Give all of us here in Denver some tips on how the Dolphins are able to successfully play defense – is it the system, the players or coaching that's helped you guys jump into the top ten at stopping the run and quarterback sacks?
AP. It's a combination of everything, -- coaches, system and players. Starting with the sacks, the only reason there is Joey Porter. He is playing like a man possessed, and right now he has to be considered among the top candidates for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. In terms of the run defense, you have to give credit to nose tackle Jason Ferguson because the run defense was bad after he left the Baltimore game because of an injury.
What's the story with the Wildcat offensive formation – lately it seem to have taken a back seat in favor of a more traditional approach. What are the chances we'll get a glimpse of it this Sunday?
AP. Ah, the obligatory Wilcat question. I would be shocked if you didn't get at least a glimpse of it Sunday. How much may depend on how the game is going and how the Denver defense is doing. There doesn't seem to be any real set pattern as to when and why the Dolphins use it, they just do. It hasn't been as successful lately as it was earlier, which may be a sign defense have caught on to it. But, as with everything else, if it's blocked well, it's probably going to work.
There was a lot of speculation early about Ted Ginn Jr., and then he busts out with a seven catch, 175-yard game against Buffalo last Sunday. Considering Denver's secondary, what are the odds he'll be putting up some career numbers in the Mile High City?
AP. I don't think anybody in Miami is ready to start predicting big numbers on a weekly basis for Ginn just because of one breakout game. What that Buffalo game did was it forced defense to pay attention to him, otherwise the Dolphins now have shown they will go downfield with him.
Joey Porter's been on fire lately and leads the league in sacks with 10 ½ - is there anything the Broncos can do to stop him from making lunch out of Jay Cutler?
AP. Do what Buffalo did on one play last Sunday: triple-team him. Yes, the Bills triple-teamed him on one play. That's far-fetched, but the Broncos can't hope to keep him from getting a sack without providing help for left tackle Ryan Clady – I don't care how good-looking a rookie he has been.
There seems to be a focus for Miami to try and get the running game more involved, with Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown still looking to bust the 100-yard mark this season. Will this be a major point of attack or do you think the Dolphins will stick with the obvious and let Pennington's air it out?
AP. For the record, Ronnie Brown already has two 100-yard games. That said, the Dolphins have enough balance that they don't go into any game looking to force anything. They threw the ball a lot against Buffalo because that's what they were going to success with. Against Denver? I would expect more balance, but not necessarily a heavy dose of running plays.
For whatever reason, the Broncos have struggled against Miami and hold a dismal 3-10-1 all-time record, with all three wins coming at home. Luck of the draw or is Denver just one of those teams the Dolphins seem to play their best against?
A. There might be something to that because even in 2004, when the Dolphins were putrid, they gave the Broncos a tough time at Mile High (I believe it was a 20-17 final). Exactly why that is the case is tough to figure out because players change, but the Dolphins definitely do seem to have the Broncos' number, just like Miami can't beat Houston. Maybe Gary Kubiak can give his old buddy Mike Shanahan some advice.
Given all the factors heading into the game, who do you think comes out on top and who wins the battle at quarterback?
AP. I think Chad Pennington will win the battle at quarterback because he's less likely to make a mistake and I think Joey Porter is more likely to wreak havoc with pressure than anybody on the Denver defense. That said, Jay Cutler still will make his share of big plays downfield because the Miami secondary still is suspect, despite a good performance against Buffalo last Sunday. This is a game that few would have expected the Dolphins to have a chance to win before the season started, but now it looks to me like a toss-up. Given that the Dolphins' season has gone two losses, two wins, two losses and they're coming off a win over Buffalo, I'll stick with that pattern. I honestly have no strong feeling about this game one way or another, I just do believe the Dolphins have a legitimate shot to win.
Behind Enemy Lines - Miami Dolphins
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