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3 posts from September 8, 2013

September 08, 2013

Dolphins win, but Wallace upset

Although the Dolphins won the regular-season opener, 23-10 over the Cleveland Browns, Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace was clearly angry coming off the field and was still steaming after he dressed and left the Dolphins locker room.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland escorted a visibly angry Wallace off the field, putting his arm around the players waist and walking him as if leading him away from other people. Ireland was talking to Wallace the entire time the two walked back to the locker room.

Minutes later, Wallace, who caught only one pass for 15 yards, was one of the first players who left the locker room.

Can I walk with you, I asked?

"I don't feel like talking," Wallace grumbled.

Can you talk about the game?

"I don't want to talk," he answered.

Another reporter joined us and asked, "Can you talk about the game plan?"

"I don't feel like talking about it. Ask coach."

Wallace didn't have a catch at halftime. Indeed, the Dolphins hadn't even targeted him in the first half. They did immediately target him in the first series of the first half and he eventually finished the game with four targets. Brian Hartline had the ball thrown him 12 times and Brandon Gibson had the ball thrown to him seven times. Tight end Charles Clay had the ball thrown to him six times.

As he was walking away, Wallace was asked about the lack of targets in the first half.

"Ask coach," he said. "It's not my game plan."

Another question: In the second half they threw to you right away. Was something said at halftime?

"Ask coach."

This is not going to make Wallace, Miami's highest paid free agent, popular. It obviously doesn't look good that he was clearly thinking about his personal performance and situation ahead of the fact the Dolphins won the game.

Not a good look.

On the other hand, the kid has a point. Mike Wallace signed a $60 million contract. Not throwing him the football in the first half of a game he's single covered throughout is not good planning by coaches.


Live blog, Odrick starts, inactives ...

CLEVELAND -- Jared Odrick starts for the Dolphins at defensive tackle today.

I can tell you without equivocation that Randy Starks, who was a starter most of the past previous five seasons, is not happy with the idea. Starks is the Dolphins franchise tag player. Yes, he's going to share playing time with Odrick -- perhaps equally.

But it's a principle thing for these guys, at times.

The inactives for today's game are QB Pat Devlin, cornerback Jamar Taylor, cornerback Will Davis, Josh Kaddu, guard Danny Watkins, G-T Dallas Thomas and running back Mike Gillislee. 


Game day: On Mike Wallace and Cameron Wake

CELVELAND -- Welcome to the Dolphins 2013 season. As we begin with a 1 p.m. kickoff vs. Cleveland today, I want to give you a Sunday brunch offering about wo of Miami's best players.

It's actually about Miami's best offensive and defensive players.

Mike Wallace.

Cameron Wake.

It's no secret I pushed for the signing of Wallace as a free agent acquisition from the Pittsburgh Steelers even before the 2012 season ended. I did that because this Dolphins offense needed a proven, experienced, young deep-threat wide receiver. But as I write in my column in today's Miami Herald the Dolphins got more than they bargained for.

I predict Wallace will be good in Miami. What he gave the Steelers, he will give the Dolphins. And more. So please, check out the column to find out about the "more" part.

As for Wake, you'll recall I posted a couple of days ago the Dolphins expected to use Wake, Dion Jordan and Olivier Vernon on passing downs as pass rushers versus the Browns. Together. Three defensive ends in the same package.

Well, I've been told the key to that package is neither Jordan nor Vernon but Wake. You see, the Dolphins have visions this year of turning Wake into something of a hybrid attacker of the QB who comes from all angles and in different forms.

The Dolphins have plans to give Wake the ability to stand up and move around the defense, in some ways resembling the way Nick Saban used former defensive end Jason Taylor in 2006. Saban unleashed Taylor, freeing him from his four-point stance at left end to roam and blitz and cover and come at the quarterback from either side or up the middle.

Expect similar from Wake this year and as early as today.

Wake has experience as a stand-up rusher. When he broke in with the Dolphins, he was a 3-4 OLB. When the Dolphins went to the 4-3, he became a DE.

If the plans go well, he'll be the best of both in 2013.

[BLOG NOTE: Come back soon for another update. There will be a live blog today at game time.]