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Dolphins vs. Steelers: PFF and Salguero review

Yesterday was perhaps the longest travel day of my career. (Using Chicago's O'Hare as a connection hub in December and counting on Farm Mule Airlines American Eagle as the connector is a bad idea, folks). I was, however, home by midnight.

Anyway, the folks at ProFootballFocus.com got the film review of the Dolphins stirring victory over Pittsburgh to me early this week. And I'll add insight where I can as usual.

Here we go:

First let me say that in Mike Wallace's first game against his former team there was lots of pregame hugs and cheer. And the Pittsburgh defense paid much attention to Wallace. While he caught only two passes for 19 yards, he affected the game.

Take, for example, the six-yard TD from Ryan Tannehill to Charles Clay in the second quarter. Clay was all alone in the right corner of the end zone. Know why?

Wallace, who had lined up on the right side as usual, ran an in-cut and not only was he doubled but actually and without exageration five Steelers defenders -- FIVE -- zoned him up in the middle of the field to keep him contained.

That left Clay uncovered for the easy throw by Tannehill.

Obviously it was a defensive bust. But it spoke to the unseen (in the statistics) effect Wallace can have on a defense.


RB Lamar Miller outsnapped Daniel Thomas 20-10 before leaving. Thomas played all but one snap after Miller left with a concussion.

Nate Garner started, but played just 16 snaps. Sam Brenner played 48 snaps at left guard.

Salguero: It seems Brenner is mounting something of a push for the starting job outright. He has been something of an epiphany this season -- a rookie undrafted free agent -- making the suspension of Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito seem of no effect.

Despite seeing just two targets, Rishard Matthews played 43 snaps. The Dolphins still prefer their 11 personnel above anything else.

It was another short passing day for Ryan Tannehill. On passes over 10 yards, he was 3-for-8, while on all other passes, he was 17-for-25.

Tannehill didn’t handle pressure very well, going just 1-of-8 and getting sacked twice when either blitzed or under pressure.

Daniel Thomas performed well, but the Steelers’ defense weren’t really touching him. Just 29 of 105 yards came after contact.

When Brian Hartline moved into the slot and worked on slot corner William Gay, he caught all 3 of his targets for 32 yards.

Clay caught passes against Lawrence Timmons, Troy Polamalu, Cortez Allen, Ike Taylor, and Will Allen. He also had that wide open TD.


Dmitri Patterson returned from his groin injury to play 12 snaps. Nolan Carroll started but did get a couple of series off in the first half.

Phillip Wheeler had his fifth game with a grade of -3.0 or worse this season.

Cameron Wake continued his run of good play now that he’s fully healthy. He tallied, four hurries, a hit, and one sack.

The Dolphins did not exclusively use Brent Grimes to shadow Antonio Brown. However, Grimes still excelled in the matchup, allowing two catches for 18 yards on four targets.

Jared Odrick peeled off the line of scrimmage and was in coverage on Jerricho Cotchery’s TD catch.

Salguero: Interesting zone blitz idea but not a good matchup in coverage.

Finally a bit of news: The Dolphins are signing safety Michael Thomas to the roster today. They lost R.J. Stanford for the rest of the season to an ankle injury on Sunday. Thomas was on the 49ers practice squad and is a rookie from Stanford.


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Brenner!!! I have no idea why this guy was graded so poorly going into the draft. Good size, lots of esperience and EXCELLENT athleticism. Personally, I measured his test results a smidge below Justin Pugh who was a first round pick of the Giants.

He may be a starter come next year if he continues this push!

That would be nice,MIT. We wouldn't have to use a draft pick or spend a crazy amount of dough on a free agent LG. As a bonus, the kid went undrafted,so the Fins have him on the WAY cheap.

If Brenner is next years starter, that will make a huge difference. As of a few weeks ago, we were looking at having 1 returning starter on the offensive line. Oh damn, now we will only have 2 returning starters LOL I think they should re-sign Mckinnie, even though they voided next years contract already :(

Ireland finds another acorn in Brenner. Not proclaiming him to be a starter. But it would be nice to know we have 2 maybe 3 starters on the line going into the Off season. If we can have our Left Side settled going into the Off season. Jim Turner has done his F'ing Job. Definitely after having 1 guy quit and the other one get suspended.

