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Why is Vernon getting more snaps than Shelby, Jordan?

Sometimes coaches see things through a different prism than the rest of us. They see things through the prism of the truth. They see things through the prism of motivating a player. They see things with an eye on the future. They see things after watching and studying game tape.

Well, we cannot account for the part about motivation and the future agenda.

But we all watch the games. We can look at the All-22 tape available on the Internet. And thanks to ProFootballFocus.com, we have the ability to see grades from a tape study of games from eyes with no agenda.

And that's why I was kind of curious on Tuesday when Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was asked about the play of Olivier Vernon. Vernon, Miami's starting right end, didn't really factor in the Cleveland game because Joe Thomas generally erased him from view. And although he didn't play a renown tackle against Indianapolis, he only collected an assisted tackle and half-a-sack against the Colts.

That's not a lot of production so far. And judging that limited production, Philbin said this:

“I think he’s doing a good job," Philbin said. "I don’t see the same things. He’s playing hard. He’s playing sound. I think he’s improving. I see some good things. Obviously we anticipate there will be more production as the season goes on. We think he’s giving us a good effort and has played well."

Quick Dolphins In Depth quiz: Mando has said many times there is activity and accomplishment. Do they equal each other?

Answer: Activity does not equal accomplishment.

Any NFL player can play hard. I'd say a majority do. But that is merely activity. To win, one must accomplish something. On defense, one must tackle, or sack, or intercept, or fumble cause, or fumble recover, or gobble blockers to create opportunities for teammates.

Playing hard is good but playing hard without accomplishing at least one of those is just activity.

And the reason I bring this up is because witnessing the games and using the tape grades from PFF, it's obvious Vernon isn't doing a whole lot while other Dolphins defensive ends are producing more with fewer opportunities.

To wit:

Vernon is the No. 48 rated defensive end in the NFL, per ProFootballFocus. He's had 84 pass rush snaps in two games and managed five total pressures and that .5 sack. He has that assisted tackle in the two games combined.

Miami also has the No. 3 rated defensive end in the NFL, per ProFootballFocus ... Expected right? Well, not so fast. That No. 3 rated player is not Cameron Wake.

It's Derrick Shelby.

(Wake, with 2.5 sacks and six QB hits, is the No. 17 rated defensive end, according to PFF).

But I digress.

Back to Shelby ... He is a backup for Miami. He has only 20 pass rush snaps in two games. And in that short amount of playing time he has three solo tackles, an assist, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. Those are official statistics from the Dolphins. PFF also credits him with four total QB pressures.

So Shelby has some 60 fewer snaps than Vernon but much, much more producton.

“He’s very technically sound, a very good fundamental football player," Philbin said of Shelby. "He keeps his shoulders square. He has his hands where they are supposed to be. He’s smart and instinctive. He’s done a really nice job. I really like what he’s done."

Well, yeah!

The question is if OV is producing at his current rate and Shelby is producing at his rate, how long before Shelby starts getting more opportunities?

Furthermore, rookie Dion Jordan is also doing more with less. Jordan also has 20 total pass rush snaps and has two tackles, a sack, and three total pressures. He is the No. 13 rated defensive end in ProFootballFocus's ratings.

Now, I understand limiting Jordan the last couple of games. He's still coming back from that shoulder issue, he's catching up after missing much of the preseason, and he's a raw, young player that needs grooming.

But how long will he and Shelby be allowed to bang on the door of the starting job before someone answers? And even if you don't want to upset the order of things with Vernon as the starter, how long can the Dolphins continue to give more plays to a less productive player?

These are important questions this week because the Atlanta Falcons have the ability to throw the football about as well as anyone in the NFL. But they also offer the grand opportunity to give up sacks and strip sacks and possibly scores because both their offensive tackles are, in a word, atrocious in pass blocking so far this season.

In other words, the Dolphins will have opportunities to hit quarterback Matt Ryan on Sunday.

A lot. 

So do they give those opportunities to a player who has produced less so far? Or do they give more opportunities to players who are so far earning more snaps but not getting them?   


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pujo great teams also know how to replace great players from within when the are at their biggest monetary value point which usually coincides with their start of production drop off. You can't keep everyone.

Starting Starks off the bench could be seen as a way to drive down his value to the rest of the league by giving him less snaps to prove himself. Or it could be because he missed OTAs and is behind Odrick, but I wouldn't believe that.

The real Football heads realize the Dolphins have a complete team. We aren't a team that relies on 1 particular unit to win a game.

We are still 1 year away from completing the Rebuilding process. But I will tell you this I am Happier with year 2 of coach Philbin, than Year 2 of Spo. I can see the Potential.

This is the best 2nd year team a Dolphins coach has had in a long time.

