Tomlin on the Dolphins


Coach Mike Tomlin offers some insight on the Steelers' opponent this week – the Miami Dolphins. Q. What stands out when you watch the Miami Dolphins on tape?
A. They're a competitive bunch. They're well-coached. They're in just about every football game, even though Houston jumped out on them last week. You have to admire the way they fought to get themselves back into that game, and they really were within an onside kick of tying the game.
Q. At outside linebacker on the Dolphins defense are veterans Jason Taylor and Joey Porter. Are they still playing above the line?
A. They are. We're talking about the No. 1 and No. 2 active sack leaders in the NFL, but they supplement those guys with other players. They have a young guy from Penn State named Cameron Wake, who has played some quality snaps for them. Randy Starks is a force inside, a guy who has 6.5 sacks, which is quite a bit for an interior lineman in their scheme. They can put pressure on the quarterback, and they do a nice job of it.
Q. How much of the success that Taylor and Porter are having now comes from how they play the game above the neck?
A. It's a bell-shaped curve. There's no question they have snap-experience, and that helps them. It helps them win physical battles, when they can use intuition and savvy, and both of them do. But they're both quality physical players, even at their current ages.
Q. The Dolphins start a pair of rookie cornerbacks in Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Can Ben Roethlisberger take advantage of that?
A. A lot of teams have tried, but those two cornerbacks have held up pretty well. Both Davis and Smith were highly-regarded in last year's draft. Both guys are big in stature. Vontae Davis is 205 pounds and has shown great ball skills, and Smith is a cornerback out of Utah who is 6-foot-3. When you look at that frame, it's tough to drop balls down in on him. In the Dolphins division, the AFC East, you've seen him go stride-for-stride with big guys like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and do a nice job of representing himself down the field.
Q. Other than personnel, what effect can you see that Bill Parcells has had on the Dolphins?
A. It's a culture. They're a disciplined outfit. They're multiple. They hustle. They try to win by attrition. They're very deliberate from a gimmick standpoint. Some of the signatures of Bill Parcells football.
Q. Would you call Chad Henne a typical big and rugged Michigan quarterback?
A. I would. He's mentally tough, a winner, a no-frills guy, a lot like another Michigan quarterback we all know. He's done a nice job of spreading the ball around, of being all inclusive in terms of throwing the ball to a lot of people. When you look at their wide receivers – it's Greg Camarillo, it's Ted Ginn, it's Brian Hartline – it's a lot of guys getting the football a bunch of times. And that's not even talking about their tight end – Anthony Fasano.
Q. The Dolphins have used only three Wildcat snaps in the past four games, all against Tennessee. Why do you think that is so?
A. I think Ronnie Brown makes Wildcat what it is. The Dolphins still are Wildcat-capable, but he's a unique guy. When you look around the NFL, a lot of people employ the Wildcat, but very few use a steady diet of it because I think it speaks to the unique abilities of Ronnie Brown and Josh Cribbs of the Cleveland Browns.
Q. Do you expect to see some Wildcat from the Dolphins?
A. Absolutely, we do. Not only do we expect to see that with Ricky Williams, but we also expect to see what we call Mountaineer, with Pat White. Of course they're capable of doing some unique things with him as well.

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