P.Wheeler has 102 Tackles. I just don't see it on the field.

I would like to see more of Jenkins or D.Jordan at LB. The Fins Need to draft a LB this offseason. A guy that can rotate with Ellerbe and Wheeler for playing time, until he replaces them in a few years. A guy that can cover. Jenkins is pretty good. But we need at least 1 more LB that we can develop.

Rdubs, was his contract voided? I thought that was up 2 Mckinnie,if he wanted to void it after the trade or not. I'm not sure.


Mutual void. So a chance he comes back, I think his cap number was too high.

the open TD to Clay was sweet...so nice to see an "easy" TD for the Dolphins...they are so few and far between.

Dashi, I think I am the only one who thinks we are arse deep in linebackers. I see jenkins as a guy who can play all three LB positions, Misi is still there, Jordan should be getting a LOT more snaps at LB and probably would have this week if Gronk was healthy. It's not that we don't have enough LBs, it's just that Wheeler gets WAAAAY to many snaps. perhaps trying to justify the contract?

That's because Wheeler't tackles are usually 5 to 10 yards down the field. For every acorn, Ireland signs 5 bums.

I'm overjoyed that the Dolphins are holding it together and playing well. But if they stumble into the playoffs and get ousted like a lot of pundits expect, it just shows how ignorant Ross is for keeping Ireland around. I would point to this year's draft where the majority of players can't even sniff the field. How easily some of us forget when they sting together a couple of wins. And we were about an inch from blowing it on a freak play.

The Fins won't have to spend $5M on Incognito or a replacement at LG. They can use that money on McKinnie. J.Martin was a 2nd rd pick so he won't be a big cap hit either. Plus, the league should give us an exemption. And I'm pretty sure Ireland made sure J.Martin signed one of those Aponte contracts.

We know that Tannehill gets instant pressure when he drops back but instead of praising him for his quick decisions, we complain that he doesn't complete long passes.

It was obvious that Pittsburg's defense was trying to stop our passing game because we can't run. If you take out Tannehill's run and the 55 yarder by Thomas, they were right.

It was true at the beginning of the season and it is true now. We will only go as far as Tannehill takes us. I think he is up for it. But, he cannot win games if we don't give him the chance. Our last possession proves that.

Dashi, I don't understand how we can be on the hook for a player who quit. I mean, doesn't that terminate a contract. It would make no sense to me if that were the case.


We have Talent at LB. Agreed the fins should rotate them more. Wheeler gets way to many snaps. He is our smallest LB. Jenkins will be a pretty good LB but he still needs another season to develop. D.Jordan would make a Great OLB. Specially, with Wake and OV at DE. Jordan needs to find other ways to see the field.

We still need 1 more LB that we can develop to replace Wheeler or Ellerbe. A guy that can run sideline to sideline and is a Tackling Machine. A smart MLB that can cover.

Jenkins is only 21 years old. Like Vernon was last year. Talk about potential!!

I like our LB's but it sure wouldn't hurt to find someone like Lee that Dallas has.

EK, Dashi, I agree that jenkins has a bright, bright future here. I always point to athleticism and I know that rubs some people the wrong way but I like it as a measuring stick. But I compare Jenkins in ability to Sio Moore who i also liked that ended up with the Raiders and is having a fine rookie year. Like EK pointed out, we should see a big jump from year one to two. He is the natural replacement for Wheeler initially and perhaps eventually Ellerbe. Want a guy that can run sideline to sideline? jenkins runs a 4.54 at 243lbs... crazy impressive.

Jordan shoul be on the field at either OLB or De a lot more. I loved the NASCAR package we unveiled against Pitt that caused a tonne of havoc for Pitt in the 2 min drill. No need to blitz with those guys up there against a multiple WR set...

Who knows, maybe Mount Mckinnie comes back next year for a hometown discount.The dude loves to party. We have SoBe. The dude likes to eat. Their are a million and one restaurants in South Florida. The only problem is, instead of Roscoe's, he'll have to make due with Pollo Tropical.


Tannehill has to be better than Marino. Else he sucks for most Miami Dolphins' fans.