I said it all last year & I'll say it again, Vernon showed NOTHING last year to give people all the optimism they had for him.

He had a couple of mop up sacks as a result of Wakes pressure & 1 sack when he was completely unblocked.

With that said, Shelby plays limited snaps & doesn't play the entire game. He should produce in his limited reps, often times in preditcable situations.

With that said, EVERYONE knows Vernon is just keeping the seat warm for Jordan. As long as Vernon isn't making mistakes, let him play & keep Shelby fresh for those obvious passing downs.

I have no issues with Vernon starting, Shelby getting key limited reps & Jordan being groom as the eventual full time player. If you ask me, that's how it should be!

The team just needs to keep building and not let units get stale. Keep competition going all through the roster with younger players vying for playing time. And jettison the stop gap players (Trusnick).

..Dashi..good points @ 10:17

One more point about respect..Lets see what happens if when we win this week. Dusty mentioned it, and it is a great point. Then the Monday night game becomes a little more hyped. We probably get the attention that some feel we are getting slighted. We will see how the rest of the country feels as the rating will tell the truth...After all that is what drives ESPN. Now I know Buffalo isn't driving the meters(but they barely talk about the Bills..4-1 Miami stuff over Buffalo)..

When this team becomes interesting, it will become relevant. To the national media

I think the talking heads have given us a little more respect. Honestly its no huge deal. The hype train will be full speed ahead if we beat Atlanta though. Especially if the Saints beat the Cardinals.

3-0 vs 3-0 on Monday Night Football? There would definitley be some hype for that game.

I think we can beat Atlanta. I didn't before the season started, but everything is going our way. Steven Jackson, their fullback, Weatherspoon, and Bierman are all out. Roddy White is banged up (40 yards total in 2 games) and we are at home.

Its all gonna come down to how much pressure the team can get on Matty Ice. Grimes is great, but Julio is gonna get some production I think. We might have to win in a shootout. Go Fins !

I think it's important Dolphins get attention because EVERYONE deserves the Dolphins in their life. We need to be like the Mormons, and start spreading the word. WE have the answer to a full life, and it's the MIAMI DOLPHINS! We need to preach it, so everyone feels the sunshine. WE are the TRUE Americas Team (no apostrophe to include our brethren to the North and South). Let our voices sing!

We were picked to win the Superbowl when Saban was coach. All kinds of media attention. Where did that get us? I don't even want to think about media attention. All that does is drive up the price of players the team has developed.

Maybe even trade bait for a 3-4 team starved for a beast NT...makes for an interesting scenario...

NeMo us playing the Falcons at home in the heat is a huge advantage. We all know how Ryan plays in the domes, but outside he's not as productive.

..DC @10:27...You had me until Mormons. Mormons??? Really? Do we ride our bikes with Wake Jerseys(I would still rock my Lex Hilliard) knocking on doors to spread the gosphel? Is Philbin our supreme leader?(I think he was originally from New York too, imagine the holy playbook) Do we get to drink coffee, and eat soup? Finally..How many wives do we get? (I don't know why you would want more then one..But hey jesus says its cool so if helps spread the word of the Phins..Who Am I to doubt?)..

Darkoak, we already are playing with house money. We beat Atlanta and watch how aggressive a game plan we have going into New Orleans. Miami at 3-0 and our weapons on both sides of the ball is a scary proposition for our opponents - we will have nothing to lose.

Nice post Von

dusty, no doubt winning is paramount but too often I heard people getting paid to opine go out fo their way to pizz on everything the team did this summer. Now they should eat the shite ... i want them to take it back.. this is my team and I want it respected and central to the big games played on the weekend like it used to be.

And yeah, like Jay Z said, I have 99 problems ...

DD, up here I don't get ESPN radio unless it's on my phone or through the computer and that's not allowed at work. Wish it was but I don't have the privacy of my own office as office space is quite scarce in Downtown Toronto... So I just see what the monkey crew on game days says

But you're right as dusty is ... winning is paramount.

As far as EJ Manuel and the Bills ... not impressed.

DD, one wife is more than enough ... now if we are talking girlfriends ....

I really don't care much for media hype. Winning under the radar is much more satisfying to me. National attention will come soon enough, but for now I would much rather our team win quietly. We as fans know their potential and they know their potential, so who cares what everyone else thinks? Just keep winning!

DJ is the future face of this team, his snap count should increase by the week. hopefully he's in full swing by the time we meet the Pats.

These next 2 games are great benchmarks for this team. They will show how great we can be THIS SEASON. I don't see the Ravens as a challenge. Never have. Since the off season. The Ravens lack leadership. Flacco can't win a game by himself. Heck, he can't win a game by leading an Offense.

