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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 should be in the HOF, based on my pinpoint accuracy.


Dont forget to add Dan Carpenter to your fantasy football team for Sunday. We should be able to move the ball somewhat with Tannehill. I just doubt it ends in tds.

Dan Carpenter will have the hot hand Sunday. Or should I say "hot foot".

Niners 13 Dan Carpenter 12



Did Thurman Thomas remember to bring his "helmet" to the hof ceremonies?

"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."


I haven't read any post of people posing as me yet but I see your point.

As for this football team--I just want to see us rebuild the RIGHT way so that we can eventually compete every year for the playoffs.

Mark Sanchez found his football helmet up his olineman's a*ss.

HAA you want to see a team ran the right way?? NE has both houston and SF at home!!! Us??? yea @ Houston and @ SF Good job Jeff!!!!


As fans, we need to be loyal to winning first and individual players 2nd.

My primary loyalty and allegiance is to winning. Not the "soap opera" of the "individual actors".

ericatl, you know it's the NFL who makes schedules, not Owners or GM's, right?

As fans, absolutely nothing should take priority over winning. Even if losing gives greater chance of winning later.

WHDPs, sure the Pats are not the 9er defense but one area the pats are as good defensively as anyone is against the run. And that is all we tried to do against them. Maybe they were trying to protect the young qb a bit to avoid what happened against Luck a few weeks before and didn't want him to have another multi INT game, who knows????

But I think if they just let Tannehill rip last week - he would've found a lot of deep balls on that secondary - but we will never know for sure because they ran on 1st and 2nd down on almost EVERY series. There are times to do that but I think last week was not the week. Especiallyw hen you start with the ball on the 50 yard line.


Agreed. What I won't do though is turn my back on guys that lay it on the line every week. It's not Jake Long's fault that he makes $12.5 mil a year. It's what the market dicatated as being the number one draft pick the year he was drafted. It's also not his fault that the team picked him over Matt Ryan. So understand where a lot of these comments are coming from. The play of Jake Long is not the reason we're 5-7. The fact we didn't end up with a QB who's lighting it up every week, I can see, but again that's not Jake Long's pick.

fin4life, thanks for the tip. That's how I'm seeing the Panthers game this week too. I think the line is about 3.5 but I think this game has upset written all over it. Panthers are a tough team to figure out. They're nothing if not inconsistent.

DC, I'm not sure the Niners under Kaepernick are as much of a run first team as they would be under Smith. Niners can light up in the passing game now too, as they did against the Saints a few weeks ago. I believe with the issues we have getting to the QB and in the secondary that this will be their plan this weekend. Dolphins ANGRY? I don't see it. They had their chance after the tough loss against the Colts and they came out the next week and lay down against the Titans. I think we'll see this weekend just how far the Dolphins still have to grow. Tannehill looks lost to me right now and I expect to see more of the same this weekend. I'll also say THREE picks for Tannehill this weekend.

And DC I have to disagree fully with an earlier post of yours. You were chastising Philbin for not shaping his offense around the players he has saying he is too rigid.

I have to laugh because it's the same stuff I heard from Giants fans when Coughlin didn't do well in his first couple of seasons. Players were questioning him too and they were quickly shown the door. He established his way of doing things and if you didn't like it tough s&^t. And he didn't come from a winning franchise either! He was fired from his job before the Giants. Philbin came from a winning organization and low and behold the team lost no players but their offense is a shell of what it was under Philbins design.

You are suggesting he rework his offense to fit the players and then what? Get SOME new players in the offseason and eventually work his offense into the mix? Constantly churning plays and making players learn new ones and practice new plays?

No way. No way and I can't agree. Establish a way of doing things and then build around it. This is the way imo you build a team who can compete every season and not be a flash in the pan like the Jets.

