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Dolphins (struggling vs. TEs) must contain Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez is good. He's Hall of Fame-bound good. Well, so far this season he hasn't been that good, but that's probably a result of him taking much of training camp off after striking a deal with the Falcons that allowed him to do so.

But the guy is generally good.

And that's not the best news for the Dolphins because tight ends have been something of a concern for Miami this year. Now, let me define "something of a concern:"

ooooh crud, here we go again.

“Let’s see, the Cleveland game Cameron (Jordan) had a big game," coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday, recalling the Dolphins efforts against tight ends so far this year. "He was very, very productive. Last week they obviously hit (Coby) Fleener down the seam on a big play, but I think we have the capability of doing a good job against the tight ends."

The Dolphins probably do have the capability of playing better against tight ends. But they have to clean up the issues of the past two weeks to do it.

In the Cleveland game, for example, the Dolphins gave up 10 completions for 117 yards and a touchdown to Browns tight ends. In the Indianapolis game, the Dolphins gave up 5 completions for 82 yards and a touchdown to Colts tight ends.

Opposing teams have targeted their tight ends 24 times vs. Miami so far this season and come away with 15 completions -- that's a 62.5 percent success rate every time the opposing team throws to the tight end.

Compare that to the 50 percent success rate (36 of 72) on targets to all other players, including easy, short throws to running backs and fullbacks and you see that Miami has work to do on limiting tight ends.

This is nothing new, by the way. Long-time Dolphins fans know the team has for some reason struggled covering tight ends for years and years. (No idea why).

But as the Dolphins actively tried to improve their pass coverage this year -- including the signing Phillip Wheeler -- so the hope remains the team can improve on tight end coverage as the season unfolds.

One variable that should buoy the Dolphins is that in Sunday's game, the Falcons won't bring the best tight end in the league to the game. Yes, Gonzalez has been in the past. But he's 37 years old now. He's off to a slow start with only seven receptions for 69 yards. And he's averaging a modest. 9.9 yards per catch, which is over two yards less than his career average per catch.

Despite this apparent decline the Dolphins respect Gonzalez and know he can hurt them.

 "He’s outstanding," Philbin said. "He just knows he has so much route skills. He’s just a tough guy to defend, no doubt about it. He knows how to get open. He’s got extremely good hands. It will be a challenge, but I think we are capable."

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Tony G is one of the greatest TEs to ever play the game...obviously...but at 37 years old I don't think he is scaring anyone anymore...ATL had to basically drag him back...Philbin is not the least bit worried about TG...but he gives him the proper dues he deserves...

I'd rather give up 75 yards to TG...than 200 yards to the 2 studs on the outside...but Ryan isnt going to have time to do much...look for a lot of stuff underneath...slants...3-5 step drops...trying to get teh ball out QUICK...

So much room for activities...

Jack, good points. Dolphins seem to be giving up the plays to the TEs when they blitz and it doesn't get there in time. i'd rather they keep blitzing and if the worst is they give up some yards ot the TE instead of giving the Qb time for one of their ultra talented WRs to make a play then so be it. Take away what the other team is best at - and that is chunk plays to the WRs.

Miami's pass rush is what will keep Tony Gonzalez in check!!!

Tong Gonzalez is far from the player he once was but he still is clutch on 3rd down and in the redzone. I have no evidence of that but we all can assume it's true. You just can't sleep on the guy because he hasn't produced a big game yet. The Falcons played an aggressive blitz caller Rob Ryan in game 1 vs the Saints and also a pretty good front 4 with Robert Quinn and Chris Long last week so I'm sure Gonzalez was asked to chip and block more then usual.

