The Redskins are forewarned about this heroic hybrid of a defender named Adam Joseph Duhe they will meet in the Super Bowl. A.J. will fool you, on the field and off.
For instance, after he had described each of his three interceptions against the Jets today, Dolphin Duhe puffed out his bare chest and said he'd lined up in six different positions in all. He alerted five Hogs, both guards, center Jeff Bostic, left tackle Joe Jacoby and tight end Don Warren, that each might glance up just before the hike and see those soft brown eyes going mean.
Somewhere, sometime, he hinted after the AFC championship victory, Duhe'll do it.
"I'll also sometimes blitz from the outside linebacker spot on the weak side," he added.
His coach, Bill Arnsparger, who did not invent defense but did create the role Duhe plays, smiled:
"Six?" Arnsparger said. "That's what he said? It's only possible for him to be in four positions (over each guard and outside each end). I'd like him to tell me the other two."
One thing Duhe was straight-on about was what he would have thought had an elf, or Arnsparger, told him during the pregame downpour that he would catch three times as many passes as the Jets' renowned Wesley Walker: "I'd have told him to go swim in a lake or something."
Ponds were starting to form not too long before kickoff. The Jets were livid that no tarp had been covering a field they wanted runway-hard. Between the 40s, it was a bog only hogs would love.
Which means that somebody snide could fuss at the already beleaguered NFL about the wisdom of playing such an important game in a warm-weather site where monsoons are possible. They at least have snowplows up north. Also, the game clock failed near the end of the first half and much of the third quarter, officials said, because some box lunches in the press box were piled awkwardly enough to flip a switch.
In sum, though, it was a glorious day for scribes. Lots of us often are accused of not knowing a blitz from grits by coaches who question how anyone never paid to bust a wedge could dare comment on pro football. We say: do you have to be a chicken to recognize an egg?
Well, Duhe is doing his derring-do, coming very close to winning the AFC championship all by his 6-foot-4 self because a colleague from West Palm Beach wrote three years ago that he was miscast as a down lineman and ought to be a linebacker. Don Shula and Defensive Coordinator Arnsparger agreed.
Donnie and Marie would understand best what Duhe does. He's a little bit down and a little bit up, depending on how the game is going. A 248-pounder agile enough to cover a halfback and tough enough to beat a block and nail the passer is very unusual, if not quite unique.
NFL junkies see Duhe's 77 and think of Bob Matheson, whose all-around skills were a major factor in the Dolphins completing a 17-0 season 10 years ago by beating the Redskins in the Super Bowl. So that "53 defense" (so named because that was Matheson's number) still works.
"Actually, the only similarity is that both of them sometimes rush and sometimes cover," Arnsparger corrected. "Matheson was a linebacker we used down at times; Duhe was a down lineman who's learned to play linebacker."
It wasn't so simple for Duhe. Just the simple act of catching a football had to be practiced over and over, for he'd never been asked to chase guys very skilled at that.
"A whole new world opened up for him," Arnsparger said, "when he took his hand off the ground."
He never let the Jets off the ground today. One interception set up the only touchdown the Dolphins needed; just for the fun of it, he carried his third theft 35 yards to the end zone, around it and back to a mad mob of teammates waiting to embrace him near the bench.
"It sounds like a miracle," he said of that touchdown, "and it really was. I was playing defensive end and I saw that I wasn't doing any good rushing the quarterback. I saw (Bruce) Harper sneaking out of the backfield and just threw my hands up hoping the pass would get overthrown."
Those hundreds of hand-eye football drills in practice were rewarded, for Duhe controlled the ball after two bobbles and began his dash to glory.
Great throw, A.J. said.
He is the Dolphin with the most Mark Gastineau in him, the one whose emotions stir so that he finds himself dancing a bit in celebration of special deeds. Not so gauche as Gastineau, not enough to even come close to the bounds of good taste.
Indirectly, Duhe advised the Redskins not to assume that where they see him on film this week is where he'll be in the Rose Bowl come Sunday evening.
"We have (defensive) game plans," he said, "but sometimes one or two of us decide where to blitz from on our own, if we feel a particular stunt will work. All of it's still coordinated."
All that slinging in the mud today was justice for all the mud the Jets had slung from New York, some Dolphins thought.
"A lot of arrogance," Bob Kuechenberg said. "A lot of Jets have a tendency to make asses out of themselves."
If the Redskins consider what follows as arrogance, that is not what Duhe intended. Responding to a question about lack of recognition for a defense close to flawless of late, he said, "After people see us win the Super Bowl they'll get to know us better."