Welcome to Ask Mike – Week 30






from OD


Q – I know Philbin has said publicly he plans to start the same 5 O-Linemen from prior games in the Buffalo game.–Just suppose Tanny is getting hit and sacked so often in the first half that Philbin feels compelled to change SOMETHING at half time. What are the most likely change(s) we could expect to see for the second half?


—–THANX, Mike!! – – Young Stanger and I will toast you at halftime in the stadium, KNOWING that help is on the way in the second half!!


That would obviously depend on who it was that was struggling.  I’ll take this from right to left, the Jewish way, not left to right, like I was taught to read English (Hebrew is read from right to left)


If Clabo was struggling, I’d bet that Nate Garner would be given first crack at RT. If Jerry was playing awful,  I’d still say Garner, as he can play T or G, and if it was still a close game, I’d bet the coaches wouldn’t want to overburden Dallas Thomas, the rookie.


We can skip Pouncey, because he’s not getting pulled.  I think you can say the same for Incognito.


If Martin was struggling, and I mean getting destroyed, it’s possible the curious case of Will Yeatman begins.  STill possible that Nate Garner is the first guy off the bench, not because he’s the most talented, but because he’s a veteran, and this staff seems like they don’t want to count on rookies, and like to lean on veterans.  It would surprise me to see Martin pulled for Yeatman, so much to everyone’s dismay who want to see Dallas Thomas, I don’t think he’d sub for a struggling player.


I do believe though, that if someone struggles this week, especially Jerry, then Dallas Thomas may get a ton of reps, and very possibly start next week.




from Boulder


Q – Hi Mike,

Do you think Philbin and Ireland are regretting not trading the Jamar Taylor pick for Brandon Albert in the offseason?


We came into the season with a few needs.  We needed O-line help, CB’s, we needed pass rushers, and we desperately needed to upgrade our WR corps.


Ireland took care of the WR’s corps through free agency.  Wallace and Gibson were acquired, and that fixed that issue.


In the draft, Ireland boldly traded up to the #3 pick with the Oakland Raiders, surrendering the #42 pick, our first of two picks we had in the 2nd RD.  That took care of the pass rusher.  I believe the staff felt Jonathan Martin was a player that would develop into at minimum, and average LT, which in the zone block scheme, should be adequate.  His play has been less than average so far, but he’s still developing.


I think our staff felt it was important to get a one of the better CB’s in the draft, and they got one in Jamar Taylor, with the #54 pick in the 2nd RD.  Taylor was a borderline 1st RD talent, so a very nice pick at #54.


Ok, back to Branden Albert.  Albert could not negotiate a deal with the Chiefs, as he was looking for north of $9.3M per year, and even more importantly, refused to play anywhere but LT.


This is from an ESPN article in April, day after RD1 of the draft


“The Chiefs negotiated with Albert on a long-term deal this offseason, but the two sides were never close to an agreement. So the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Albert in March, and he signed a tender that would pay him about $9.3 million next season.


But Albert has repeatedly said he’s unhappy without long-term stability, and that he’s unwilling to play anywhere other than left tackle.”


If you take into consideration that the Dolphins felt Jon Martin is a better LT than RT, it makes it difficult to spend a ton of money on Albert, lose a high pick in the draft, and then be stuck without a true RT, as Martin is more comfortable on the left side.


I know the people that hate Martin don’t see the logic in this, and I don’t expect to change their minds, just trying to explain the logic behind the choice that was made.




from Stanger


Q – Philbin seems to have a certain thing in mind as to his kind of player.   Seems personality means a lot to him.  One part of that is that is he sure don’t like guys who go to the bathroom a lot.   Name three big names who you think are Philbin dudes.   And how about three who are not.


Great question!  Very thought provoking question Jon.


First of all, I totally agree that he dose have a certain player he likes, and more importantly, he certainly has players he DOESN’T like, and they are playing elsewhere in the NFL this year!


