No - you didn't read that headline wrong. It was announced today by the team that Dolphins OLB Joey Porter will not play in tomorrow's game against Tampa Bay. Porter was officially downgraded to "out" on Saturday - but not because of an injury. Officially, his downgrade is being listed as a "coach's decision" - which is distinctly different than being downgraded due to injury.
So what gives? The Miami Herald speculates that something happened between Porter and the team since Friday's practice, when Porter participated and was listed as "probable" on the injury report:
Something clearly happened between Friday afternoon when Porter left the practice facility and this afternoon to cause Sparano to bench the weakside outside linebacker. Sparano, it should be noted, seemed quite pleased with Porter during his Friday press conference.
Could Porter's benching be because of poor performance? I doubt it. Even if the team was unhappy with Porter's play on the field, you'd have to imagine he'd at least be active on Sunday - even if he doesn't start. But for Porter to be inactive? Something had to have gone down.
Whatever it is, though, I don't expect us to hear the truth from Porter. After last week's game against New England, Porter high tailed it out of there before the media could get to him. I expect more of the same from Porter this week.
There are a few possibilities as to how the Dolphins will shuffle the starting lineup without Porter. We could see Jason Taylor move to the weak side and Matt Roth start in JT's spot on the strong side. Or we could see Taylor remain on the strong side and either Charlie Anderson or Cameron Wake start on the weak side. Wake will obviously be the popular pick to see start by the fans - but I don't think it's likely because he's still not a complete outside linebacker and would be a liability in coverage and/or run defense.
Regardless of who starts, though, we should definitely see more snaps out of Wake tomorrow - which is a good thing.
Hat tip to Rzayo24