Never mind he is developing into a real good NFL QB in his Second Season. Just how Sherman wants. To develop from the pocket and allow T-Hill running be a part of the Offense and not THE Offense.


I forgot what they call it, but Ireland makes almost all the players sign a contract that allows him to cut them and he doesn't have to pay the rest of the signing bonus or something similar to that.

I believe this is what J.Martin was creating his master plan for. To be able to receive the rest of his signing bonus so he can retire with a couple million in his pockets. Reason they even tried to blame Ireland in this debacle.

P.Wheeler has 102 Tackles. I just don't see it on the field. Posted by: Dashi

That because most of his tackles are 5 or 10 yards down the field. Did you see the pass play that he got smoked on yesterday? For every Acorn that Ireland finds he sure knows how to find 3 bums.

I am overjoyed that the Fins are playing with heart down the stretch. But it makes it so easy to forgot how average this team still is.

So, as the world turns, the homers come out in full force. But the proof in the pudding is that most of Ireland's draft picks from 2012 can't even sniff the field. But Ross is so blind we will stuck with him another year.

I hope I'm wrong, but I see history repeat itself over and over until true change is put in place

I've been saying for a while now we should keep all the linemen we have on O for next year. Draft a couple of replacements for RI and LT, (only if the value picks are there).

Looking at the draft our D really needs help bigtime.

ILB and FS are too major concerns. It has been pointed out to me that Jones is playing in a new styke of D from last year ? However when he does arrive to the ball carrier his tackling has been sub par. Wheeler has been a massive disapointment. While Ellerbe is up and down.

Jenkins and Jordan maybe be better at OLB, so we really should go after a tackling machiene on our D. WE haven't had one since Dansby, who is now lighting up the NFL with his play.

As many of us thought LT would be the first need going into the draft, McKinnie may well give us one more year of service, while we develop a young T from the draft ? Clabo has also picked up his game. I guess like so many other positions the last three games will shape the direction of the 2014 draft.

Irescum has more busts than Dolly Parton!!!

Crazy as it seems, the Dolphins still have a mathematical chance to win the 2nd seed in the AFC and have a 1st round bye. A less than 1% pipe dream, I know.So all you trolls that read this, don't get all lathered up,talkin shyte. NO.1) I'm just stating a fact.

What would need to happen-
Dolphins would need to win out.
New England would have to lose out.
Cinci would have to lose 2 of 3.
Balt would have to lose 1 of 3.
Indy would have to lose 1 of 3.

Once again,trolls. I am stating FACT. I am not saying this is going to happen.

I must admit I was bad mouthing jimmy Wilson earlier this season even though I love his intensity, competitiveness and physicalness from the corner position. He has absoulutely shined lately. I want to see what he does this sunday vs patriots. Also, Nolan Carrol has balled out this year. If jones was playing like he did last year this would be the best secondary in the nfl including seatlle.

Irescum has more busts than Dolly Parton!!!

Posted by: Finman | December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

There's always gotta be some assshole that makes posts like this.
What a loser.

Amazing how much better the O-line is playing without Martin and Incognito. McKinney has been a great pick up at left tackle and Brenner/Garner are doing just fine. Not to metion that Clabo is playing like his old self when he was with Atlanta. I have high hopes that we can handle Brady and Co.this Sunday and then get a win in Buffalo. I can't see us getting caught with our pants down twice against the Bills. As for the stinkin Jets, just look at our last meeting in New York.

Now the negative, wheeler needs to pick his play up big time. He misses waaaaay to many tackles..i would rather see them bench him and put Jordan in at linebacker.

They shouldn't have to pay Martin his signing bonus since he left. However, I think to avoid a lawsuit they might just let him keep it. They are still paying him for this year. He will either be cut or traded before next, but I don't think another team would be dumb to trade for him.

His cap hit wasn't really an issue anyway since it was a 2nd round pick on the new wage scale. The team should save a small amount of cap money for cutting his dead weight though.

They shouldn't have to pay Martin his signing bonus since he left. However, I think to avoid a lawsuit they might just let him keep it. They are still paying him for this year. He will either be cut or traded before next, but I don't think another team would be dumb to trade for him.