I think Ryan Tannehill is a Philbin type player.  A hard working kid, with a great work ethic, and the desire to lead, and be the best he can be. I also think Ryan is tractable.  Tractable in a good way, not a stubborn mule.


I’d also say Richie Incognito is a Philbin favorite.  Richie may not be the best G in the NFL, but he’s a team leader, and a team first guy, and is also more intelligent than people probably think, given his Dark Richie persona.


My last Philbin Phavorite would be Brain Hartline.  A lunchpail WR, who isn’t tweeting nonsense, isn’t a diva, doesn’t complain, but goes out every Sunday and leaves it all on the field.  Definitely a team player (you can see the theme), and a guy who seems to get better at what he does through hard work and diligence.


I have to throw in a bonus Philbin Phave, Cam Wake.  He actually should top the list, because I’d bet no player personifies a Philbin type player more than Came Wake.  Dedicated, hard working to become the best he can be, and and completely unselfish.  Wake doesn’t care about his sacks, he just goes hard every play, utterly relentless.  Wake is the #1 Philbin Phavorite.


The latter part of the question is harder, because he’s had a hand in picking most of the players on the team, so it would either have to be a veteran who was here before Philbin got here, OR, a player who isn’t living up to what Philbin expected.  Here goes . . .


John Jerry has occasionally worked hard, but he has oft been cattle prodded in order to do so.  I think Philbin would prefer his players to be self motivated.  A guy who comes into camp 30-50 lbs overweight does not endear himself to a guy like Philbin.


Michael Egnew would be my 2nd Philbin Phuck-up.  A guy with tons of talent, but apparently, no drive or desire to use it.  As Sonny (A Bronx Tale) said, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent”.  Philbin agrees with this!


I’m wondering if Mike Wallace is a Philbin Phave.  My bet is he’s not.  He’s a hard worker, (despite what some say), but I don’t see Wallace as a team first guy at all, he’s the classic ME first WR, like MEshawn Johnson.  Just get ME the ball.  I wouldn’t classify Wallace as a Philbin Phuck-up just yet, but if Wallace continues to show those selfish tendencies, he will inch closer and closer to that status.




from M13

Q – We currently have an abundance of cap space that can either be rolled over to next year, or pursue a trade this year to fix any problems that have arisen.  The trade deadline is a few weeks away so there is time to spare.


The question: do you go out and trade for someone this year(O-Line?) or do you stand pat and roll-over the cap savings?


The problem is there are likely limited trade partners at this time.  I think if a trade could be made, that wouldn’t cripple the team either financially, or draft compensation wise, we should do it, but only if they don’t think the 5 guys we currently have can get the job done.  I think you always should be looking to improve your team, and the O-line has certainly been a weakness for us.


When the trade deadline approaches, most teams feel they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.  I wouldn’t even count out the NY Giants, who are 0-6.  The problem is then, finding a team willing to deal a valuable player, that is is a definite upgrade over what you have, and not give up too much.  That’s just as hard as it sounds.  Get Joe Thomas!!!!  Why on earth would CLE, who is 3-3, in a division where the Bengals are in 1st at 4-2, trade Joe Thomas?  It’s outrageous!  We all tend to play “Madden” GM from time to time, but a trade for a real upgrade will be extremely unlikely, but I’m sure Ireland and company are trying.  Your recommendation of Donal Penn is not unrealistic, but it still takes two to tango, and Penn is not inexpensive.  He signed a 6YR/$41.7M contract in 2010, and Penn is 30.  He was rated as the #16 LT in the NFL by PFF (for you bro!), which is good, better than what we have at the moment.  However, the Coaches might think martin can be that player soon, so why give up a lot, pay a lot, and then move Martin back to RT, where he isn’t comfortable?  Sometimes, you need to be patient.  I’m not 100% sure Martin can’t get better, but neither am I certain he won’t.




from D-Bolt


Q – Mike in your opinion when our current defense is at full strength do you believe we can create problems for the Patriots and Brady like our defenses did from 2001-2006?  Specifically do we have the two rush ends that can allow us to play more man press to throw off that offenses rhythm or are we going to play a ton of zone and die a slow death?





