Dolphins Mailbag: Foster, Flores, More Howard

How the Dolphins will use Jaylen Waddle and other wide receiver questions are among the topics tackled
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Part 2 of the latest SI All Dolphins mailbag as the team arrives at its first break of training camp:

From Ricky DeJoy (@DeJoy83):

With Waddle, Fuller, Parker and Albert Wilson locks to make team, who do you think final two WR make it between Grant, Foster, Hollins, Williams, Bowden or Merritt?

Very good question, Ricky, and it's going to be a really tough call for the Dolphins. From what I've seen in the spring and early in camp, I just don't see how you can cut Foster, but it's only practice. I think Hollins makes the team because of his special teams contributions and I'll go with Bowden as the sixth.

From James “Sonny” Burnett (@JamesBurnett11):

Is Foster going to take Hollins' job, or Williams' job?

If he produces in the preseason the way he's looked in practice, he's taking somebody's job, that's for sure. But I don't think he takes Hollins' job because Hollins is really good on special teams. Williams is an X-factor because of his injury issues.

From rob hellebrand (@dolfanrob1):

When I see Brian Flores in interviews, he's often searching for words/ hesitant in his speaking, while being respected for his directness. Is there a different side of Coach Flores than what we see in interviews, or do the players just respond well to the person that we see?

Rob, you are right on point that Flores is very measured in his media statements and there is absolutely no doubt the Flores you see in interviews and press conferences is different than what the players see on a daily basis. But also understand Flores is far from the only coach where that applies.

From Paul Hendricksen (@phendricksen):

I know it’s only been a week. We haven’t even put on pads yet. But who has impressed you so far on both offense & defense?

I addressed this is my Week 1 observations of training camp on both offense and defense, but I'll give you one name on each side of the ball, and that's wide receiver Robert Foster on defense and linebacker Brennan Scarlett on defense.

From Frank F (ffiorino1):

Will they have Waddle involved in the return game? Or will it depend on if they keep Grant?

Frank, I just don't see how you don't use Waddle as a returner given how dynamic he is at it. And that's why many observers have a hard time seeing Grant keep his spot on the roster. But, yes, if the Dolphins do keep Grant on the roster, then it makes sense to use him as the returner to save Waddle for the offense.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, how is Waddle coming along in training camp, is he still limping, do yo foresee a role for Waddle in the starting offense, do you see him also playing special teams?

Since I've already addressed the return game issue, I'll focus here on the offense and I absolutely expect Waddle to be a starter, most likely in the slot or possibly at times even split out wide. He's had a couple of drops in practice so far, but nothing dramatic and his speed and ability to get open are pretty impressive. As for a limp, yeah, don't see it — although he did get up slowly after one play last week.

From Dave (@angryvet59):

I'm an old guy & remember the Don Shula days of no drama (Tim McKyer). I see a similarly in Coach Flo. Thoughts?

Oh, no question, Flores' tolerance for difficult players is similar to that of Shula. For those not old enough to remember (I'm an old guy like you, Dave), McKyer was a really, really good cornerback the Dolphins got in a trade with San Francisco in 1990 and he turned in a very good season that helped Miami finish 12-4. But McKyer also had a strong personality (to put it mildly) and Shula ended up trading him to Atlanta after one year.

From InTUAwetruss (@KWofTHATTRYBE):

After watching the secondary look suspect in practice w/o Xavien Howard, do you think the Miami Dolphins front office and owner Stephen Ross will come to their senses and upgrade his pay? 

Let's start by saying that it's not necessarily all about pay for Howard but also structure (too much money on the back end, no guarantees after this year) that's got him dissatisfied with his contract. I'm torn on how I think this will play out because I don't think the situation would have lasted this long if the Dolphins were willing to give in, but on the other hand this is team that could be in a position to get back into the playoffs in 2021 and that obviously would be a lot easier to achieve with Howard in the lineup. It's my hope that something gets worked out eventually.