Green Bay At Miami: 5 Things We Need To Know
Even though he spent nine solid seasons in Green Bay, it’s hard to believe Joe Philbin refers to the team’s game at home against the Packers just another contest.
How can you erase nine years of memories and success and act like it is just another sunny day in south Florida?
Apparently, Philbin has found the magical elixir that allows him to concentrate on the Dolphins' game plan for Sunday and shy away the memories of Brett Favre, BJ Raji and James Jones.
His Dolphins will try to come back from the bye week and prove that they are a contender in the AFC East.
Philbin was part of the Packers coaching staff during the 2010 season when the Packers got hot after making the playoffs as a wild-card team and rolled to a Super Bowl, but that’s not his lasting memory of his time in Green Bay.
“Really, for me, it was the relationships I was able to develop with people throughout the organization over a nine-year period,” Philbin said. “Just like here, there is a great tradition in Green Bay. There’s great tradition here. There’s people here in this building that come to work every day that bleed orange and blue and want to be part of the Miami Dolphins. It’s the same type of culture up there.
“When you invest the amount of time you do in this profession, you get to meet a lot of wonderful people, players, coaches, staff members, equipment guys, and the whole nine yards. The Super Bowl (in Green Bay) was great, but that’s not what I value the most. Certainly, it was the relationships I was able to develop over nine years.”
In particular, Philbin has tremendous respect for Mike McCarthy, the Packers head coach since 2006. Philbin already had been in Green Bay two seasons when McCarthy took over and decided to retain him.
Instead of drawing up plays for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, he will ask Ryan Tannehill to do his best Brett Favre impersonation.
In addition to the reunion that appears to be nothing more than a meeting of two teams looking for a win, here are a few things we all should know about this game.
WALLACE LOOKING FOR BIG THINGS
Wide receiver Mike Wallace will be playing his 84th NFL regular season game Sunday when the Dolphins take on the Green Bay Packers at Sun Life Stadium. Wallace faced the Packers only twice in his first five seasons.
The first came in 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Green Bay, 37-36, at Lambeau Field after Wallace scored a 60-yard touchdown on the Steelers’ first snap of the game and then won the game with a 9-yard touchdown on the final play.
Wallace’s other game against Green Bay was the final game of the 2010 season when the Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
In Super Bowl XLV, Wallace had nine catches for 89 yards and his fourth-quarter touchdown brought the Steelers to within 28-25 in a game they would lose 31-25.
JAMES WANTS TO HAVE A HUGE GAME
In an interview with The Finsiders’ Greg Likens, James talked about going against a couple of the NFL's marquee names at the pass rushing position this week Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and how he plans to slow down two of the NFL’s vaunted pass rushers.
“It’s going to be a big task,” said James. “I’m a competitor, I love to compete, and I’m going against some of the best in the league right now. So I look at this as an opportunity to go out there and play football, do what I love, go out there and compete versus them, and I feel like we’ve got a pretty good game plan in what we’re going to do, and we’re just going to execute it.”
Several players for the Dolphins will be returning from either injury or suspensions this week after the bye, but the biggest addition -metaphorically and literally – may be Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey.
THE DOLPHINS' INJURY REPORT
The Dolphins’ injury report offered mostly progress Thursday.
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan (neck) and wide receiver Brandon Gibson (hamstring) both practiced on a limited basis after being out Wednesday.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (abdomen) also was a full participant in practice after being limited Wednesday.
The only negative difference on the injury report Thursday involved running back Lamar Miller (foot) appearing as a limited participant after not being on the report Wednesday.
Limited Thursday along with Finnegan and Gibson were LB Koa Misi (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow), C Samson Satele (fibula), G Shelley Smith (knee), DT Randy Starks (back), WR Mike Wallace (foot) and LB Philip Wheeler (shoulder).
Along with Jenkins and Miller, T Branden Albert (shoulder), TE Charles Clay (knee) and G Dallas Thomas (shoulder) all were listed as full participants.
While the week off may have helped this Dolphins team heal and rest and prepare, I still think Rodgers is the best in the game today. Look for Miami to try and match the passing game with Rodgers and the Packers. While Tannehill is an improved passer, he does not have the weapons to go toe to toe.
PACKERS 31 DOLPHINS 20