF PROCLAIMED "Greatest MLB IN NFL HISTORY"!! Make NEXT YEAR!! Around $13+ Million! How Much is That Over The Tag?

It is Cheaper To Pay Long 1 More Year Max Money!! For His Position! Than What It Is To Pay DANSBY!! AND The Chances U GET MORE FOR UR MORE MONEY!! WITH LONG IS MUCH HIGHER THAN WITH DANSBY!!

Again! Martin Is Getting Evaluated!! As Is Everyone Else On The Roster!! If Martin Proves Over These Next "4" Games That He is More Than Capable! Then Yes!! All Bets Are Off! But The Fins Would Probably Want Jake To Get Surgery! And The Fins Know How It Went. Before They Go From Franchise Tag! To a MultiYear Deal!

Jerry Needs To Play Guard!! And So Does Incognito!! These 2 Are Playing For the Their Jobs!! And NOW!! WITHOUT LONG!! DASHI WANTS TO SEE U LONG HATERS EXPLAIN!! WHY IS MARTIN GETTING BEAT ON THE INSIDE AS WELL THE OUTSIDE!! HECK! D.THOMAS PASS PROTECTS BETTER THAN INCOGNITO AND JERRY!!

I'm going out on a limb and predicting a Panthers victory over the Falcons this weekend. I know, sounds kind of crazy but it's a total TRAP game for the Falcons.

Craig M | December 06, 2012 at 01:54 PM

I don't know what the line is but this is about the best upset special of the week. The Falcons were lucky to beat them the 1st time at home and now that they own the NFC South this Yr. this does look like a TRAP game and Mini-S.B. for the Panthers.

Actually on paper our defense doesnt matchup to lousy against the Niners offense. We're just going to catch hell getting a td against thier defense.

Tannehill has shown some signs he can be a very good qb in the future, just not a great one. Therefore:

Niners 13 Dan Carpenter 9

I think our defense will do just fine agains the 9er offense. The key to this game will be the Miami offense v the 9er defense. That is obviously the big mismatch. Keep turnovers down. Actually I think if Miami has the exact same offensive output and approach they did last week against the Pats - they could win. Even on turnover ratio and 16 points will have them within a score again.

Mark,

The difference is the quality of the Niners defense vs. the Patriots defense. I just don't think we'll be able to move the ball against them. They're great against the run. Rookie QB w/o a running game against the best defense in the league...Doesn't look good. Also bear in mind that the Niners must be pretty pissed that they lost that game to the Rams.

My best guess is we lose 24-6 BUT that's why the play the games b/c I don't know sh#t. LOL!

How the fvck is Roger Craig not in the HOF? Finalist in 2010. Yet Thurman Thomas, who played 8 years later, got in in 2007?

Thomas deserves HOF but so does Craig.

And, I agree the coaching has been questionable at best last few weeks, I think Philbin knows he needs to have one more brilliant game (like the Jets) this Season to be full ensconced in the fans' good graces. Jags doesn't cut it (it's not a surprise if we beat them). Ditto Bills at home. He has 2 chances this year, Niners and Pats in Foxboro. Since they've already hooked the Playoff berth, they might rest folks Week 16 (especially if they know they can/can't get a bye). SO, if I'm Philbin, I consider this my LAST GOOD CHANCE this Season to prove he's a keeper.

As for score, since we can't muster over 20 points, I'll say: Miami 17, Niners 14 (Carpenter to the rescue again).

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