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Bills bring sacks, Dolphins offer improved protection

The enduring picture the Dolphins should have of their first meeting with the Buffalo Bills this year is of defensive end Mario Williams beating offensive tackle Tyson Clabo for a sack, stripping the football, and having it recovered by teammate Kevin Williams at the Dolphins 34 yard line.

A few plays later the Bills kicked a game winning field goal.

The sack sticks in the memory for both teams. The sack also speaks to that which has at times defined both teams.

The Dolphins have allowed an NFL high 51 sacks this season. Those sacks have accounted for 353 lost yards, multiple fumbles and something far more lasting: Those sacks have put the Dolphins on the verge of breaking the franchise record for sacks allowed in one season.

That number is 53 sacks allowed in 1969.

The Bills' defense, on the other hand, leads the NFL with 49 sacks. Buffalo has four players with at least eight sacks and Mario Williams leads that charge with 12. He is merely 2.5 sacks short of setting his own career best in tormenting of the quarterback.

So that's where the Dolphins offensive line and Buffalo defensive line will find themselves initially on Sunday. Buffalo's strength against Miami's weakness.

Bad, right?

But there is hope for the Dolphins. The offensive line the Bills faced in that first game Oct. 6 is gone. Changed. Kaput.

The left guard is different. The left tackle is different. And while the right tackle remains the same, he's playing like a different guy. The Dolphins were allowing 4.4 sacks per game on average before, with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin and the early-season Tyson Clabo in the lineup.

They are allowing 2.6 sacks on average with Sam Brenner/Nate Garner and Bryant McKinnie and a resurrected Clabo in the lineup.

So has quarterback Ryan Tannehill noticed? Does he feel more comfortable in the pocket now?

“Yes, I think so," he said Wednesday. " It’s natural I think when you’re being protected more, being given a little more time. Building that confidence, receivers knowing that I’m going to have an extra half second, second, whatever it may be. Myself, feeling comfortable to go through second and third read, maybe not having to force it to that first guy. It plays a big part in our offense.”

There has been no better change in direction than Clabo. He yielded eight sacks and 19 hurries his first six games this season. Then the Dolphins traded for McKinnie who moved in as the left tackle and Martin moved over to right tackle for one week.

Clabo was benched in the first meeting against New England.

Well, a week later Martin was AWOL and the Dolphins turned back to Clabo. And in the seven games since going back in the lineup, Clabo has yielded three sacks and nine hurries -- meaning he's basically cut his sacks and hurries allowed by more than half.

"He’s not getting beat obviously and he’s run blocking well to go along with good pass blocking," Tannehill said. " Obviously, I don’t know O-line fundamentals but he’s keeping guys away from me and he’s doing a great job of that."

So what does this all mean?

The Bills will undoubtedly be the most difficult opponent the Miami offensive line faces this year if they want to keep Tannehill upright. But it also means the Bills would be mistaken if they think they'll be facing the same Miami offensive line they faced last time.


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FIRE ROSS. Angry this morning... Mommy burn your pop tart?

Hopefully they stack the box and make Thad beat them. Probably the best bet.

Offense has been much better protecting the ball lately. If they keep that up they should be able to win this one. Thad should be good a for a pick or two.

FIRE ROSS, If you find "ridiculous" "delusions" so amusing, what does that say about your mental makeup?

Can't make friends so you try to make people feel bad instead. So sad.

Lacey would have been awesome for us. GB runs pretty much the same offense the Phins run. I saw alot of the same plays being run by them, that we do. GB's offensive line isn't that great, but probably a bit better than ours. Man, he was breaking tackles, dragging tacklers with him, and was surprising fast for someone his size. He was picked at 61. 61!!!Meanwhile, our 2nd rd. pick, and even 1st rd. pick, have done almost nothing this year. Is this not proof that GM's really do not pick BPA, but more for need? No one can tell me Jamar Taylor is BPA over Lacey. And he wasn't during the time leading up to the draft either.


I think lacy had some character concerns. Also, they take into account that the last few Alabama rbs have been busts in the nfl.

If Sherman remains committed to the run it will keep their Defense guessing and that will be the biggest benefit to THILL and the team's ability to score enough to win.

Similarly, we need Coyle to stay focused on stopping the Bill's running game. I know our DB's are banged up and he may be worried about their ability to defend the pass. But honestly I would be much more worried about CJ Spiller than this 2nd string backup QB.

Mass Dolphan it is hard for me to disagree with the picks we made. I am so impressed with the progress we have made as a team. Our last two drafts have made us a much better team. It is hard to argue with success.

But we can still wonder, what if.......

