- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
5 matchups the Fins must win vs. Browns
1) DT Paul Soliai vs. Browns interior OL.
RB Trent Richardson is the Browns’ biggest weapon in this game in terms of moving the chains and setting up playaction passes for QB Brandon Weeden. Soliai’s ability to eat up double teams ELIMINATED the North-South type of runner on 1st and 2nd downs in 2012. The evidence of that? CJ Spiller and Chris Johnson combined for 67 rushes and 355 yards (5.30 YPC) in 3 games because they could penetrate the perimeter of the Defense, while the other 13 starting RB’s combined for 202 rushes, 671 yards (3.32 YPC). Richardson is a North-South runner. Period. Shut him down.
2) LT Jonathan Martin and RT Tyson Clabo vs. OLB’s Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard.
All eyes will be on LT Jonathan Martin as he replaces the departed Jake Long. OLB’s Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard combined for 16.5 sacks in 2012, and should present equal challenges against Martin and Clabo. OLB Barkevious Mingo, the #6 pick in the draft, is unlikely to be a factorin this game because of a bruised lung. That’s a break for the Dolphins.
3) DE Cameron Wake vs. RT Mitchell Schwartz.
RT Mitchell Schwartz had a great 2012 rookie season opposite LT Joe Thomas. But can he neutralize Cameron Wake without RB Trent Richardson or TE Jordan Cameron helping him? That’s doubtful. Wake’s matchup with Schwartz will determine whether or not an additional blocker should be kept in to block. Dion Jordan also figures into this equation.
4) WR Brandon Gibson vs. CB Chris Owens and Leon McFadden.
Gibson is Tannehill’s safety valve in the slot with TE Dustin Keller sidelined for the season. This plays into the Browns’ greatest weakness in an otherwise promising defense: veteran CB’s Chris Owens and rookie Leon McFadden. This is a matchup that Gibson should win over two CB’s that appear to be below Gibson’s caliber.
5) WR Travis Benjamin vs. CB’s Nolan Carroll and RJ Stanford.
WR Josh Gordon’s two-game suspension robs the Browns of their only deep threat among their top 3 WR’s. Enter Travis Benjamin, a U of M alum with the speed to be an X-factor as the Browns’ #3 WR and KR. A mis-step from a Dolphins’ nickel back could mean the difference between a 5-yard gain and a 70-yard TD.
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