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Tomlin on the Dolphins

Posted Dec 8, 2013

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week’s opponent – the Miami Dolphins:

Q. The Dolphins defeated the Indianapolis Colts, and they also beat the Cincinnati Bengals on a Thursday night. What do you make of this 6-6 Dolphins team?

A. When you’re 6-6 that means you’ve had some good days and some days that fell below the line. It’s our job to make sure they have one of those days that fall below the line.

Q. How much progress have you seen from Miami’s second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill?

A. I really didn’t do a lot of study on him last season, and so this is the first exposure to him as we prepare to play him. He’s a talented quarterback. He can make all the throws on the field. His mobility is probably the thing that’s most surprising, and how they utilize it schematically. The mis-direction passes and the designed pocket movements really lend itself to his skill-set. He’s a well-rounded quarterback, and we really have to work to contain him today.

Q. Only three AFC quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than Tannehill. What does he do to get himself into trouble?

A. It’s less about what he does and probably more about the unrest of those in front of him. They’ve got two guys in their offensive line who are capable starters but not participating, and not due to injury. That’s unfortunate, and they’ve also had some injury issues along the way. Mike Pouncey has missed time. John Jerry, their right guard, has missed time. They’ve acquired Bryant McKinnie over the course of this journey and he has solidified things for them. When you have that potential for unrest, there’s the potential for a lack of protection.

Q. Are Mike Pouncey and Maurkice Pouncey the same player?

A. I like to think I have the alpha male, and Maurkice will agree with that. We like to kid Mike about that, but they’re both talented young guys and top quality players in this league.

Q. Miami’s top two running backs are Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. How do their style differ?

A. I have compared them this week to C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson in Buffalo. I really think it’s a favorable comparison. Miller, in terms of his game-breaking speed, is much like Spiller. Thomas with his downhill, slasher approach, is much like Jackson.

Q. Brian Hartline is Miami’s leading receiver, followed by Mike Wallace. How do they differ as players?

A. They play right and left, first and foremost, and not a lot of guys play right and left. It harkens back to the days of the Indianapolis Colts when Marvin Harrison was the right side receiver and Reggie Wayne was the left side receiver. That’s basically how the Dolphins divide the work. Mike Wallace will be to Tannehill’s right, and Hartline will be to his left. They run similar routes. Both guys are functioning extremely well. We know Mike Wallace has a distinguishing characteristic, but Brian Hartline is a very balanced, well-rounded receiver.

Q. On defense, the Dolphins tackles in their 4-3 have 8.5 sacks among them. Is this a bad matchup for the Steelers?

A. I think it’s the No. 1 matchup problem from a protection standpoint. Their defensive ends get a lot of attention and rightfully so. Guys like Cameron Wake who have been to Pro Bowls, but the mismatches inside created by guys like Randy Starks and Jared Odrick is as significant as the ones outside.

Q. Have you ever been a part of a team that had to go through three centers in the same season?

A. No I have not, but I acknowledge that all of these journeys are different, and I don’t go into it with any pre-conceived notions. That’s our journey this year and we have to deal with it. The big thing is that I’m really happy and excited with the way the team has dealt with it and with the guys who stepped in. Fernando Velasco quickly became a regular, and we expect Cody Wallace to do the same and deliver for us in a big way.

Q. What has Cody Wallace shown you?

A. That he is a veteran, and that his veteran, savvy experience shows up repeatedly. We  expect him to call on that today and be an integral part of our offense, just to be the hub of communication that the center position is.

Q. Is it possible that Eric Olsen could see some game action today?

A. He’ll be available as a backup. It would only be in the case of something happening to some of the others. But I like the work he has done this week and his preparation.

Q. What kind of progress has Mike Adams made since he was replaced in the starting lineup following the game against the Vikings in London?

A. I like the positive contributions he has provided us as a team. Aside from playing the tackle position, what he has done as an extra tight end has been a positive contributor to our efforts. That’s first and foremost. He’s been in the lab working on the skill development of the tackle position – things you don’t see in the stadium – and we’ll get an opportunity to see that today.

Q. Two special teams plays were costly in the loss to the Ravens. Have you had a chance to talk with Shaun Suisham about what happened on the botched field goal attempt?

A. There was no discussion needed. As it unfolded, it became obvious what had happened. We used cadence to quell the rush. Stadium noise created an uncomfortable situation for him. He mis-anticipated the snap count. He jumped and messed up his steps, and we weren’t able to seize the three points that were in front of us.

Q. Jason Worilds has played well at LOLB. Is it possible he might stay there?

A. Certainly. If it’s not broke, I’m not going to try to fix it. He has taken the misfortunes of LaMarr Woodley and run with it, and such is life in the National Football League.

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