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Tuesday Dolphins Mailbag: Tua, Fisher, Defense, and More

How long before Eric Fisher can contribute? Should Byron Jones publicly clarify his situation? Why was Tua off target at San Francisco? Those and other questions from Miami Dolphins fans

Part 1 of the post-49ers game SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:

From Rob Hellenbrand (@dolfanrob1):

I was wondering if you could compare Eric Fisher with Austin Jackson. Do you see a basic upgrade there?

Hey Rob, it’s a good question and it depends which Eric Fisher you’re getting. If you’re getting peak K.C. Eric Fisher, he would represent a clear upgrade at tackle for the Dolphins (outside of Terron Armstead, of course). If you’re getting Colts Eric Fisher, who was coming back from a torn Achilles tendon and kinda struggled in pass protection, it becomes debatable. Now, we have to add the fact that he hasn’t played at all in 2022 and it would be wise to limit our expectations at this time while obviously hoping for the best outcome.

From Jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, what do you think about Eric Fisher? Is he a better tackle than we have at the moment, not counting Armstead of course. Will he play left or right tackle? Will he play at all?

Hey Jorge, for an assessment of Fisher, see the previous answer. As to whether he’ll play left or right tackle, I’d say it will be either given that he has experience at both spots — though a lot more on the left side. As to whether he’ll play at all, I’d call that a definitive yes, otherwise the Dolphins wouldn’t have bothered signing him to the active roster.

From Big Ern McDolphin (@dana_buice):

The Dolphins defense continues to be underwhelming on the road. I know they were put in some bad positions by the offense this week. They weren’t terrible, but against a third-string QB getting his first extended playing time, I expected more. Do you have any theories as to why?

Hey Dana, funny you should ask because I asked Mike McDaniel that very question during his Zoom media session Monday. His answer is that there were other variables involved, such as facing better offenses on the road and the Dolphins offense committing more turnovers on the road. So, for the record, the home opponents have been NE, BUF, MIN, PIT, CLE and HOU, and the road opponents have been BALT, CIN, NYJ, DET, CHI and SF. As for turnovers, the Dolphins have four in their six home games, compared to 11 in their six road games. So those are both valid arguments. But, by the same token, the four games where the defense has held opponents under 300 yards all have been at home, and that includes Minnesota (very good offense) and Cleveland (not a bad offense). And then the defense has 11 takeaways at home this season, but only one on the road (Xavien Howard’s pick at SF on Sunday). So there has been a clear difference that can’t all be explained by tougher opponents on the road, and this is where maybe the crowd comes into play, or maybe it’s something as simple as the South Florida heat hurting opposing offenses and helping the Dolphins defense at home.




From mikethewreck (mgcroteau):

Do you think the ESPN statements saying the best way to win the game was to hurt Tua and then being without the starting tackles affected Tua in some way? It looked to me like he was playing scared and I hadn't seen that in a while.

Hey Mike, only Tua would know the answer to that question and whether he played scared, though I didn’t see it. More than that, it would be a major indictment on him if that were the case because if your quarterback gets affected to that extent by exterior comments or not having his starting tackles, then you’ve got a major problem at the position.

From Wade Tripp (@WadeTripp1):

What do you think of the recent roster move?

Hey Wade, have to say I like it because it’s one of those low-risk/potentially high-reward situations. Eric Fisher once was a very solid tackle in the NFL and if he can regain anywhere close to that form, that would make for a hell of a pick-up for the Dolphins at this time of year.

From Mario Gonzalez (@MarioGo67676156):

Should Byron Jones do some sort of press conference? We have no idea what progress he's making/not making. He has not commented one time, leaving us full of doubt.

Hey Mario, believe me, I hear where you’re coming from and all of us in the media in South Florida are as frustrated about all the mystery as anybody. I would love for him to provide some clarity about his situation, even if it’s just through Twitter or Instagram (and, remember, he posted a picture of himself after having surgery in the offseason), but he certainly isn’t the first player to stay quiet in this type of situation.

From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):

Hey Alain, why do you think so many of Tua’s passes misfired high? How confident are you that this will get corrected by the time he faces the Chargers on Sunday Night? Thanks.

Hey Chris, there were mechanical issues with Tua in terms of setting his feet properly on a few of his throws and then on others he just overshot his receiver. It happens to every quarterback, not just Tua. I do believe his accuracy will be back against a Chargers defense that’s not nearly as good as that of the 49ers.

From David Nastali (@DNastali):

Not an injury question per se, but rhetoric with EE signing was that he was going to be a big addition this year. Seems like a miss if he’s that incapable of learning what he needs to get on the field.

Hey David, I totally get the frustration with Erik Ezukanma, but let’s remember that he was drafted in the fourth round. Had he been a sure-fire first-year contributor who could make a difference right away, he wouldn’t have lasted that long. The problem for EE and fan expectations was that he looked so impressive at times in camp and in the preseason games. I certainly wouldn’t give up on him just yet.

From DolFan (@DolFan4L1fe):

Tua mentioned that the timing on some routes were off on Sunday. Did the 49ers do something to throw off those timing routes?

Hey there, there was nothing I noticed watching the game Sunday that jumped out at me and nothing else changed my mind upon re-watching it Monday, though the 49ers did play more zone coverage than most opponents. The truth is there were plenty of plays to be made in the passing game and Tua was just off.

From Chris Flett (@cdflett):

How quickly will Eric Fisher start to contribute on the field? I think it took Shell a couple of weeks to play. Ndamukong Suh, on the other hand, started playing right away for the Eagles.

Hey Chris, I think the fact the Dolphins signed Fisher to the active roster instead of the practice squad should be an indication the expectations are different for him than they were for Brandon Shell or anybody else first signed to the practice squad. I’m not sure about playing the same week he signs as Suh did for the Eagles, but it also wouldn’t surprise me very much.

From Dixon Tam (@DixonTam):

#Dolphins defense was very strong at end of last year. So far, it's been underwhelming. Did McDaniel make a mistake by keeping Boyer or are injuries (Howard, Ogbah, Byron Jones, Needham, Brandon Jones) to blame for the regression? If Boyer is fired, would Fangio be good fit?

Hey Dixon, I think it would be unfair not to mention the injuries, particularly when it comes to Byron Jones because he was so important vital to what Boyer likes to do on defense. Let’s also not forget that the defense was the biggest reason the Dolphins beat New England, Pittsburgh, Houston and probably Buffalo (despite giving up a lot of yards). More consistency obviously would be ideal, but it’s not like it’s been a total disaster either.

From James Sonny Burnett (@JamesBurnett11):

How many weeks before you think Fisher will be able to make a difference?

Hey James, that’s a popular and very good question, and I wouldn’t think it would take very long. I might go as far as to say it wouldn’t floor me at all if he ended up being active for the game against the Chargers this weekend.


Liam Eichenberg flying to California or staying in Miami?

Hey Max, Liam Eichenberg indeed is with the team in California. Mike McDaniel said Friday he didn’t have a timetable for his return from injured reserve.


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