Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Throughout the entire game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers was getting the ball out of his hands extremely quickly into the hands of his wide receivers. This was due to the fact that the Dolphins’ cornerbacks were playing so far off the line of scrimmage, especially in the red zone. Was this by design though or was there miscommunication on the plays?
“There are different coverages that we employ obviously,” Joe Philbin said. “Sometimes, there are certain specific techniques relative to the red zone, but I can’t say all of them we want seven or eight yards off. I’m not suggesting that we do, but some we want them to have some type of a cushion. That sounds like a lot of a cushion to me, but I’m not exactly sure what picture you are referring to. There’s probably a picture or two I recall from watching the film this morning where we were a little too deep, I would agree.”
On the fake snap play, Cortland Finnegan was at least 7-10 yards off the wide receiver and Philbin said that he probably should’ve been a little closer. That play resulted in about a 15-yard gain for the Packers and set them up for the game winning touchdown pass, which saw Philip Wheeler give up an easy pass to tight end Andrew Quarless. Philbin explained that Wheeler was just beat on a good pass and catch play.
“There was space. When you line up real tight, they’re going to throw the ball, a real fade over the top of you and that’s not a position that linebackers and sometimes even safeties are as accustomed to being up there in tight press. His alignment was OK. You’ve just got to be careful of a cardinal rule for everybody in coverage is never get pushed into the end zone, make the receiver have to run around you once you get down around the goal line. Again, he ran a difficult route, not so much a back-shoulder, but almost like a fade stop. If you look at it, he’s throwing the ball before the guy has even stopped. If you go back and watch the tape, you’ll see that, the guy stops and the ball is on him and Philip is trying to get a hand in there.”
Kevin Coyle followed all that up by saying that corners should never be playing seven yards off at the goal line. However, adjustments weren’t made and the Dolphins got bit and ultimately ended up losing the game because of it.