Wednesday’s Edition of an SI Fan Nation All Dolphins One-Week Oversized Mailbag:
From Steven Piper (via email):
Greetings Alain, Steve from Western MA here. Yes, a Dolphins fan on Patriots territory. I refuse to use Twitter or Facebook, so I was really happy to see an email address added recently. I read your articles every time they are posted on FanNation, you have become my favorite read because I feel you say it as you see it, good, bad or ugly, and most of the time I completely agree with your observations. My questions: 1. In light of the secondary having health issues, isn’t the defensive scheme conducive to allowing passers to get sacks? 2. Since Gesicki is more of a receiver, why aren’t the Ends using him more as a receiver than a traditional stretch? 3. (Non Ending Category) In the prodigious NFL stats categories, why aren’t there tipped ball stats for interceptions?
Hey Steve, glad we were able to find a way to get you involved with the mailbag. I probably should have gone the email route sooner. Anyway, let’s get to your questions. I certainly wouldn’t say the pattern doesn’t allow pass rushers to get sacks, although I would say a lot of the pass rush generated the previous two seasons came from those all-out blitzes that have been made possible by having two stud corners with X and Byron Jones. The system is designed for guys on the outside to get bags, be it Phillips, Ingram, Ogbah (before he went to IR) and now Chubb and it’s up to them to go home. The Dolphins aren’t fielding Gesicki at wide receiver because their offense is all about speed and he would slow things down by lining up on the outside. Finally, I couldn’t agree with you that there should be a category of tip pass stats leading to INTs. It’s not like these aren’t listed in the playbooks anyway. Good call.
From Rick Buzzell (via email):
Alain, I don’t think we’re a Super Bowl contender right now because there will come a time when we need a big kick at the end of the game and I don’t believe that much. It’s a two-year struggle, not something new. I also think defense is too inconsistent with all injuries. I do think, however, that we are finally building a team that is not far behind, but I am concerned about our ability to bring back all of our key players and role players as we continue to add to the mix. Tua, Wilkins, Hunt, to name a few. We have some bad contracts there with Jones being number 1 with no way to offload them. Will we have the salary cap space to keep this team intact over the next five years??
Hey Rick, when it comes to the salary cap, there’s usually a way. First, there is a way to offload Byron Jones for the Dolphins in 2023, and that’s with a designation after June 1, which would save $14 million in cap space (per overthecap. com). The Dolphins don’t need to do anything with Tua next offseason if they don’t want to because he’s under contract for 2023 with the fifth-year option for 2024. Wilkins will likely get a long contract term, but it can be structured in such a way that it is compatible with caps at the beginning. Same with Hunt.
From Charlie (via email):
Alain, I’ve been a fan of the Dolphins since I was 6 years old. Almost the entire existence of the team. It’s finally fun to be a Dolphins fan again. I wonder if part of the reason the defense has had a tough time over the last three games has more to do with being too predictable. I know they can’t use the deep 0 look as much because of the secondary injuries, but if we could add a few in every game they might be less predictable. What do you think? Just a quick follow-up question. Do you think the real difference might be the fact that we don’t get turnovers as often on defense?
Hey Charlie, the defense took the brunt of the injuries and those took their toll, no doubt. If/when the Dolphins get Byron Jones back, that could change a lot of things and as Bradley Chubb acclimatizes more and more, that should help the pass as well. And turnovers tend to come with QBs under pressure, so maybe that’s in the cards for the rest of the season.
From Michael D (via email):
Hi Alain, a longtime Australian Dolphins fan from Downunder! Your page is easily the most accessible place to get great dolphin information and opinions, so kudos to SI and yourself. 2 questions… does the air show offense remind you a bit of Marino’s ties to Duper and Clayton? Tua at least has the quick release, but not quite the arm yet… but seeing the shorter Hill and Waddle flying all over the room doing big circus tunes gives me a bit of deja vu from the good old days. Also, have you considered going all-in and changing your name to Alain Porpoise?
Hey Michael, I love Alain Porpoise’s suggestion! Good. Yeah, I have Marino/Duper/Clayton vibes with Tua/Tyreek/Waddle in that the trio seems almost unstoppable once they get going. I would actually say this offense could be more dangerous due to the potential of the running game. One thing is for sure, it’s a fun offense to watch, just like in the 1980s.