Also I think everyone was expecting more of a breakout year from Miller. He has played well at times, but not what people were hoping for. Don't know how much of that you put on him vs the OL. Obviously the running game has been much better since Incog/Sandy V stopped playing.

yea commonsense ive been a little disappointed with miller. He looks more like a third down back to me. He doesn't take hits very well for a guy his size. He also doesn't break many tackles. I like his explosiveness though.

Bust out a few more read options to get the d guessing and back on their heels. .

Please do not start talking about WE HAVE TO RUN THE BALL.

We are a passing team. We can not get to the second level run blocking. Getting stuffed 6 or 7 times in a row and then gaining 40 means 3 or 4 three and outs and then a field goal. It does not work, we tried it. Over and over and over..

I think buffalo is going to be squatting on the slant routes. Id like to see the fins throw some slant and gos this game.

Thanks FIRE ROSS we were on pins and needles waiting for your input.

Tumbleweeds as Daytona rants...

MassD, Jamar Taylor was the best CB in the draft. There was plenty of reason to pick him.

he was Mark but the reason he fell was the kidney disorder he has. Its really hard on him because I heard he is unable to take any medicine to alleviate swelling due to the disorder. It makes his injuries linger much longer. Lets hope he gets better with an offseason conditioning program.

Yeah, I think we can see Miller is not a feature back. There are some games when he's on and there are others where he's just burning downs. ON thsoe days it would be nice to have a viable option to turn to.

Hey Mark, where is your douchebag buddy Craig Moron? Did Armando make him feel bad and send him crying to his mommy like that puss Martin?

Yeah, unfortuantely slam it's a burned year for Jamar. But hopefuly he heals up, gets himself in order and turns heads next year. he definitely has the skills. A supreme cover guy with awesome strength for the position and likes to hit. Would be a good player if he can get his health right.

So, Mark. Do we give the ball to Tannehill like New Orleans and Denver give it to Brees and Manning? Or do we continue to try to make him a game manager?

Haha, Daytona, that was weak.

EK, Tannehill hasn't been a game manager all year. he's been the focal point of the offense averaging 37 pass attempts a game where the league average is 33. If we go anywhere as a team this year and going forward it will be on his arm, legs, and brain. All of which look good to me.

MIT, Taylor best CB in the draft? Was it his durability concerns that made him that? The draft publication I have has him as the 8th best CB in the draft. Not sure where you came up with that one.

I agree on Miller not being a feature back and we need one to make this offense click. Thomas is not that guy either and Gillislee has not shown me anything.
There are some beastly RB's in next years draft and I vote we take on with our first pick.
Without a real running game the rest of the offense never gets going and no one what Tannehill throwing for 40+ attempts a game.

Draft a true feature RB next year and watch this offense blossom.

Folks last night I played a little troll game to see if MARCO was also "Daytona". He was killing MIT and Bill and the writing seemed familiar....MARCO ADMITTED to being "Daytona"...here is the post:

Thats it MIT, you got me. I would like to set the record straight and confirm that I Marco am all of these others too.

Im also Armando, Dave Hyde and Greg Cote too, I would have got away with it, if it wasn't for those pesky kids MIT, Greg and Bill A, ha ha, my friend!!!

Posted by: Marco | December 18, 2013 at 07:31 PM

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/12/marrone-thad-lewis-to-start-vs-miami-dolphins/comments/page/4/#comment-form#storylink=cpytart-vs-miami-dolphins/comments/page/4/#comments#storylink=cpy

Eddie Lacy was the top RB in the draft. But you see, Ireland is still in love with Daniel Thomas. That is why he was not drafted. He drafted for need, not BPA.
But I've said enough on that subject. Time to move on to this weekend's game. This team has given me a coronary the last 2 games. Hoping for a blowout at Buffalo as they have nothing to play for and we have everything to play for. A loss would be pretty devastating as then we'd need help to make the playoffs.

I will not beat this like a dead horse but I wanted you guys especially MIT, Craig, phins78, darryld, Marc and DC to know that when this blog gets annihilated by a troll that Marco is responsible for much of this garbage. If you care to look it occurred after MIT left between 6 and 8pm on last blog. The proof is there. Peace.

Dolphins 1969 oline allowed franchise high 53 sacks in "14 GAME SEASON".

Through 14 games, the 2013 Dolphins oline has allowed 51 SACKS. So, for the record, comparing 14 games for 14 games, it's impossible for this version of our oline to break that record.

A 14 game season vs a 16 game season is virtually incomparable.

Wasnt the knock on Lacey, that he had numerous injuries and already has so much wear and tear on his body already? He is good, but he wont be in the league for more than 5 years. His body will break down. Also heard that he doesnt take the best care of his body

MassD, what draft publication do you use, because I get some wildly different projections than you do.