Not sure D-Bolt.  Olivier Vernon has been inconsistent, and the Patriots have a good line, that holds all the time, and rarely gets caught.  I’m assuming that OV is starting, and Jordan is spelling (more often now) OV, so it’s Wake, and a combo of OV and DJango.  If Wake is truly 100%, maybe.  He’s so disruptive, but I’ve seen Nate Solder handle Wake before.  He was leaning on him and driving him to the ground all day (and HOLDING of course).  We need to find a way to counter that.


This much I am sure of.  If we need our interior LB’s to blitz often to get pressure, it’s going to be a long day for our defense.  Gronkowski will no doubt be playing by that game, and Edelman will also be terrorizing the middle of the field, against Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons, and it will be ugly.  the NY Giants showed the formula, get pressure with your front 4, an everyone else stays in coverage.  As soon as you commit one of your 3 LB’s to rushing the QB, Brady gets the ball out in the unoccupied space, and you get burnt.


My final answer is I hope we can, because if we can’t, we have no shot at winning the division, because otherwise, we can’t beat the Patriots.  I’ll add this, we had BETTER run the ball a LOT better when we play them.  We need to be more balanced.  I expect we will be.




from Wyoming


Q – We have been burned Badly by fast RB’s in at least 1 game this year!What do you think the Fins do to stop Spiller?


We need to be disciplined, and not over pursue him.  He’s so dangerous cutting back, if we pursue too much to one side, he will cut back and burn you.  It would be great of course if our D-line could penetrate at the LOS, to force him to run away from where the hole was supposed to be.  While Spiller is fast as hell, if you get your hands on him, or get a hit on him, more times than not, he’s going down.


I’m more worried about Spiller in the passing game.  You saw what Sproles did to us, we had no answer.  Don’t think for a second that BUF, and their coaches didn’t notice that.  They will try to get Spiller open in the flats, for screens, and probably get him in space in the short middle as well.  Reshad Jones and Clemons need to know where Spiller is at all times, and stay on him.  I cringe thinking of Ellerbe trying to cover Spiller, it ain’t gonna work.  Maybe Jamar Taylor comes in and we play nickel more often.  Taylor is a much better matchup for Spiller than Ellerbe, or Reshad Jones for that matter.




from Tim


Q – Okay, other than making a trade for an O-lineman, what can the team do to improve pass protection without becoming a very conservative and boring offense?


Well, the obvious answer, to me at least, is committing to the run game.  A better run game takes away the aspect of the defense just pinning their ears back to rush the passer.  It also opens up play action passing.  We don’t want to be a running team, because the NFL is built for passing with all of the rule changes that favor it.  Still, you need to have balance, unless you have a stellar O-line, and a great QB.  We don’t have either.  We have a good, young, developing QB, and a weak O-line.


Besides running the ball more effectively, we need to use the TE’s, H-backs, FB’s and RB’s to stay in and help block.  TE’s would be better, and I assume Dion Sims, who did a lot of blocking at Michigan St. would be the most qualified to do so.  The problem with doing it too often, is you’re taking one eligible receiver off the field, so that’s one less guy the defense has to cover, and it makes the offense less dangerous.  It would be great if the RB’s could help out, but so far they haven’t been up to the task.  Watch replays of Tannehill getting sacked, and when you do see a RB that was supposed to block, they failed.


Between Sims, Clay, MillerTime and DT, those guys are just going to have to pick up their play, and block better.  So dos the O-line, but as far as helping the O-line, just putting guys on the field to do something doesn’t finish the job.  All our RB’s and TE’s and H-backs are going to have block better than they have, or we’re in trouble!




And now for the babe of the week . . . 




This entry was posted in Ask Mike. Bookmark the permalink.