Dolphins notebook

Miami Dolphins LB Philip Wheeler upset over key penalty against Bucs

Miami Dolphins linebacker Philip Wheeler said Tuesday that he didn’t think his fourth-quarter hit against Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon should have been flagged.

“I don’t think it was a good call,” the sixth-year veteran said.

The hit came after Glennon released a pass, which wound up incomplete, on a crucial third-and-6 play with six minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Dolphins down 22-19. If the play had stood, the Buccaneers would have been forced to punt from their 15-yard line. Instead, they punted three minutes later and pinned the Dolphins at their 5.

After expressing his overall displeasure with the call, Wheeler elaborated.

“I guess it could have gone either way,” he said. “I felt like he was still in his throwing motion — he had just finished his throwing motion — and I felt like I could hit him at that point.”

Wheeler said he watched the play on tape and didn’t see a late hit or any helmet-to-helmet contact.

“I don’t think I hit him with my helmet,” he said. “I watched it a couple of times, and I thought it was a legal hit.”

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was more accepting of the penalty, admitting that Wheeler made contact with Glennon above the shoulder.

“It was a play that I’m sure Philip wished he could get back and made an error in judgment there,” Coyle said. “It was close. Had he lowered the target and hit him and tried to pull off, I don’t know if it would have been called.

“But the ways those plays are being officiated now, it was a penalty and it hurt us.”


Rookie defensive end Dion Jordan, whom the Dolphins traded up to select third overall in the NFL Draft in April, played just nine defensive snaps Monday, the same as linebacker Jonathan Freeny, who went undrafted in 2011.

Although Jordan does play a fair amount of special teams snaps — 19 on Monday — Coyle reiterated Tuesday that his playing time is dependent on matchups and said that he doesn’t anticipate that the slender rookie’s role will change.

“Dion is not going to be in there in games where teams are slugging it out and running the football,” Coyle said. “[The Buccaneers] threw the football 21 times in the game, and he was in there for half of them, in the rotation that he’s playing in right now.”

Coyle continued: “If a team’s going to be featuring certain personnel and running the football on first and second down, that’s not Dion’s strength at this point in his time here with us. That’s not going to change this season.”


Dolphins coach Joe Philbin commented in light of Monday’s news that the team will take advice on workplace conduct from an independent committee, announced by owner Stephen Ross.

“Anything that can make our organization better, I’m fully supportive of it,” Philbin said.

“I’m in total agreement and support.”

The committee will be comprised of former coaches Don Shula and Tony Dungy, along with ex-Dolphins Jason Taylor and Dan Marino and former Patriots and Jets running back Curtis Martin.

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