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Sunday Dolphins Mailbag: Prepping for the 49ers Game

What's the best way to attack the San Francisco defense? What are the alternatives on the offensive line? Those and other questions from Miami Dolphins fans

Part 3 of the pre-49ers game SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:

From Edward Thruston (@edfins13):

What do you think is the best way to attack the 49ers defense to win the game???? I Think there will be a lot of quick passes....

Hey Edward, yeah, for sustained success, I think the quick passing has to be highlighted, but the Dolphins would be foolish not to take a shot or two down the field when they’ve got that crazy speed outside with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

From Chip Paucek (@chippaucek):

My mailbag question: Yes, I know the offense is great. Even without Armstead, I have confidence they will figure it out. But what has me more excited than a great Eddie Van Halen guitar solo is the defense. Is it ascending the way I think it is or is that just me being a total homer? Chubb with Phillips, Ingram and AVG seems to change the way the whole thing comes together.

Hey Chip, love the EVH reference (always enjoy mixing music and football)! I do believe there’s reason to be enthusiastic about what the defense could do down the stretch with the edge-rushing group the Dolphins have assembled, but there’s one hurdle that needs to be cleared in my eyes, and that’s putting together a dominant outing on the road. The Dolphins have had some good performances on defense this season, but all of them (NE, BUF despite the yards given up, PIT) have come at home.

From Jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, do you think Mike McDaniel is going to adjust the offense with quick passes to offset the 49ers pass rush or will he stick with what has worked so far, which could possibly put Tua in danger. Will the Dolphins be able to get away with a dink-and-dunk offense?

Hey Jorge, I am always confident in McDaniel’s ability to come up with something creative and I’m pretty sure he’ll have a good plan in place in the event Terron Armstead can’t play to deal with the 49ers pass rush — even if he does play. I do expect the Dolphins to take some shots downfield during the game, though it also would figure they’d emphasize the quick-passing game more.

From Kyle Ontis (@DolphinsSwag618):

If the 49ers run the same type of running scheme as the Dolphins, wouldn't we just prepare to play ourselves in that sense?

Hey Kyle, pretty much. And it works the same the other way around. But this is where playing against tendency can work in a coach’s favor here. And, also, the bottom line is it’s one thing to have an idea what’s coming in, you still have to win your battles physically to stop it.




From Jeff (via email):

Hey Alain, I just finished listening to an interview you had done talking about the status of the team. You discussed a few topics, but what I noticed was your enthusiasm talking about matchups and how the teams compared this week. What is your favorite thing to discuss when it comes to football? What is your niche in your view when it comes to covering the game? Second question if I may... Have we heard anything about the team staying on the West Coast for the next 3 games? Do you think it actually matters?

Hey Jeff, answering last thing first, the Dolphins are staying on the West Coast between the games against the 49ers and Chargers and then coming home before flying back out to Buffalo. And it absolutely does make sense to do that. As for the other question, which I appreciate and find very interesting, I think my niche would be finding stats applicable to a certain matchup and then also putting context to certain stats on the surface can be manipulated to support a viewpoint.

From Mario Gonzalez (@MarioGo76776156):

Which one do you prefer the most, chip blocking, screen passes or max protection?

Hey Mario, I’m flattered that you want to know which one I prefer because Mike McDaniel didn’t even bother asking me. LOL. Of the three options you mentioned, I’m a fan of screen passes when it’s done well as a way to slow down a pass rush, but it's gotta be executed well. The Dolphins already do a lot of wide receiver screens, but I wouldn’t mind them incorporating more running back screens moving forward.

From Joe Burns (via email):

Hi Alain, thanks for the great coverage and unbelievable insight and for the taking the time to answer our questions, much appreciated. My question is with Armstead out, why move Shell from right tackle when has played pretty solid all year? Why not have Austin Jackson take over left tackle duties? A. It is his natural position B. It’s not Tua’s blind side C. It involves the least amount of disruption on the line from the previous five weeks. Just a thought. I know there is no replacing Terron but I think the least amount of moving parts the better.

Hey Joe, first off, thanks. And you make a very solid point in regards to the Shell/Jackson situation in replacing Armstead, but the one element you left out is that Jackson likely practiced only at right tackle during the Houston week and Shell likely practiced with the starters at left tackle with Armstead missing a good chunk of the reps because of his toe injury. I think that supersedes everything else and if there was a full week of practice before your scenario would emerge, then maybe Jackson would be on the left side.

From Brandon Quinn (via email):

Next two weeks with no #72 or 73 has my Fins anxiety through the roof. Still think it was a mistake to cut Kindley over Deiter, for this exact scenario. Shell can handle RT, and I’d love to be able to bump Hunt outside the next two weeks - but we can’t fill his spot. Should we just bench Tua against the Bosas the next two weeks simply to protect him for the more winnable games with 72 back? LOL. If not, give me some reasons to hope Alain! Bonus - any PS flyer type interest in newly released (again) Abram to fill the Brandon Jones role?

Hey Brandon, yeah, LOL indeed. Here are your reasons for hope. First, Armstead might not even miss two weeks because he’s not even been ruled out of the 49ers game yet. Second, Mike McDaniel is a creative savant (to use the words he used himself while talking about Tua) who likely will come up with some sort of game plan and scheme to make up for the absence of Armstead if he indeed has to miss time. Lastly, not exactly sure why you’re missing Kindley because, no offense, he’s such a valuable player that he's not on anybody’s 53-man roster right now. As for Abram for the P.S., that’s a no for me. Ask yourself why two teams have cut him in recent weeks.


Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Dolphins news and analysis year-round. Also, you can follow me on Twitter at @PoupartNFL, and that's where you can ask questions for the regular All Dolphins mailbags. You also can ask questions via email at