Posted: 3:06 pm Monday, September 9th, 2013
By Andrew Abramson
Mike Wallace sulking after a Dolphins win might not have played well with the Dolphins fan base, but Coach Joe Philbin and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman defended their big offseason acquisition.
Philbin, speaking with the media this afternoon, said any conversation he had with Wallace was personal. But he said he wants his players to want to make a difference. Wallace was upset after he had just one reception for 15 yards, despite the fact that the Browns decision to double team him opened up the field for receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson and tight end Charles Clay.
Sherman echoed Philbin’s sentiment, saying Wallace is a competitor and he he came to Miami expecting to be a key part of the offense.
“Mike’s a competitor,” Sherman said. “He wants to be a big part of the game as I would hope that he would. He came here to be a factor in our season and our success. The fact that he’s disappointed that he only caught one ball, that’s expected. I have no problem with that. And I told him he can communicate that with me anytime he wants.”
Sherman pointed out that Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had just 37 yards yesterday and that Wallace will have big games for the Dolphins.
Wallace said this afternoon that he was upset at his own performance.
“I was mad at myself because I didn’t have a good game,” Wallace said.
Wallace said he was happy that his teammates did well but that wins don’t excite him.
“I’m always happy to win but that’s what we play for, to win,” Wallace said. “I expect to win. I don’t get overly excited when we win because every time we step on the field that’s what I’m there for. If you see us win or you see us lose I’m not going to be jumping around either way.”
STARKS SAYS HE’S COOL WITH COACHES:
After defensive tackle Randy Starks was caught flipping the bird at the Dolphins bench on Sunday, speculation was that Starks was upset at coaches because he’s coming off the bench behind Jared Odrick.
Starks, a Pro Bowler last year, missed OTAs in protest of not receiving a long term contract extension and is now a reserve.
Philbin said today that he does not believe Starks’ middle finger was aimed at coaches.
As the story has continued to grow, Starks took to Twitter this evening and denied that he has an ill will toward his coaches.
“I never said anything about being upset at the coaches or organization,” Starks wrote. “I’m over the contract issues.”
Starks wrote that the finger was a joke aimed at his teammates.
“Joking with my teammates about getting a sack,” he wrote. “Could have used different gesture but it’s over now.”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle wouldn’t address the finger but said every NFL player “wants to be the starter” and “wants to be the guy.” Coyle said he considers Starks, Odrick and Paul Soliai all starters.
“We’re blessed with the fact that in my opinion we have three legitimate starters at the defensive tackle spot,” Coyle said. “Whoever starts the game one week may not start the game the next week.”
Coyle said all three are getting roughly the same amount of snaps.
DOLPHINS SIGN A CB: Rookie cornerback Devin Smith wrote on Twitter this evening that the Dolphins have signed him. The Dolphins waived quarterback Aaron Corp who had been on the waived-injured list.
ABANDON THE RUN?: A day after the Dolphins ran 23 times for 20 yards, Sherman said he’s not ready to abandon the run yet — even if Philbin would prefer it.
The Dolphins game-clinching 85-yard scoring drive late in the game against Cleveland featured a bunch of short passes in place of the run. And when Philbin was offensive coordinator in Green Bay, the Packers won the Super Bowl despite not having a top-tier running back.
On abandoning the run, Sherman chuckled and said “I think Coach Philbin is certainly of that mindset, I haven’t quite reached that mindset yet. I have to be able to hand the ball off once in a while to eat up some clock time and to say ‘hey we’re still going to run the football.’ But I think Coach Philbin could possibly convince me otherwise.”
- The Dolphins will practice on Tuesday and players will be off Thursday. Teams traditionally give their players off on Tuesday. Last week the Dolphins took Thursday off but Philbin said at the time he wasn’t sure if it would be a permanent move. The traditional approach is to have Wednesday and Thursday as the hardest practices, but Phiblin said he likes the idea of resting his team late in the week.
- Sherman said tight end Charles Clay needs to improve his run blocking but that he’s strong in the passing game right now. He said Clay’s forte is still h-back but that he has no reluctance putting him on the line of scrimmage.
- Sherman said Tannehill appeared very poised on Miami’s 85-yard scoring drive late against Cleveland and he said it was a noticeable difference from a year ago.
- Sherman said the offensive line is still a work in progress. He said it will be improved next week and will be better the week after that.
- Coyle praised defensive end Olivier Vernon. While Vernon didn’t have the stats that some of the other defensive linemen had on Sunday, Coyle said Vernon did a great job rushing Cleveland’s offensive line.
- Coyle said rookie defensive end Dion Jordan will continue to see more playing time.