Porter's Dilemma

Joey Porter's personality and prominence as a player make it inevitable that he's going to attract a lot of attention. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's not so good. It definitely wasn't too positive this weekend when he was benched by Coach Tony Sparano and reporters were waiting on Monday to get Porter's take on the subject.

Porter normally isn't shy about offering opinions on just about anything, but this definitely was something he didn't care to elaborate on.

"It was a coach's decision," Porter said. "There's nothing else to talk about. It was a coach's decision and now we're on to Carolina."

Porter was asked a couple of other questions about his benching, but didn't say anything else about the events leading up to his benching or having to watch the Tampa Bay game.

Then Porter decided to put things in perspective when he was asked about his mind-set moving forward and looking to get his season back in the right direction.

"Like I say, at the end of the day it's really never about me," Porter said. "It was proven last week it's not about me. I mean, you guys make it about me. That's fine. As long as we're winning, everything will take care of itself. I have learned that a long time ago. When you're winning everything takes care of itself. It's kind of when you're losing you kind of go through the tough times, so it's really not about what I'm doing because if we were 3-5 and if I had the same 10 sacks I had at this point last year you wouldn't be asking me about me. You'd be asking me, ‘Oh, what's going on with the team?' So let's not make this about me. Let's not make it seem like y'all really consider how well I'm playing or if I have 10 sacks or four sacks. It's not going to help neither one of you guys. It's not going to get y'all get paid. It's not going to do nothing for y'all, so let's keep it real. Let's not act like y'all are worried about me not having 10 sacks right now compared to 2.5. That's not what it's about."

Here's the problem with Porter's argument: He's a story today because he was benched and made inactive for something other than an injury. He's a story because he never addressed the media last week following the game at New England when he was shut out in terms of tackles or stats.

He's a high-profile player, and as such is going to be scrutinized. And while Sparano defended Porter's performance this season by saying he does a lot of things that might go unnoticed, it doesn't change the fact his sack production has fallen way off and he's simply not getting consistent pressure on the quarterback.

The attention is only greater on Porter because he's not afraid to speak his mind. Porter sometimes gets undue grief for something he says -- his comment about Matt Cassel last season comes to mind -- but that also comes with the territory.

Porter can't be naive enough to not expect some backlash at times for things he says.

Nobody said Sunday's game was about Porter; he was a story nonetheless and that's why reporters wanted to talk to him on Monday.

Porter declared himself "good," "ready to go" and "healthy." It's obvious the Dolphins really could use the kind of big plays Porter provided last season, but the Dolphins also have an abundance of pass-rushing outside linebackers, as became evident with Charlie Anderson and Cameron Wake both getting sacks against Tampa Bay.

Still, at his best, Porter is a game-changer. That's what he was last season, that's what the Dolphins could use in the final nine games this season.

Like it or not, he shouldn't expecto play out the rest of the season unnoticed, though.


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