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Thursday, September 24, 2009
Dolphins need to smoke some ball carriers



Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


The aftermath of Monday night's missedtacklepalooza has Dolfans wondering if the team's no-tackling policy in training camp has been a detriment in the regular season.

The Miami Dolphins "thud," a common practice among teams in which defenders make the initial hit and wrap up the ball carrier without driving him to the ground. It's done to avoid injuries.

Dolphins outside linebacker Jason Taylor was asked about it after Thursday's practice.

"That’s kind of the way the league is now," Taylor replied. Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni "talked about the old days when they were full-speed tackling and all that stuff. Yeah, they didn’t have OTAs and minicamps either. You just showed up for training camp. You smoked cigarettes at halftime. A lot of things were different back then.

"So we don't do all that now. We don't tackle, but we don't smoke at halftime either."

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano charted only seven missed tackles during his review of the game film from Monday night's 27-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but he conceded the lapses were costly.

Here are a couple of comments from training camp about the concept of thudding.

Sparano:

“It’s hard. You have to work on the fundamentals. You got to keep banging on your guys about butting the ball carrier and coming to balance and finishing in good positions. But it hurts. It does. But there is no way, with the number of players that you have right now and the number of practices, to be taking ball carriers to the ground and going live out here. That’s a hard thing to do.

"You got to get it in the preseason games, and that’s why some of the reps are important in these games for different players."

Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron:

"We’re not a team that goes full-contact. We’ve got five exhibition games to do that, but we go hard in our drills. Our nine-on-seven drills and our team work will go heavy thud at times. We try to stay up and off the ground. It’s hard, try to not make piles of bodies where people can have their legs fallen on and things."