What is the deal with the Dolphins?

This is what I love about Bloguin: The site has a community of many talented writers, who all write about a specific pro sports team. So, Cody Strahm, a writer for the Dolphins site on reached out to me. The site is called Phins Phocus and you can read it here at Anyways, his idea was for us to email each other five questions regarding our teams and then we would post the answers on each other’s site. Now, if you want to read my answers to Cody’s questions, just check out his site on Wednesday morning.

So, without further ado, here are the questions I submitted to Phins Phocus and Cody’s responses:

1) The Dolphins had a respectable 44 sacks last year, but, the team lost Joey Porter and Jason Taylor (16 sacks combined). Who are going to be the players to turn up the heat on the quarterbacks this year?

Answer: I was fully behind Joey Porter’s release. His production dropped off considerably last season, he had honestly become a liability against the run, and he was becoming a locker room distraction. Cameron Wake, who is locked in as the starter at weakside outside linebacker, has all the potential in the world as a pass rusher.

He had a hard time getting on the field on early downs last year because he still was raw in the other aspects of the position. Now, he seems to be finally grasping how to play the run and the game is beginning to slow down for him. That should pave the way for Wake to lead the team in sacks this season, and possibly be the next Elvis Dumervil in Mike Nolan’s scheme.

The strong side is where I’m concerned, at least as far as pass rushing goes. It appears 2nd round pick Koa Misi will split time with 3-4 defensive end convert Ikaika Alama-Francis. Alama-Francis will probably get more reps on early downs, being more stout against the run, and Misi will likely get the nod on passing situations. Neither one has flashed much rushing the passer though.

Mike Nolan’s exotic blitz packages, which have yet to be seen because he didn’t want to tip his hand in the preseason, will bring the heat from everywhere. Expect Karlos Dansby to get after the quarterback frequently, and even the corners and safeties to come on occasion.

2) Miami’s big offseason pick-up, Brandon Marshall, had an interesting preseason. If you only watched the highlights on Sportscenter, the guy seemed to drop a ton of passes. Not to mention, he said he was going to try out for the NBA if there’s a lockout in the NFL for 2011. Are you concerned about his drops and mindset being a factor for his overall game?

Answer: While Marshall’s drops have been disappointing and frustrating, I’m not very concerned at all. The guy didn’t suddenly forget how to catch the ball. I think three straight 100+ reception seasons and a 21 catch game last year overshadows a few drops in the preseason. As far as the whole NBA talk, I was a little upset at first, but I think it’s just something you have to live with, with a personality like Marshall’s. Of course, there is a line you don’t want him to cross, but as far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t crossed it with anything he’s said or done since coming to Miami.

3) How has Ronnie Brown looked in the preseason and do you see Ricky Williams role being diminished?

Answer: Ronnie Brown has struggled a little bit this preseason, averaging a mere 2.1 yards per carry. But the interior O-line’s struggles have burdened most of the blame. Ricky wasn’t doing a whole lot better, only averaging around 3 yards per attempt before he broke off a 42 yard run against the Cowboys last Thursday night. In all fairness to both, the Dolphins haven’t exactly been pounding the rocklike they will in an actual game, though. I don’t envision the workload to differ much from last season (pre-Ronnie injury). At the most, I see maybe a 60-40 ratio advantage for Brown

4) What is your take on Chad Henne? It seems like a lot of fans have already termed him as being a franchise quarterback, yet, he’s only played a handful of games. 

Answer: Chad Henne certainly hasn’t proved he’s a franchise quarterback…yet. He did show enough potential last year for the team to keep investing in him like he is one, though. He possesses superb arm strength, but struggles a bit with the short to intermediate passes that require touch. I think we have to hold off judgment until we see him play with a complete arsenal of weapons. He still has the elite ground attack, but Brandon Marshall gives him the go-to threat this offense lacked last year.

5) How do Dolphins fans view the Bills as a rival? During the 90’s, the match-up between both teams was at a fever pitch in the NFL. You could make the case that it was the premiere rival in the AFC. Now, it seems like the rivalry has cooled off. Is that the case in Miami? Is there still bad blood for your fans towards us?

Answer: There’s no doubt the rivalry isn’t what it used to be. I think the Jets have been this franchises biggest rival for the past decade, and with Rex Ryan at the helm, it’s easier than it’s ever been to hate them. The younger generation of Dolphins fans undoubtedly have the Patriots next in line because of the chokehold they’ve had on this division in recent years. But those that remember the 90’s still have some bad blood for the Bills, it just takes a back seat to the rivalries that have been picking up steam lately.


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The Lord of Buffalo Wins