From Dan K. (via email):
Is the O line better with Robert Jones and Shell than Eichenberg and Austin Jackson Are you surprised Jeff Wilson had such a big impact on the running game?
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Hi Dan, two good questions. First, no, not surprised at all by the impact of Jeff Wilson. Remember he worked with Mike McDaniel for four years so he was very familiar with the system and I’m not sure people realized what a good back that guy was. It’s just that the 49ers like to use a lot of fullbacks, but then they were enamored with the idea of adding Christian McCaffrey. As for the O line, yes, I like the Jones/Shell combo better than Eichenberg/Jackson, but to be very honest the three studs up front are Armstead, Williams and Hunt.
From Michael McDonald (@via email):
Hello Alan. Mondays are so much better this year! How much longer will McDaniel tolerate these misses? I know in the past you’ve said that because of the contractual ramifications, it would still be too costly to remove Sanders. My argument is: how much is a lost game or two worth? Most kickers off the street will earn at least 95% of your extra points and 29-yard FGs. If nothing else, bring competition as a wake-up call. It would be a shame if a missed easy kick cost that (finally) great team playoff ranking or a trip to the playoffs. Progressive Rock question: Your opinion on The Alan Parsons Project?
Hey Mike, I understand your frustration with Jason Sanders, really. The question I would ask is, what are the chances that you will find someone on the street at this time who will be a marked improvement? And that’s on top of, yes, the salary cap ramifications of dumping Sanders. That said, I think the leash is definitely getting shorter, but the Dolphins really don’t want to have to make that move. This is the bottom line. And I really, really have the Alan Parsons project. “You Don’t Believe” and “Let’s Talk About Me” would be two favorites.
From Earl Gottfried (@via email):
Hey Alain, looks like Austin Jackson may be outside watching how the O line is apparently starting to gel. Do you think they will “force” him to act or to remain faithful? The Browns’ Amari Cooper was missing Sunday. Was the Dolphin D too good in cover or playing a decoy?
Hey Earl, Mike McDaniel emphatically stated that Austin Jackson is the right starting tackle, but he’s also smart enough to understand that there’s no point in moving for the sake of moving. And with the O line coming off possibly their best game of the year against Cleveland, I don’t see how you’re making a change right now. As for Cooper, he was certainly no decoy for the Browns. Praise Xavien Howard for making him a non-factor.
From Anthony Berardo (@berardo_anthony):
I’m slightly worried that the O will travel well in cold weather, but only slightly. I think they will be fine. Especially since the racing game came to life with Wilson. But it is a question. So should Ross build a training ground in a blast freezer to recreate those conditions in which to train?
Hey Anthony, hasn’t Ross built enough stuff already? So no. But they can turn the air conditioning up high in the indoor training center to get really cold. And I’m sure they could also bring some wind blowers to simulate the wind. Getting snow in there, however, would be a lot trickier.
From Keith (@Keithrogue1):
With 2 cold weather games on the schedule, has Coach McD started prepping Tua to wear a glove or unfamiliar ways to get going in the cold?
Hey Keith, it’s not the cold that could be a problem for the passing game, it would be the rain and/or the wind. And there will be circumstances that will affect both teams, and the solution is to switch to a shorter passing game and focus a bit more on the running game. I certainly don’t expect Tua to start wearing a glove for cold weather games in Buffalo and New England, but we might ask that question when we get there.
From Reza Hariri (@Therealrezpect1):
Do you see Miami adding a lineman D or settling for Ingram/Phillips/AVG & Chubb?
Hey Reza, well Ogbah was a bit unique in that he was the one who looked like the pure 4-3 defensive end on the roster, whereas the four players you mentioned are more like 3 outside linebackers -4 (peak defenders, if you prefer). I think ideally the Dolphins will find someone else to replace Ogbah and fill that pass-throwing role down the line.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest dolphin news and analysis throughout the year. Also, you can follow me on Twitter at @PoupartNFL, and that’s where you can ask questions for regular All Dolphins mailbags. You can also ask questions by emailing [email protected]