Behind Enemy Lines: Patriots - Dolphins Pt 2

In this multi-part series we asked Dolphin Digest Asst editor Alain Poupart to share his insights on the Dolphins defense. Poupart addressed the Joey Porter benching, the departure of Matt Roth and if Jason Taylor is better than the Patriots LBs. All this and more...

From The Other Side – Dolphins
Alain Poupart – Asst Editor Dolphin Digest


1) The Dolphins dumped Matt Roth who had a great game for the Browns this past week. Despite their loss, they believe Roth could be a contributor down the road. Why waa he cut and are you surprised he’s playing well in Cleveland?

Alain Poupart: Some theories have suggested his release had something to do with his bizarre training camp episode where he signed a form saying he was neither injured or sick, failed the conditioning test, then told Coach Tony Sparano he was sick, then his agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly television appearance that Roth had a groin injury and then he was placed on the Non-Football Injury list for the first six weeks of the season. Roth also is in the final year of his contract and he really didn't make much of an impact after returning to action in November. Roth is a decent player, nothing more, and I wouldn't say yet he's playing so well in Cleveland considering he's only had one game with the Browns.

2) Joey Porter was benched, then made amends that same week . Why was he benched (Performance / other) and are those troubles behind him now, or is he still dealing with that?

Poupart: The only remaining consequence of Porter's benching is his dealings with the media. He rarely talks anymore (which goes against his outspoken nature) and doesn't say much when he does talk. As to why he was benched, Sparano called it a coach's decision and word is it had to do with Porter being seen out on the town on the same day he was sent home from practice because he wasn't feeling well.

3) How did the Bills – of all teams – score 24 points in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a rout at the end of the game last week? Was it Miami mistakes, or did Buffalo find a weakness and take advantage of it?

Poupart: The Dolphins threw three interceptions in the last 3:35 of the game, so that helped give Buffalo a lot of possessions and the last touchdown came after it looked like the Dolphins were discouraged to the point of giving up. There also was a 51-yard bomb to Terrell Owens thrown in there. The problems the Dolphins had in the fourth quarter on that day actually were more significance on offense than defense.

4) Jason Taylor still holding up? Do you think he brings more to the table than any of the Patriots pass rushers (Derrick Burgess, Tully Banta-Cain, Jarvis Green…)?

Poupart: Yes, because Taylor is doing a lot more than just pass rushing. He's playing strongside linebacker while Joey Porter handles the weak side. Taylor actually has had a very good all-around season while still being able to contribute some sacks here and there.

5) Both Matt Light and Channing Crowder seem to be back in the lineups this time around. Do you think we’ll see another altercation like we did when these two went at it before? How big of a role does Crowder play on the Miami defense (would they miss him if he were tossed)?

Poupart: That depends on Light because you know Crowder will be yapping. And you know he'll be trying to get under Light's skin the way he did last season. As for Crowder's role, he's the one who calls the defensive signals and he does a solid job against the run and in coverage, but he's not a difference-maker and therefore the Dolphins probably would handle his loss better than the Patriots would handle losing Light if they go for Round 2 and they both get tossed.

Did you miss the first installment of Poupart's insights? Click Here to See Part 1

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