His cap hit wasn't really an issue anyway since it was a 2nd round pick on the new wage scale. The team should save a small amount of cap money for cutting his dead weight though.

Marco, if Clabo and McKinney weren't as old as dirt you might be right. But this offense needs some quick O-linemen for the run game that Tannehill might need a couple of times per game[hah hah].

Bellichik will not be as stupid as the Steelers and put 5 guys on Wallace. New England will single cover Wallace this week and dare him to make some tough catches. I hope he surprises me but I doubt it. It is justice that our season comes down to our $60 million dollar man making some plays that require him to get tackled..

Which brings me to my point that we need a big tough receiver.

Sorry for the double post folks. It didn't come up for some reason originally.

On the O-line in general, it has seen huge improvements since Martin left. I could see Brenner being a starter next year if he keeps this up. Garner could still seems to be a quality backup.

McKinnie is playing really good. Maybe he will take a small discount to come back next year. They could also draft his replacement for a year or 2 down the road.

If we could keep 3 starters in Pouncey, McKinnie, and Brenner (Garner if Brenner falls back) the team would be in good shape. 2 new starters is a lot better than 4.

I actually have some small that Dallas Thomas could at least compete for a job or be a quality backup next year, but we will see.

Wheeler was clearly not a good signing, not with that contract anyway--McKinnie was a good/great trade, and hopefully can stay in the mix for another year or so-wondering why the delay in re-upping Grimes--N Carroll has been probably the most pleasant surprise this year, IMO (Clay too but he showed flashes last year....Carroll sucked)-MUST improve our running game next year--despite the stats, Wallace has a huge affect on the defense every week--and yeah, maybe we found a solid player in Brenner....

Wheeler will be a salary dump after next year if he doesnt pick it up....probably a costly one I'd guess

Irescum has more busts than Dolly Parton!!!

Posted by: Finman | December 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Finman, You do know that Dolly Parton has only one bust,right? So by your idiotic train of thought, every GM in the history of the NFL has more busts then Dolly Parton.
Nice try, Sparky. Put a little more work into your rather weak insults. Until then, getoutta here ya lightweight.

EK, BB doubled Wallace all last game which led to a pick when Tannehill panicked and heaved one downfield into Talib and McCourty. I think the Pats and Bills games were Tannehill's lump this year. Every Qb goes through one. He owes the pats and the bills one this year!

ya'll homers just tink ne is gonna come 2 the joe and lay down?
how many phinz have p/o exp.?
how many r on the pats
ne kno's whats its gonna take

C'mon 2 watt. Give us one of your tired 28-0 posts. I haven't seen one in about 2 days.

yeah rage,28-0 never happened huh
clueless aren't ya?

Didn't say it did not happen. Just waiting for you to used that same tired schtick.

I also love the whole lol after every post. Trying to reassure yourself of being remotely funny?

Mark, Wallace has not shown me why I need to double him.

1. The ball needs to be thrown perfectly. He will not adjust his route unless he is open by 5 yards. Unless it is a busted coverage that is not going to happen.
2. He has no toughness to fight for the ball. We now know that is why Pittsburg let him go.
3. He can be intimidated.

Sorry, I am the worlds biggest homer, but, if Wallace does not pick up his game, we lose.

Posted by: EVERYBODY KNOWS | December 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Still keep them as we really need the insurance policy of having players that are still playing at a solid level.

Look we still draft a couple of o-linemen, or one in the draft and one as FA. There are no guarantees with the draft or FA's, so why not keep them on the roster, they both come reasonably cheap and BM has really protected Thill well enough for him to develop nicely over the last few games.

Brenner is likely to start at LG, if he keeps up this level of play till next season kick off. As many of you have said then we can go after either a big WR, or a power runner as these are two pieces missing from our O.

Egnew could be that guy and Thomas is looking a stud after the Steelers game, but can he keep it up ?

Pats are beatable, but I know they won't lay down and it will be a tough game. Despite some flaws and a ton of injuries this year they are still a good team.

Clutch quarterback play and a coach who is great at game management and making adjustments and using his players effectively. As much as I hate him belicheat is a damn good coach.

Their offense is hurting really bad. Gronk is out and Thompkins and Dobson were out last game. They were running with Amendola, Edelman, and Josh Boyce as their pass catchers.