Personally, I use a combination of ESPn Scouts Inc., Walter Camp, and CBS sportsline. From there I personally measure and compare each players' results from the current year and compare all of their measureables from the combine/pro day.

From mixing up all these things and putting them in a blender, the results said that Jamar Taylor was the best bet. Not scientific, but what exactly from the draft process is?

So when I say he's the best, it is subjective. But I'm not being a homer here as you can go back to teh blogs weeks leading up to the draft and I trumpeted Jamar Taylor way back then. I remember having discussions with Odin about him too.

Marco we know you are YG, Daytona, Ape Tamer, Oliver, CadillacDeVille , TGH , FIRE ROSS KILL MARTIN JAIL POUNCEY , HEAT WORLD CHAMPS, M is for Moron, Zonk , Dagnel , Hypocrites, Confirmed, Poops, deity, Buffalo Bill A Wipe, Man to Man, Gay Lovers

Posted by: Greg | December 18, 2013 at 07:19 PM

Thats it MIT, you got me. I would like to set the record straight and confirm that I Marco am all of these others too.

Im also Armando, Dave Hyde and Greg Cote too, I would have got away with it, if it wasn't for those pesky kids MIT, Greg and Bill A, ha ha, my friend!!!

Posted by: Marco | December 18, 2013 at 07:31 PM

rdubs, his combine results also were not good which I think hurt his draft status. You can believe in these measureables or not - each side has valid reasons but personally I do (big surprise since I'm a numbers guy).

personally, as far as big backs go, I only liked two of them that were touted - Christine Michael and Leveon Bell - both of whom went in the 2nd round to Seattle and Pitt respectively.

The fins are catching another big break in the weather. 50 degrees by game time with a slight chance of rain. Every other day is 30 degrees or colder.

To set the record straight, if the 1969 oline allowed the franchise record 53 SACKS in a 14 GAME season. Then how can the 2013 Dolphins break that record after now REGISTERING only 51 SACKS after 14 GAMES in 2013?

Impossible right?

That's like saying in future seasons the NFL moves to a 20 GAME regular season, it will still be judged by what a team did in a 16 game regular season.

So, at the end of the day, no matter what you want to MANIPULATE the record book to say. It does not necessarily make it fully true, right?

This means at worst, this is the SECOND WORST pass protect oline in Fins history. Through 14 GAMES 1969 = 53 SACKS, 2013 = 51 SACKS, right guys?


Thats ok, we can just draft Tre Mason with our first pick this year!!! I think that kid is gonna be special. I dont usually get into to college athletics. But this kid has grabbed my attention

The Bills game is actually a Godsend, in terms of great playoff tuneup. The Bills are certainly one of the better pass rush opponents in the league.

So, they certainly give us a preview of how well would this current oline be able to protect Ryan Tannehill should we make the playoffs.

If we can adequately protect him against one of the league's best, Bills pass rush, we should be able to adequately protect him against any we face in the playoffs.

Mark, I agree that when we get behind and need him in the two minute drill they have to trust him. But if we get a little lead they take the ball away from him. That is why we never get a decent lead.

Wouldn't you like to see them turn him loose on 3 or 4 straight possessions? We know he can do it. I am tired of being in v-fib at the end of games.

Taylor probably fell from the first round to the 2nd because of the kidney disorder. I loved the pick at the time and still think he can be a really good player.

I think Lacy slipped to 61 because of the Ingram/Richardson bust factor, out of shape and slow at combine, injury issues and had a lot of carries.

Miller/Thomas have been ok behind a decent to best line. Miller has 4.0 YPC and 2 TDs. Miller also has 25 catches out of the backfield. He has 794 total yards.

Thomas has 460 total yards and raised YPC up to 4.1 with the Steelers game. He actually has 6 total TDs on the season which is not bad.

Thigpen also has had some nice screen plays for us.

So our backs are decent, but not great. I wouldn't sign one in FA and would only draft one if they are the best player available. I think Miller/Thomas would take a big step up with a better O-line which I would focus on building.

Mark, thanks for the weather report. One thing though, we're Americans bro, we don't know what 7mm looks like. We do inches. So when you're on the sex chat line, telling a chick how big (or little) your Johnson is, do you use millimeters? Just having the "mm" behind a number makes it sound small. Like 1,000 mm sounds like you need a microscope to see it (I studied science, I know it's about 40", but my point is it just "sounds" small). I'd personally prefer to use km. So like .0002 km. Just sounds better than millimeters.

You metric system weirdos.


I measure my pen!s using mm. Makes me feel better about myself and I start measuring at the taint LMAO

So, I for one, will pay great attention to how this CURRENT VERSION of our oline is able to protect Tannehill Sunday. They will not face any better pass rush opponent in the entire playoffs.

marco should get an Oscar

rdubs, If Mr. Ross hears that Tre Mason's dad was a rap star (member of De la Soul), he will trade the whole draft a la Ricky to get this kid and then market the crap out of him, haha.