IMO, Miami has to get a dominate day out of the front 4 and I think they will. Matt Ryan has been hit 11 times and sacked 4 times in the first 2 games this year. That's not terrible but Miami will be the best front 4 and group of pass rushers, Atlanta has faced this season. The Falcons OTs are struggling. They let Clabo go and it looks for good reason but the guy they were hoping to replace him with went down in the preseason and placed on IR. So now you have a guy far out of his starting at RT and expected to block Cam Wake. This means OV, D. Jordan, Odrick and Starks have to be free because Tony G is going to have to help chip and double team Wake which Wake will still win his share of battles.

The key is Wake making the Falcons RT who again is far outta his league look bad everytime they are matched up 1 on 1 which makes Gonzalez a blocker and not a weapon.

The only thing that worries me about our blitz from last week is too many lplays I watched the Colts pick it up nicely...and when extra defenders are sent and don't make it...the ball is going to move down the field quickly...would have like to seen more pressure from the front 4 (or 5) getting to the QB instead of needing to send 6 or 7 to get there...

One last thing on why Vernon is starting and Shelby isn't.

Nobody has answered my question, CAN SHELBY COVER?

O.Vernon allows Coyle more versatility with his play calling. He can play DE and LB. Allowing the Fins to go from a 5-2 to a 3-4 during the same play pre snap.

Also, If the Roles were Reversed. Who says O.Vernon wouldn't be the one getting all the Stats. Vernon still plays special teams. We should just be happy we have DEs.

I think Mark has it right. We are allowing the tight ends to catch the ball, because the LB's are blitzing. When you dont get there someone will be open. I prefer TE's to get meaningless stats, than give up big plays to the receivers.I know we have given up over 200 yards and 2 TD's over 2 games to tight ends, but how much of an impact has that had on the team?


I am sure if Wheeler didnt get to Luck on their last play, a completion might have been made to a TE, who knows. So I say blitz away and let the TE's have their meaningless stats and continue to put QB's on their booty holes!

The problem is our LBs are still getting acquainted to the defense. I expect the Pass coverage will get better as the season progresses. They will be able to react to the play and not be thinking about their assignment. It takes time. But those stats are still better than Dansby and Burnett. Not by much, but still better.

Yreah I have to agree with the previous comments. I'm not that bothered with the completions to the TDs, as long as we continue to do what we're doing with the pass rush. Listen, you can't take EVERYTHING away from the opposition. It's impossible. As long as guys like Julio Jones and Reggie Wayne aren't eaten us alive, I'm fine with that. Guys like Fleener won't kill you unless they are consistently having success in the red zone.

We can micro-analysis this team all day long but the reality is the defence has done a very good job of not giving up the big play and they are winning the turnover battle. I'm cool with how things have gone so far.

Reshad Jones

Where has he been so far. I know it's early but I haven't seen that game changer he was last year. Granted we are 2-0 so who cares but in the next 3 games before the bye we are going to need the playmaker to show up to pull one of these out. Not complaining he's been solid/good but hasn't made the splash play just yet.

On the Dolphins and Tight Ends.


Am I remembering incorrrectly, but I dont remember TE's getting many receptions in the second half of games.


It was amazing how much better the Defense was in the second half. NIGHT AND DAY!

Ian Rapoport ‏@RapSheet 7m

Horrible news for #Broncos, Peyton, & Clady, who is headed to IR. He did sign a 5-year, $57.5M deal with $33M guaranteed in the offseason

Look Coyle should blitz more, Ryan is a statue so he won't be
Able to get out of the way and will throw the ball away or throw before he wants to with that said bring the blitz and stop the run by stacking the OL make them one dimensional and we have a good chance to win....on offense
Run the ball play action pass and burn that secondary that is not as good as last year's.

Shelby is not really a cover guy Dashi...I think he is more of a hard rush/stuff kind of guy...though he is playing fairly light...

Rdubs,

Credit the staff for making whatever adjustments or just re-emphasizing the game plan at the half.

Philbin has looked good so far. Winning does that. Coyle has been awesome in making the right calls. Sherman so-so. He was terrible vs Browns and good vs Colts. I see why Wallace was ticked off after week 1. I want to see the game where he nails it as much as Coyle has.