They have Shane Vereen back who they didn't have for last game though. After seeing what Sproles did to our linebackers and safeties that scares me.

If Patterson can play to go along with an improved Carroll and Grimes that would be great. The front 4 must generate pass rush and stop the run. Hopefully our depth there keeps them fresh against the temp/no huddle Brady runs.

On offense hopefully Tannehill can at least stay close in the chess match vs Belicheat. We ran on them pretty effectively in the first game and I think our O-line is better now. Tannehill and Clay have both improved a lot since that game. Wallace and Tannehill getting a big play or 2 would be HUGE.

The team is at home and has momentum, so a win is possible. Never a better time than now to break our losing streak vs the Pats. The national media would have to take notice then.

dashi, while i agree that tannehill should as a rule be a pocket passer, i think he can angle doing more without it hurting him. be a pocket passer 85% of the time roll out 15% and run 10%. the more i see him do more the more i want him to do more because he is good at it. i do think he is the franchise QB we have been waiting for. marino was a qb from diapers. tannehill may not be a top ten QB in 2 years but e will keep moving up and will be there in at most 4.

A polarizing figure if there ever was one, Johnny Manziel is the player the Fins need to take their offense to the next level.


and u read every1 letter rage

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself, but I've been thinking. I said yesterday we wouldn't do anything in the Playoffs (if we got there). But re-thinking that, if we get the 6th seed, we'd probably play Cincy. We match up really well vs. them, so I'm thinking we may be able to pull-off a road Playoff win if that was the match-up. Dalton's Playoff record is not good, so the pressure would definitely be on them.

I would probably rather see Cincy than Indy. To me, Luck is a big-game player, and would do everything to eek out a victory (even with a team missing pieces).

Either way, it's still far away, we gotta take care of business first (how crazy would it be to actually win the division, which is a distant but still mathematical possibility?).

rage,its 27-17 btw

Posted by: jaison | December 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Thill has deep ball concerns and I've been on him for that all year. However when he targets Clay deep the results are normally special.

When Thill rollouts out he looks a different player and throws it so well on the run. Sherman has really been poor at using this skill of his QB. Against the Steelers there were a couple of occasions Thill rollouted out and had so much time to throw and space to pick up big yardage.

All the chips are on the table for the last 3 games and I feel Thill will be taking off more in this period. Im not saying he should turn into RGIII and waste his body, but we need to maximize all our power to get to the playoffs. When your QB can do this it draws the LB's and Safeties closer to the line and can open up space for the recievers, as you all know my friends.

55-17 last 2 rage.

and rage?

wally, guess I didn't realize the Ravens are playing the Pats next week. There goes my desire to see Pats lose all their remaining games. I think we have a better chance getting in as a Wildcard team, so I'm rooting for Ravens to lose.

EK, don't have to convince me, I'm the one saying our receiving corps needs more beef and it's probably our biggest need going into the offseason. It's nice to have players like Wallace but they make plays once or twice a game (mind you they are real game changers) but what happens the other 37 times Tannehill s passing per game. The guys that move the chains are more important. And then you have late season cold weather games. Look at what Clay did in that weather. These are your 4*4s, not to mention what the huge Marshall, Jeffrey, and Bennett did to teh cowboys in the cold.

BUt yet, other teams are scared shiteless of Wallace - they double him to no end. Must be the only borderline 1,000 yard receiver in the modern era to get so much game planning...

Hahaha. C'mon 2 watt. Just razzing you,buddy. I think you are a Dolphins fan that has a peculiar way of showing it,and just want a reaction to your posts. Kinda the same way I got a reaction out of you from mine. We're all good buddy.

Manziel? He is tebow with better accuracy.... same velocity though....

rage, I luv every1,just ask mark
and yes rage, I do have a brand new phinz jacket w/the new logo btw if u believe it

2 watt,I'm gonna say Miami 27-21, but I'm not going to Vegas on this game.

2 watt, I'm going Miami 27-21, but I'm not going to Vegas on this game.

rage, u can blame my 1/2 empty on all phinz on the marino years.
i'm sure my fellow rogues wuld agree.

I liked my post so much, I though everyone should have to see it twice.

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