- 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
Dolphins-Steelers: 5 key matchups
1) WR Mike Wallace vs. CB Ike Taylor.
Mike Sherman would be wise to use WR Mike Wallace’s speed to dictate matchups in this game. Wallace has caught fire over the last two weeks (12-209-2) as he continues to get more comfortable with QB Ryan Tannehill. CB Ike Taylor, 33, has been burnt repeatedly over the last several weeks and ranks 107/112 among CB’s by PFF. It would be in Sherman’s best interests to use Wallace both in the perimeter and in the slot.
2) CB Brent Grimes vs. WR Antonio Brown.
This matchup features two players in the middle of Pro Bowl caliber seasons. Brent Grimes recorded his fourth INT last week in a 23-3 blowout win against the Jets. Antonio Brown (85-1106-5) is not only QB Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target, but the player GM Kevin Colbert gave a 5-year-$42-million dollar contract to instead of paying a steeper price for Wallace two years ago. Grimes will cover him for the majority of the game, but don’t be surprised if Nolan Carroll gets extended action on him.
3) NT Paul Soliai vs. C Cody Wallace.
29-year-old Cody Wallace will make his first NFL start in place of veteran Fernando Velasco, who filled in admirably for Pro Bowl Center Maurkice Pouncey after he went on IR. Soliai is expected to push around Wallace on early running downs because of his girth and experience.
4) DE Olivier Vernon vs. LT Mike Adams.
Raise your hand if you thought Oliver Vernon (10.5) would have more sacks than Cameron Wake and Dion Jordan (8.5) by Week 14. Anyone? Didn’t think so. Vernon faces an interesting matchup against the 6-7, 324 pound Mike Adams, who is the Steelers’ on-field version of Jonathan Martin: tall with great length, but soft. Vernon could get under Adams’ pads for consistent pressure against Roethlisberger. Look for TE Matt Spaeth to help Adams both on run and pass downs, especially if Vernon—or Jordan–generates consistent pressure.
5) TE Charles Clay vs. SS Troy Polamalu.
Look for Polamalu to assume the same “joker” role that he has taken for the last decade. Clay could get a few opportunities to sneak behind the Steelers D on deep routes if Polamalu tries to jump too many routes in the secondary. Considering the matchup advantages Wallace and Hartline have over Ike Taylor and William Gay on the perimeter, Clay could be
Prediction: Steelers 17, Dolphins 6.
This has all the making of a late-season Steelers victory with temperatures expected to be in the high 20’s with the possibility of snow. The Steelers are more equipped to win this type of game. The Dolphins’ biggest keys to success could revolve around the big-play ability of RB Lamar Miller and WR Mike Wallace against his former team.
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