Which if you look at it, are the team that followed the model you want Philbin to use. And three years later they suck again and it's back to the drawing board. They have switched their offense to suit all kinds of different players. They even dumbed it down to protect Sanchez and it was a horrible mistake. Don't compromise your vision EVER. Philbin knows what he wants this team to be and I for one am fine with waiting a few seasons to see him establish a new Dolphins way.

All Western religion is based on our fear of death.

There is no afterlife.

God is a fabrication.

Tannehill will make Joe Montana look like Ryan Lindley this week!

..YG..Great post @2:24

I have a ticket for this weekends game in SF..Won't be able to make it though. I'm not too bummed. Candelstick sucks to watch a game, and the older I get the less I want to deal with the NASCAR like environment that is a game day at an NFL stadium..I'll watch it at home on the ticket and be just fine.


The Packers offence has been decimated by injuries. It's hardly accurate to say that because Philbin's not there, the offence isn't the same. Their OL is a mess, Jennings has been out for most of the year, they just signed Ryan Grant to be their lead back and Finley's missed time. Has very little to do with Philbin not being there IMO.

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.

DC Dolfan | December 06, 2012 at 02:08 PM

This is true but also predicated on inherited personnel. The really good Coaches play and scheme to their teams strength and last Yr. it was the running game in S.F. with game manager Alex Smith at the helm for Harbaugh. It reminds of Shula becoming a vertically oriented Coach with Marino after more than a decade of ground and pound with strong D.

I remember the great Kaepernick debate on here before the lock out draft and I have to admit I watched a replay of a game he played Vs. then #5 Boise St. were he flashed some serious potential with Richard Matthews as his featured WR ironically and the kid has the goods. He spanked a very game N.O. a couple of weeks ago and was due his NFL introduction into not underestimating your opponent.

I believe the week-4 NFC Championship rematch Vs. the Giants in S.F. were the Giant front 7 shut down the run game and Smith in multiple WR sets with Crabtree, Moss, Manningham, K.Wilson and T.E. V.Davis couldn't total more than 3 points in a 26-3 home loss against a depleted N.Y. Secondary set the move to Kaep in motion more than anything. I laugh at those that wanted Smith in FA he's an up and down middle of the pack player who requires the perfect game from his D and OL, RB's to win or am I watching different games than everybody.

My point is this move from Harbaugh is about opening it up with his very good Rec. Corp. and maybe they miss the dance this Yr. but that team is young and built to win some S.B.'s threw the air and ground. It also shows us all what a really good H.C. can do for a team given last years 49ers were almost to a man the same team Nolan/Singeltary couldn't get to .500!


Having said all that, your comparison to Coughlin is well made. We can only hope Philbin's ways have similar results in Miami.


You're either on some good drugs or you're getting laid a lot. Regardless, you gotta let me know your secret.

I here ya Craig but the Packers have been one of the most injured teams in football going back to the year they won , it was a big story.


I posted, yesterday I think, that if Ireland approaches Long with dignity and respect in a sit down heart to heart, mano y mano talk. Long maybe acceptable to less money or even change of position.

Dignity and respect is the key.

Ireland showed ZERO dignity and respect to Matt Moore. I mean everyone knew Ireland probably was going to draft a qb with the 8th overrall pick. But the signing of David Garrard was probably the straw that broke the camel's back, as far as dignity and respect to Matt Moore.

After all, Moore derved better after leading the team to a 7-3 final 10 game record. Signing Garrard pretty much suggested Moore wasnt even good enough to lock down a bacup qb spot in Ireland's eyes.

That may not be how Ireland actually viewed it. But you know what they say:


And to Matt Moore, it may have been percieved as a "total slap in the face".

"Injuries no stranger to Packers
Posted Sep 14, 2011
By Mike Spofford"


Moore did deserve better. That and the fact he'll have a better chance to start somewhere else next year are the reasons I expect him to have a different uniform on next year.