Is that for real rdubs??? Wow, Clady to IR - bad news in denver. Peyton isn't exactly known for standing tall in the pocket or being able to run away from defenses.

For the love of Pete are we still dealing with this? lol How many years now, this and finding a RG seem to be Miami's achilles heel.

Too nice up here to talk today guys, have to work but thought I would drop in during lunch and say hey. Have a great day everyone and go Dolphins!!!!!

Andy,

Patience man. We can have so many playmakers every game. When the secondary isn't giving up the big play, as we did in year's past, then you know guys like Jones are doing their job covering. On top of that the DL is coming up big and guys like Grimes, Patterson and Carroll have been big so far. Jones time will come. We'll have heard from him lots before it's all said and done.

Mark,


It's for realz!! This could put a damper on Denver's season

I'd rest Soliai this week. To be honest, we don't really need him. I don't see Atlanta as a team that is going to run the ball all day. It will be up to Matt Ryan and the offence to win this game and I like our chances on that.

Rest Soliai for down the road. He's a big part of this team. We don't need him getting more banged and really need him for the stretch run.

How big is he?

I agree the TE won't be a big factor because they have to stay and protect Ryan. The RB is out they are vulnerable to giving up sacks this week, I will double Julio and let Ronny White go one on one with the phins best corner, his name is MR GRIMES
big game coming up for him especially after being release and he got a big boulder on his shoulder, and will provide info on the falcons passing game schemes routes etc etc etc and he will have our secondary playing at a high level because they want Grimes to get revenge!!! LETS GO DOLPHINS.!!!!!!!

Bo,


Magnum sized!!!

every player can't be a stud every week...there is an ebb and flow to the season.

Wake is lights out in week one and quite in week two, ok so what?

"You are what your record says you are" To quote Bill "Tuna" Parcels.

2-0 baby, let that settle in and enjoy it because a playoff caliber team is coming to town and we need our playmakers to step up.

Is this a Johnny Carson bit brewing here between Craig and Bo?

rdubs, Manning needs a line to protect him - he cringes every time he gets hit. It was the bane of his existence at the end in Indy and one reason why his playoff #s always sucked.

FoxSports' Brian Billick: 13th. That's up nine spots from a weeek ago. "Of the five undefeated teams in the AFC, the Dolphins are the only ones to win both games on the road and are one of only two teams to beat a 2012 playoff team."

Ya'll gowna make me lose my mind...up in heah...up in heah...

Imagine if the phins stop the run like 30 yards total, boy that will stir up some contraversy for sure on who starts at NT. Remember soliai back is good plus starks
Never know I seen it happen before...remember Drew Bledsoe? OK enough said but if the DL plays crappy and gives up chucks of yards on the ground than we in trouble
Until Soliai comes back...come on feed back please.

DOLPHINSSSSSSSSS. HATE THE LOGO THOUGH! BUT I CAN LIVE WITH IT IF WE CONTINUE WINING!!

Jack,

That is what I am trying to say. Shelby is a very good player. But the offense doesn't have to worry about him dropping into coverage. Shelby is built more in the Odrick mold. DEs that can play DT if need be. Even though Odrick was the opposite. A DT that can play DE.

I can see in the Future the Fins putting all 5 on the field at the same time on passing downs. Wake and OV at DE, Shelby and Odrick at DT and D.Jordan as the Rover. Talk about bringing it on passing downs. Hate to be the O-line trying to stop that.

Shelby is about 6'2" 280lbs. He can move inside on passing downs.

Again,, Dashi has been a Shelby fan from Day 1. Dashi and Odin were bragging about Shelby and Devlin last preseason.

Shelby still has some learning to do. But you can tell these young guys have a great mentor in Cam Wake. He won't allow them to get complacent. He will push them to their limit. And Coyle is using them how they are supposed to be used.

TE Dwayne Allen of the colts is having season ending hip surgery. Tough break but I have no sympathy ...

