Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins were six seconds away from defeating the Green Bay Packers but as fate would have it, this didn’t happen as Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass with three seconds left on the clock.
On this play, the defense called for linebacker Philip Wheelers to cover tight end Andrew Quarless. As we know, Rodgers threw it to Quarless for a touchdown. After the game, Wheeler was upset and said that it was a 50% bad play on him and 50% bad play call by the coaches. On Monday, Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle walked us through the situation.
“I wish we were successful on the call. Obviously, we weren’t,” Coyle said. “I think you always kind of, after a game like that, there are a number of different calls throughout the game that you might say, ‘Geez, I wish we would have done this, I wish we would have done that.’ The reason that we did what we did was, if you know their history, their two main targets in the red zone were (Jordy) Nelson and (Randall) Cobb, almost exclusively this year. They had been in that formation only twice and both times they tried to throw the ball inside to the inside receivers during the earlier part of the season.”
“It was a difficult spot for Philip to be in and the guy made a great throw and it was a tough position for him to make the play on. It was that close, a great player made a great play. We had been in that defense a couple of times in the game. One time, we got a sack (and) one time, we had great pressure on him (Aaron Rodgers). I can question it, we all can question it, but we saw the results.”
Some questioned why Koa Misi wasn’t in the game and why Jelani Jenkins wasn’t the one covering Quarless. Philbin had said that Misi wasn’t ready to play at that moment but didn’t get into specifics. Had Misi been in the game, Coyle said it likely would’ve been Jenkins covering the tight end in the end zone.
Wheeler had also mentioned that he didn’t practice this play throughout the entire week but Coyle said that’s because the Packers had never run that play before.
“He didn’t practice it because I’ll tell you that they hadn’t run it. You don’t start creating plays that you don’t anticipate happening in the game. Now, has he been in that situation at some other point in time, during camp and during one-on-one drills and such? Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he was working on that play and we had drilled it during the course of the week like we would have for something that was more frequent that we have to stop. You only have so many snaps in a week to practice. You don’t start inventing things that aren’t out there.”
Philbin was a little more reserved than Coyle when talking about Wheeler and ultimately took on some of the blame for what happened.
“I’m not going to get into any specific comments,” Philbin said. “I would say, again, it’s a team loss, coaching, playing. I have to do better. I said that at the initial start. I’m the head coach. Players’ performance is a reflection of the coaching as well. It’s all tied together. We have to do better.”
Everyone needs to start doing better immediately against the Chicago Bears or there could be another storm – a much bigger one - coming to South Florida on Sunday afternoon.