Another story from last season


Barton Silverman/The New York Times
Left, safety Jarrett Bush, one of the replacements, celebrated in the last minutes. More Photos »
Woodson, the wily and otherworldly Packers cornerback, was sidelined for the second half of Super Bowl XLV, as was the veteran receiver Donald Driver. They were two huge losses, but the Packers did not go down in defeat. Their 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers was a study in the resilience they demonstrated throughout a season in which their injured reserve list ballooned to 15 players.

“All season we had to fight through a lot of things, and today was no different,” Woodson said, adding: “Just like all season, somebody stepped in and they stepped up. That’s what this Green Bay Packer team is about.”

15 players on IR last year and that doesn't count Driver and Woodson getting hurt in the SB. The team still did great, with their well established offense. They didn't change a thing, just Packers football being played.

Irescum doesnt know what dignity, respect,competence, or class is.

Moore deserves to fukked anally by a unicorn with no lube for costing us RG3


Rodgers is on pace for being sacked over 50 times this year. Do you think that's because their OL has been decimated by injuries or do you believe it's because Philbin left?

Not being smart, I'm just questioning that Philbin means that much to the team.

the problem is aldon smith vs garner and justin smith vs. martin. J Martin will struggle with the bullrush.


I think he'll struggle too. Let's have him prove us both wrong...I'm up for it.

About 28 teams wish they had our OL.

Phins78 @ 2:32pm,

Absolutely correct! Philbin was chosen because Steven Ross wanted to bring the Dolphins offense into the 21st century of modern nfl passing warfare. Hc's are you brought in because the system he runs matches up with how the gm/owner envisions the type of team he wants his franchise to be.

Unfortunately, this means an purging of the personel already on hand when that coach is brought in. That new hc isnt brought in to make the best of the personel he has on hand when he comes in. Unless he replacing a hc that ran the same system, had the proper personel for that system, and just underperformed as a hc.

..Craig M. I think it is a mistake to say that the Niners are more of a pass threat team with Kaep under center. Examine the stats since he has been the starter, and they will tell the story that the Niners are still very much a run first team..

V Chicago 23 attempts 16 completions. 29 runs
V NO..16 completions 25 attempts 31 runs
Last week was the Niners threw 32 times ran it 36 but none of those runs were from Kaepernick..

To me it is the same offense.the difference is that Kaep has the arm strength to throw the ball down the field. Smith is very good a the short to intermediete throws. Kaep gives the Niners a guy that can stretch the field a bit better. But as far as they go. It is still lie and die with the run.

We will see this week if we can shut the run down how efficient Kaep is passing the ball when the run is shut down..Last week he was OK, not great.

@ 2:54 Nine of those runs were from Kaep..

Philbin was chosen because no real HC wanted the job. LOL


You misunderstood. I didn't say Philbin should change his philosophy every year to fit the players. I said good coaches know when to ADAPT (key word) their philosophy to the teams they have. Miami isn't now nor probably will ever be the Green Bay Packers (Philbin said as much when he came here). Tannehill isn't Rodgers, has a totally different skill set. So you can't just have a blueprint and say, "this is it!" You need to adapt the blueprint to the tools you're working with now.

Using Bush in the pass game more isn't a huge leap away from the WCO. It's a staple of many 49'ers WCO teams. Frankly, another HC who didn't adapt is Andy Reid (one of my favorites). He has McCoy, one of the best backs in the league, and doesn't run him enough. Now he'll be looking for a job next year.

Also, Philbin (or Sherman) keep going to Lane for short yardage. Another bad decision. Thomas is better at that, but the play that worked best was play action the short run and let Lane catch a pass out in the flat. Mis-direction needs to be utilized more in today's NFL (one reason Belichick's system works so well nowadays).

Philbin's overall philosophy, faster offense, more explosive, pass first, speed, zone blocking, is EXACTLY what I want him to develop. But along the way, he's going to have to compromise. Work to the strengths of the current situation. Good HCs do that, it's the reason a defensive guru Bill Belichick was able to see what he had in Tom Brady and create the most dynamic offense the game has ever seen. And an offensive guru, Bill Billick was able to see what he had and turn the Baltimore Ravens into the defensive juggernaut they've been ever since. It's turning water into wine, and Jesus ain't the only one who can do that!