Craig M,

I hear you bro. I was just sort of putting it out there because with the competition we face over the next 3, he's going to be needed to step up and make that splash play.

The best part is like you said others have stepped which is something we had none of last year. The CBs are far and away much better then it has been. Patterson 2 ints, Grimes 1 and Nolan Carroll 1 as well as far as CBs is awesome.

ray, I don't likeany scenario that involves Big Paul leaving ... He's one of my favourites and truly a rare breed...

Dashi,


Why did you drop Martellus Bennett after I traded him to you? I didnt look at that as a throw away pick!

The big question for me is...what week will these Dolphins lay an egg??? ala the Titans game last year...it's all but a given based on the recent history right??? Or do we end the trend this year??? This is a very young team...

The Falcons won't have S.Jackson. And this season we aren't susceptible to scat backs. We have LBs that can go sideline to sideline.

I doubt the Falcons will do a lot of running, even with Soliai out.

But agreed on your point. I can see Soliai coming back as a Back up. They did it to Starks. That way it evens out their starts. I see nothing wrong with starting Soliai 8 games then Starting Starks 8 games. They will still get the same amount of snaps.

That would be a great stat if Armando can post it. How many snaps are our 3 DTs getting. What is the Split. Are the 3 rotating equally? Or are 2 getting way more snaps than the 3rd.

Jack,


Starting 2 and 0 and they are feeling it. I think we could lose, but I have a feeling they will play their butts off with tons of heart. First home game of the season with a legitimate sell out. I believe the fans in the stands will actually be Dolphin fans, unlike Patriot games that sell out and are all PATS fans.

Dont ya worry Jack. Win or lose you will be proud of your team this Sunday!

Mark...I agree I am a fan of big Paul...but couldn't you see us getting some REALLY good compensation for him for a team looking for a MAN to lock down their 3-4 NT??? I mean if Starks and Odrick can solidify the middle...then why not try to get a 2 for him before years end...if that is even possible...
Disclaimer...I'm just shooting bottles here...

Toronto,

The war of attrition in the NFL with all these injuries piling up early.

We've already had a signigicant one in Keller but the cliche of next man up has worked thus far. Clay not so much a run blocker but a very good reciever. Keller was never known as a run blocker so Im very happy with Clay so far.

In the secondary both 2nd and 3rd round rookie CBs are out and Nolan Carroll stepped up and got an int in week 1. He was called on to start week 2 and did a good enough job in place of Dimitri Patterson as well in week 2.

Soliai looks like he is out a week or more and lucky for us we are deep along the interior with Odrick and Starks and even Vaughn Martin in the rotation now. So far so good for us as a team.

It's good to have a talented enough group to overcome these things where in years past the backups were fringe NFL players.

Dont worry...about a ting...cuz every little ting...gowna be alright...

Jack, I don't think we will lay the egg this year. At least I'm hopeful. Last year, it happened against the Bills and the Titans. We had a rookie qb then though. I do think there is a lot of parity in the league and the Jets and Bills are better than people think though, so we will see.

Almost every team in the NFL struggles against tight ends. It's so hard to put a guy on and can run with these TE's. You will need to jam the TE hard at the line of scrimmage on every play but that would take away a pass rusher. So it's sorta a catch 22, that's why TE are now such a key part of good offenses.

Dubs,

That was Dashi outsmarting himself. That was a great Trade. I deserved what has happened to me the last 2 weeks. I'm making M.Bennett my starter til further notice.

I looked at that Trade as more J.Graham for E.Lacy. thinking I could find any TE in Free Agency. And Then I picked up the Ravens TE instead of J.Thomas. and Then picked up K.Winslow on a bad week.

I learned my lesson. Bennett is a good TE. And being on the Bears he is the 2nd best option for Cutler.

Jack,


Irie mon....keep da vibes alive!

