Dolphins Mailbag: Center Forecast, Preston's Status, and More

Answering questions from Dolphins fans on topics ranging from the offensive line, to matching up with Buffalo, to roster competition at center and wide reciever
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From Rémi “Coach Ray” Lesot (LeCoachRay):

Is it possible to evaluate OL and DL play during the Minicamp. (Without pads and contact) ? What does the OL play look like ?

Bonjour Rémi. The short answer is not really because linemen just flat out don't go full speed in minicamp and there are no pads. Sure, you can see how looks really fit, who maybe jumps off the ball really quickly, but that's very limited. For that reason, it's unfair for me to even offer any kind of opinion as to what the offensive line looks like at this point.

From Gunga Din (@fins66):

We need to beat the Bills to win the division … realistically … where do you see matchup issues?

The big matchup issues last year came down to the Dolphins defensive backs simply having no answers for the Bills receivers, specifically Stefon Diggs in the home opener and Isaiah McKenzie in the finale. The Dolphins lost Byron Jones early in that Week 2 game and that clearly didn't help, but there were no such excuses in the finale after the Miami actually played well in the first quarter. Getting more pressure on Josh Allen obviously would help, but he also can hurt the Miami defense with his scrambling. So, more than anything, it comes down to the Miami secondary really having to step up against Buffalo.

The Naked Isaiah (@jefflintz):

What's the situation at center? Can you tell us who is getting first team reps?

The Dolphins' media policy from OTAs and minicamp prevents me from revealing who lines up where and who got the first-team reps. What I can tell you is I would expect quite the battle for the starting center job among free agent pick-up Matt Skura, third-year player Michael Deiter and offseason acquisition Cameron Tom.

From Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina):

Here’s one for you that I put to Mike D.: Thus far Brian Flores has been one of the more successful branches of the BB coaching tree. What do you attribute that to?

Great question from the publisher of SI sister site Giants Country asked to Patriot Maven editor Mike D'Abate. It's pretty clear by now that Flores has succeeded where previous Belichick proteges like Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia failed, and maybe the easy answer is that Flores is simply a better coach. That said, McDaniels and Patrick have great reputations as football minds, but it's safe to say they weren't necessarily great at managing players. That might be the bigger key to Flores' superior success.

From Monsell Darville (@MADarville):

Is Solomon Kindley going to eat himself out of the NFL or is the extra weight muscle? He did not move his feet well last year to begin with. Concerned!

Concerned too. I'm not exactly sure Kindley was much bigger than he was last year, but he definitely was big and I would say that from where I stood in the bleachers at the practice facility in the open practices, his size looked problematic.

From Eric Sloss (@EricSloss1383):

What do you see happening in the WR race? I would think Fuller, Parker and Waddle are sure things. I believe the rest will be P. Williams, Bowden and either Hurns/Wilson. Some people think Williams is on the bubble. I find that ludicrous.

Eric, there was a time when I would have dismissed the idea of Williams being on the bubble, but the reality is he missed half of his two NFL seasons and we didn't see him do anything in the five practices open to the media in the spring. Plus he doesn't play special teams and the Dolphins have great depth at WR. So I don't think he's a slam dunk anymore. I have to think that Mack Hollins and/or Robert Foster will make the team because of what they bring on special teams. If I were to guess right now, I'd say Fuller, Parker and Waddle are locks, and then three among Hollins, Foster, Bowden and Wilson.

From Ken Dasher (@kdash65):

Which new player on the Dolphins (rookie or veteran) has caught your eye the most in the practices you have seen? Why?

This is a nice follow-up to the previous question because the one newcomer who really caught my eye in the practices we saw (three OTAs, one full minicamp practice, and the start of another before it was moved inside) was Foster. I really liked the way he moved and he caught pretty much everything thrown his way in 7-on-7 and team drills. Among the rookies, Jaelan Phillips just looks the part. It's not like he did a ton, but the way he moves for his size is impressive to watch.

From s. (@s85844417):

Any possibility the Phins take a look a Duke Johnson?

Because the Dolphins put in a waiver claim (unsuccessfully) for Kerryon Johnson, that tells me they're not done looking to beef up the running back corps. Duke Johnson has value as a third-down back and I could see the Dolphins looking in his direction at some point, particularly if they have an injury at running back.

From Adam Gomez (@mexdolfan):

Any chance Doaks could become new starter?

Hi Adam, is there a chance seventh-round pick Gerrid Doaks could become a starter as a rookie? I never say never, but I would say it's an extremely small chance. And I mean, extremely small.