Seriously tho, good player but at 205 lbs, that worries me a bit unless he puts up some crazy sub 4.3 speed or something - otherwise he looks like another Lamar Miller with more strength.

So the Bills have this great pass rush, yet they are eliminated from the playoffs and have given up 354 points....worst in the AFC East.
Meanwhile, our defense has only yielded 296 points...best in the AFC East.

Stop talking about the Bills great defense (which is clearly not great) and start focusing on our defense that has only allowed one 30+ point game all season (Saints).

We win easily.

EK, the one reason I beleive they try to reign him in a bit is because 1- our o line and 2 - ovver the course of the year he's been prone to turning the ball over. For the year he averages a turnover 4.4% of the times he drops back - the league average is 4.0%. Now that being said over his last four games he's only turned the ball over 1.9% of the time he drops back which is amazing and speaks to the imrpovement both within himself and the o-line. Is that enough reason for the coaching staff to give him a bit more rope? We shall see.


I would only snag a RB if he was a player that was a gamechanger/playmaker. I'm also not sold on Miller or Thomas, but I don't think the argument is done on either, necessarily either. Thomas impressed me his rookie year outside of the fumbles, and he's showing more confidence and pop this year in the latter parts of the season. Miller isn't blowing me away, but I've seen him run in-between the tackles a little bit more with confidence and definitely I appreciate his overall speed (just need him to occasionally break a tackle or atleast lean forward for 2-3 extra yards). I don't think anyone could make a definite determination on Gillislee b/c he simply hasn't been given enough snaps yet (honestly, I would love for him to get a shot though).

The benefit of our team right now is that we have players in every position on offense and defense that are serviceable and capable (biggest concerns coming from an aging Tackle in McKinnie (depth at T too), possibly Guard play from John Jerry on offense, and Wheeler's weaknesses in coverage). Given our balance, That we can survey the draft and solely look for playmakers at any/every position to give our team a potential upgrade, including but not restricted to RB. We're still incredibly young with a lot of players entering their prime. Provided we play FA well, the Dolphins have a bright future ahead of them.

marco should get an Oscar

Posted by: 2 watt | December 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

or a straight jacket for a total nut job

ape tamer is nasty
he doesn't like odin

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | December 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

1. I'm not suggesting they have a great defense, undeniably they have one of the league's best pass rushes.

2. The Bills have a BOTTOM-FEEDER offense. You need much more than one of the league's better pass rushes to overcome this.

3. I only suggested the Bills pass rush can be used as ruler to measure how well this oline would be able to protect Ryan Tannehill should we make the playoffs.

So, if you see anything wrong with this, I'm sorry it tookso little to offend you.

Last week Terrell Davis on NFL network was laughing when asked if he thought the Fins could beat the Pats..

HAHA Davis, such an ass. You lost to Marino in the Madden NFL challenge also dickhead.


Haha, DC, I think it's time the USA catches up with everyone else in the world and goes metric!

Just joking - some part of metric still confuses me - like weight - I speak specifically in pounds - tell me kg, and i'm doing math in my head to convert.

However, with weather, Fahrenheit is completely meaningless to me, I'm all Celcius. 30 degrees to me is a hot, hot day.

I try to convert as much as possible guess instead of 15mm, I should've told you 1.5cm and considering there is 30cm to a foot ... 0.6 inches of rain.

wally are you sure he was laughing or just trying to speak english?

ape tamer is nasty
he doesn't like odin

Posted by: 2 watt | December 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM

when the dolphins win it seems that the looney bin empties out around 6pm to 11pm if the dolphins lose it seems like they are here all day. too bad mandy cant clean it up. its only maybe 2 losers

Yeah for all of our issues with the defense they come up big when it matters most. They are very good when it comes to the red zone, allowing points, and turnovers.

Its not the quite the top 5 dominant D that I was hoping for at the start of the year, but its still helping us win games.

way to make yourself feel better rdubs. Also you can round up (if it hits that first tick mark after the number, then round up to the next number.

greg,armando wants the blog hits

its not the size of the ship but the motion of the ocean

mark and others where r u'r seats
we'll l00k 4 u?

Posted by: 2 watt | December 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

why? they don't get money for blog hits and herald advertisers go by circulation and subscription numbers

Sam....I was not responding specifically to your post but was rather making a general observation about the Bills defense. Pass rush is a strength for that unit, but as a unit they also give up a lot of points.

One cannot live on pass rush alone but will admit it was their pass rush that won the game back in Oct. with the strip sack of Tannehill.


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