Written by Matthew Cannata at 2:00 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Some quarterbacks thrive when being blitzed and some go into a shell and melt down. If they’re good at it or if they’re just average, you then face the danger of exposing your coverage and possibly allowing a big play to happen. That’s why it’s important each week to figure out how you’re going to attack each specific quarterback. On Sunday, the Dolphins have a plan for Phillip Rivers and explained it a bit without giving away too much.
“That’s the dilemma, we’ve been sitting around South Florida trying to figure out, the best way to handle it. I think when you play a quarterback as good as Philip Rivers, it really gets down to playing good, fundamental defense. You know he’s going to complete some passes. You’re going to have to tackle really, really well. You’re going to have to be disciplined in your rush lanes, not that he’s the world’s greatest scrambler, but he’s so aware in the pocket, any weakness you present to him, he’ll take advantage. I don’t know if there is one sure way. I think it just goes back to playing fundamentally good, solid defense. We’re going to have to have tight coverage. We’re going to have to have good pass rush lanes. Some guys are going to have to win some one-on-ones.”
The Dolphins have faced a wide variety of quarterbacks this year – mobile, pocket passers, running quarterbacks and more. How does Rivers fit in to these categories? Philbin said he fits into all of them.
“He’s really playing well. He’s got a ton of experience, a ton of production over a long period of time. He’s very accurate. One of the things I think that makes him really unique is he kind of has that extra sense of where something bad might be happening and kind of slip-and-slide away from it. I know he’s not a huge scrambler, but if you are not disciplined in your pass rush lanes, he’ll take advantage of everything. So I think he’s a guy if you make mistakes and you are not sound, he’ll make you pay for it. He’s really having a heck of a year.”
Philbin did hint though that the defensive line will be responsible for the vast majority of the pass rush on Sunday, which would allow the rest of the team to focus on their coverage and limit the big plays.
“We have some good players ourselves. Like you said, defensively, we’ve been able to apply pressure for the most part in most of the games that we’ve played. Sometimes we have a pretty extensive pressure package in our own right. Sometimes we use it and sometimes we don’t. We’ve got some good individual rushers who can put pressure on the quarterback. I think that part of the game shapes up to be a real interesting matchup.”