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Sunday Dolphins Mailbag: Right Tackle, Assistant Coaches, Offensive Line, and More

Tackling various issues on the minds of Miami Dolphins fans, from the linebacker room to which assistant coaches might make the biggest impact

Part 2 of this week's SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:

From Dave (@angryvet59):

Any new coaches (beside McDaniel) that you think will have biggest impact ? I'm thinking Madison/Surtain. Thanks for the great work, Alain.

First off, thanks, Dave. Second, yeah, Madison and Surtain certainly jump off the page when you look at the Dolphins coaching staff, specifically what they could do with Noah Igbinoghene in terms of refining his game. Darrell Bevell’s extensive experience as a coach also should do nothing but help Tagovailoa.

From John Fiorino (@jtwin17):

I’m wondering who do you see on punt returns this year? (KO returns are almost gone from the game) Also out of Eichenberg and Austin Jackson, who do you have more confidence in bouncing back with a better rebound year? Thanks.

Hey John, this is a popular question and I have to think the Dolphins will want to avoid using Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle or Jevon Holland as their punt returner because those guys are just too important to the offense and defense. This is where maybe Lynn Bowden Jr. earns a roster spot (as a sixth WR and punt returner) or if CFL import DeVonte Dedmon wows the coaches in training camp, maybe they go with him. Cedrick Wilson Jr. returned 11 punts for the Cowboys last year, so he obviously should be considered a possibility, though his average was only 3.3 yards. As for the Jackson-Eichenberg question, I’ll go back to saying that the scheme seems perfect for Jackson, so he would be my choice here.

From Brandon (@bcheat81):

Too early predictions for use of next year’s 1st round picks if Tua improves significantly?

Hey Brandon, this is a good question and obviously the best-case scenario for the Dolphins. As I look at the roster at this point, the Dolphins are going to need a top-flight cornerback at some point fairly soon, so that would be one position that could be addressed. For a second spot, I think it might look at linebacker (not an edge defender).

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From Tracy Brinson (via Facebook):

Can you please tell us what's up with Tanner Conner? 1. Was he released? 2. If not, how is he doing? 3. Is he practicing as a WR or TE? 4. Is he in the witness protection program? 

Hey Tracy, Tanner Conner is alive and well and, yes, he took part in the offseason program (the practices open to the media at least). Right after signing him, the Dolphins listed him as a tight end even though he played wide receiver at Idaho State and that’s where he worked during the practices open to the media. As for how he did, let’s just say he didn’t necessarily stand out one way or the other. He’s also got a tough road to making the roster given the team’s depth at tight end.

From Ken Dasher (@kdash65):

Hey Alain, it's been a while for me. Prog rock Q: I always felt like Asia was a total sellout by what should have been an amazing Prog band. Thoughts? Fins Q: Is our opening day starter at RT currently on our roster? If so, who?

Hey Ken, you know I always love the prog rock questions, but I’m afraid I’m not familiar enough with Asia’s full catalog to make a comment. As for your Fins question, I think those answers are yes and Austin Jackson.

From Sal (@TrendKillemAl):

Why is it so difficult for some people…ahem…to tell the difference between “hate” and/or “disrespect” and legitimate criticism?

Hey Sal, that is unfortunately kind of the way things are in 2022. And, no, I don’t get how a reluctance to predict greatness always has to be viewed as “hating” or “disrespecting.” The only time that fans would have a right to be upset is if there were personal shots taken at a player or any criticism/analysis of somebody’s play were unfair. I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever done, either, but I’m sure there are some fans out there who would disagree.

From Phinaholic (@dana_buice):

I was looking at the current roster. Although I wouldn’t say the linebacker room is loaded with talent. I would say some of the guys we cut will play in the NFL this year. How many linebackers spots will the Fins have this year, and if you’re feeling generous, who makes the team?

Hey Dana, good question as always. Let me first start by addressing this issue as off-the-ball linebackers and excluding edge defenders. The current players on the roster are Jerome Baker, Sam Eguavoen, Calvin Munson, Duke Riley, Elandon Roberts and Channing Tindall. My best guess is that as many as four of those players will make the 53-man roster, and I think that Munson and Eguavoen would be the two most vulnerable.