Moore deserves to fukked anally by a unicorn with no lube for costing us RG3

Mark in Toronto | December 06, 2012 at 02:47 PM

I would be ROTFFLMFAO if this were not sadly true!


The personality of a team usually takes on the personality of its hc.

Look at Harbaugh the Stanford hc. He had Andrew Luck and was still play great d and ball control first oriented. That's the same persona that carried over to the Niners.

Harbaugh maybe looking for bigger downfield passing plays, but he's still play great d, ball control first oriented. But this doesnt neccessarily mean you arent looking to make great plays down the field when they present themselves.

It just means, he's not Steve Spurrier.

I agree that the way Matt Moore has been treated is borderline criminal. Since when does a team MVP get benched for the worst player in the league at his position? Just more ridiculous decisions by the incompetent Dolphins! Its laughable....

..Craig M. I think it is a mistake to say that the Niners are more of a pass threat team with Kaep under center. Examine the stats since he has been the starter, and they will tell the story that the Niners are still very much a run first team..

V Chicago 23 attempts 16 completions. 29 runs
V NO..16 completions 25 attempts 31 runs
Last week was the Niners threw 32 times ran it 36 but none of those runs were from Kaepernick..

DarrylDunphy | December 06, 2012 at 02:54 PM

The point isn't that they will forget they have F.Gore and a bruising OL. The point is having a QB under Center that can threaten the opposition veritcally. The 49ers were winning by not allowing points while putting up their's threw the run game. Look at their stats last Yr. they were winning low scoring ball control games that was widely discussed in every sports publication given some thought that while it worked in the regular season couldn't be done post Season and you can play more balanced but need a QB that will back the LB's and Safety's up which Smith wasn't.

biggest problem on off. Its not our qb, not the wideouts, or rb or, oline We need a tight end badly!!!!!! Every winning team has a TE that a LB have a hard time covering even a FS,SS a good TE helps avg. Wideouts so on that note get sorry ass tony fakesano outta here he cant block holds all the time and cant get no seperation from anyone

Well, if the 49ers are a run first Team, then they better be considering other options as Nobody can run consistently on Miami.

On Henne.

He was a Good Qb! He Just Didn't Have it!! The Ball Never Bounced His Way!!

Henne is Better Than Sanchez!! But That Game Should Settle Things About Who Has a Higher Ceiling!! First Of Sunshine!! Is About 3 Inches Taller Than Henne!! Never Mind! That He Is a Better Athlete!! And Has Better Touch Than Henne!!

Henne's Major Problem Is That his Rocket Arm Is Set On Laser! 24/7! Short, medium,Long!! Plus Henne Can't Throw On The Run!! Henne Can't Run!

On Henne.

He was a Good Qb! He Just Didn't Have it!! The Ball Never Bounced His Way!!

Henne is Better Than Sanchez!! But That Game Should Settle Things About Who Has a Higher Ceiling!! First Of Sunshine!! Is About 3 Inches Taller Than Henne!! Never Mind! That He Is a Better Athlete!! And Has Better Touch Than Henne!!

Henne's Major Problem Is That his Rocket Arm Is Set On Laser! 24/7! Short, medium,Long!! Plus Henne Can't Throw On The Run!! Henne Can't Run!

Our D will keep us in the game, they limited NE and stop a good RB recently, IMO this is a final drive game or OT

For the guy who said our QB is the worst in the game for his position, don't you watch any other games? Bill

Dolphins: 168
Niners: 167

Fins win in a squeaker

Because the odds are so stacked against the Phins winning Sunday, I'm going to predict that we finally blow the doors off the 9rs and kick them like a one legged puppy! Phins 48 9rs ZERO!!

No rookies? The head coach is still a rookie!

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