I knew graham was too good a deal for Lacy, thays why I threw in M.Bennett and took crappy Pierre Thomas

Armando,
It would be interesting to see a comparison of where Miami sits on completion percentage allowed to TE's with other teams in the league. I would guess that with the emphasis on TE's in the league most teams give up a higher percentage of completions to TE's then other receiving positions... It seems 60% completion, 100 yards and a TD is decent(not great but not horrendous either).

Maybe you can get those stats from PFF?

Still a long season and a lot of teams have won the Superbowl after starting 0-2. Marino's Kid is no different.

No, I don't think you understand how much I like Big Paul - I mean I don't think anyone was calling him Big Paul here before I was - if so i apologize but I really don't think anyone was - the name for me goes back to the season opener against the Bills a few years back - I was sitting just a few rows above the field and saw him continuously smash Eric Wood on play after play - it was awesome. I came away from that game so impressed with him - the kind of thing you only notice if you watch a game live.

Anyways .. the point ... in New England they shipped everyone out at will except for two guys. Tom brady and Vince Wilfork. I know BB isn't the messiah everyone thought he was but it speaks volumes that the one non qb player he won't move is a earth mover of a DT/NT that other teams just can't move. It speaks as to how rare these guys are. I know we are spoiled here in Miami because we had Tim Bowens (another favourite). But these guys truly are very hard to find.

Dashi I think the statistics for even making the playoffs after a 0-2 start are really low...

Dubs,

I would've traded Lacy for Graham straight up. Dashi is a Huge Lacy fan. Lacy and L.Miller my 2 favorite RBs right now.

I feel that was a pretty even trade. I should've just started Bennett from the Start.

I was willing to Trade R.Mendenhall, H.Nicks and S.Johnson for L.Miller. Talk about a trade.

Dashi i killed you last week with Terelle Pryor as my QB that had to hurt. I sat Cam. Im surprise no one isnt talking aboit the hands of stone Cris Clemmons has. This guy had 2 drop picks against tke Colts! I like him cause hes always in the right position, he just cant catch!

Mark,

That's interesting news on Dwayne Allen. Big loss, IMO.

I'ts interesting, oming into this season I saw the Colts, Steelers and Ravens as are biggest competitors for a Wild Card spot. Colts have a tough game in SF this week and I expect them to lose. That would move them to 1-2. With Allen and Ballard both gone, all of a sudden the Colts aren't looking like such a good bet to make the playoffs. It actually won't matter, as long as the 'Phins keep winning.

Yes, Jack.

But they aren't impossible. Just Improbable. And I'm talking about Fantasy Football. I have won with being the last seed in the playoffs. It isn't how you start but how you finish.

Poizen,

I've got you in the pool this week. Be prepared to meet your match bud. My lineup's a little beat up right now but Tom Brady's back with a vengenace this week. Expect to lose fella.....LOL.

aahhh...well disregard then sir...I don't play the fantasy foozball...

Dashi,


Are you equating fantasy football to sex? I always finish with a bang and someone else ends up disappointed!

Rdubs did you draft your players or was it sutomaticslly sekected?

Truth,

Yep you did. I got crushed. And I remember talking to you about the Pryor thing a week before. Was wrong on that one. I thought Pryor was still at least a year away from being decent.

On Clemons. I Agree. I also brought that up and nobody said anything. It is like we already know what Clemons is going to do. Drop the Pick. He is playing better but he still doesn't create turnovers. I would rather see J.Wilson get more snaps at FS.

J.Wilson makes plays. He is just a little of a liability as a CB. But with the way J.Wilson hits, put him at FS and WRs are going to be dropping more passes. Or they will be coming out in a Stretcher. Just ask R.Wayne. Wilson hit Wayne so hard he had to take a couple plays off during the game. And the Concussion he gave D.Hopkins on a clean tackle in preseason. Wilson can hit with the best of them.

go finssssssssssss huge home opener better be sold out and loud!!!!!!!!

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