Flacco has 15 comebacks for his career. 10 of them were won by a Field goal. So he has only really lead his team to 5 comebacks in my book. And out of those 5, 4 were probably won by R.Lewis stopping the other team on the last drive.

FLACCO IS THE MOST OVERPAID QB IN THE NFL. I would say Overrated. But everyone except Ravens' Fans know Flacco sucks.

cant think that way mark if u really want to become something this season

DD, Mormons are good at proselytizing. And HECK NO to 2 wives. That's too much jabbering through Dolphins games!

Whenever you try to replace an aging veteran, timing is everything. First, you need to be sure that you have someone replacing him of atleast the same caliber. In my opinion Oderick is nice but not the same caliber as Starks. Money always has to be apart of the equation but it can't be the first and most important part of it, espececially when you are just starting to build something special. Don't anticipate a players demise because he had a birthday wait until you actually start to see some signs. Players are different. look how long Darrel Green, Rhonde Barber, Brett Favre and Charles Haley played at a high level. (just to name a few). Jeff Ireland shouldn't overthink some of these things or we will be in a continuous state of rebuilding. With a great salary cap, draft pics galore, and young players full of potential and no championships. I'd like to see the Dolphins win championships! You need a few probowl veterans to lead that talent and youth.

True story about Dashi and the Mormons.

When I was young about 13 or 14. My cousin wanted me to join his churches basketball team. (He had just join the Church of Jesus Christ and latter day saints.) So I went to one of the meetings. They hit me with that if I wanted to play I had to go to their church about 2 times per week(They go to church at least 3 times a week) for service. And that the way the kids pay for the league is by selling flowers on the Street.

I was use to playing in leagues that you just pay the first fee and play. None of this extracurricular stuff.

Nevertheless, when I got home and explained this to my parents they just laughed and asked me if I was still joining. I told them I was almost thinking about it until they said you would go more to church than to practice. Plus, it was going to cut to much into my baseball time.

Another observation I made from the Cult of Mormonism is that they separate the Boys and the Girls. Something about impure thoughts and all that junk. Another No No in Young Dashi's Book.

I'm open to any religion. But after I saw the Hypocrisy that is the Cult of Mormons. Dashi had to go to his church that Sunday and ask the father for forgiveness.

I prefer being Catholic. We only really have to go to church once a year. For Easter. And they don't make you sell flowers for the lord.

Giving a bunch of players over 30 long term deals is a good way to find yourself in cap heck.

Look at baltimore, they were not hampered by the Flacoo contract, it's the Suggs and Ngata contracts that are killing them ... $25M in cap space between them two...

New post up Dbaggers...

Could be this or could be that. My thought was maybe Philbin is giving Vernon the benefit of doubt...maybe he'll pick up the pace. I try not to over value stats but production is what it's all about and if Shelby continues to impress, Philbin will have to start him.


Everything you said about Shelby are things we said about Vernon last year. Ranked high in limited time, he makes a play whenever he's on the field, blah blah blah. Now he's in a starting position, and he's not playing so well. Know what that tells me? It tell me the coaches knew what they were doing when they put him in on plays that play to their strengths.

Do you honestly think Derrick Shelby is the #4 defensive end in the NFL? Or do you think he's been put in on plays that would allow him to maximize his abilities?

Why are people compairing Shelby and Vernon. They play two different positions. Shelby plays right defensive end. Vernon plays left defensive end. Maybe Shelby is at hs best on the right side just like Wake who only plays on the right side. Putting a person out of his natural position does not always work.

Tannehill is not the best QB on the team and he starts too. Philbin lies.

Posted by: NUFF SAID | September 17, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Matt Moore has NEVER beaten a team with a winning record. No unless you mean pat devlin?

Not sure Mundo noticed but Shelby plays LDE almost exclusively. He gives Wake a breather. Maybe he can play RDE but he hasn't to date. I don't think Jordan is ready for an every down role but he should be getting more reps at LDE than he has so far!

Even if we were to lose Sunday in a very close game that will still show team improvement. If we win, then we can be proud of the team, and have a real good year, and screw the talking heads, they get paid to push certain teams, one major poll had 8 teams ahead of the Dolphins, and they had at least one lose each, so much for you are what your record reads Bill

"So Shelby has some 60 fewer snaps than Vernon but much, much more producton [sic]."

The problem is that this is comparing apples to oranges: while Vernon has played more or less as much as the OL he's facing, Shelby is facing them after coming fresh off the bench and they've already played awhile. IOW, Shelby's production might be partially due to Vernon softening them up. Furthermore, if Shelby is playing in more obvious passing situations, that would favor him as well. While you're correct that production is important, stats alone don't tell the whole story.

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