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Sunday Dolphins Mailbag: Outlook for Defense, Schedule, Potential Additions, andMore

Tackling various issues on the minds of Miami Dolphins fans, from the potential immediate impact of rookie Channing Tindall and others to the possibility of adding a veteran like Sony Michel or Akiem Hicks, with much more in between

A supersized SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag. Here we go:

From Reza Hariri (@Therealrezpect1):

I think Miami has done a nice job this offseason. Really hoping we can add some veteran leadership/more talent to this young team. Thoughts on possibilities of adding Tretter, Dunlap, Hicks and Michel or combination. Who would you say would be biggest priority?

Hey Reza, agree with you on all fronts. Having an interest in a veteran free agent or bringing somebody in for a visit doesn’t always equate to a signing, but I absolutely would expect the Dolphins to make an addition or two among the four players listed above. If I had to rank those four in terms of who I’d like to see the Dolphins sign, I’m thinking Tretter, Michel, Hicks, Dunlap.

From Chris Hyer, Ed.D. (@Chrishyer31):

In a McDaniel offense, what do you see as being the key piece(s) to move the offense? Is it next man up, or does it hinge on health of key players? Will scheme be changed each week based on defenses or do you think each week’s approach will be similar? … With the schedule being released May 12, what would excite you? (i.e Thanksgiving Day in Detroit? October prime time at LA? January in Buffalo?)

Hey Chris, several questions, so rapid-fire answers: Offensive success often hinges on the health of key players, and the most indispensable players as I see right now might be Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead, the two newcomers. I don’t believe the offense will vary very much from week to week the way it did under Brian Flores when the game plan seemed to be very specifically designed for the opponent. As for the schedule, I like the idea of playing at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day a lot more than any prime-time game (though that’s said purely from a professional standpoint because those make for very late nights). From a fan standpoint, a prime-time game against Buffalo on the final Sunday of the regular season would be awesome.

From Miguel Gonzalez (@MigzSwervin):

Would you agree with me that right tackle is still the glaring weak spot for this team? My hope is that either Eichenberg or Jackson have improved astronomically this offseason to solidify that spot…but unlikely IMO.

Hey Miguel, based on personnel, yeah, I think I’d have to agree with you that right tackle is the biggest question mark (I like that better than “weak spot”). But with this different scheme and all the options at right tackle, including Greg Little, Robert Jones and maybe even moving Robert Hunt back to right tackle, I’m not sure it’s quite the crisis you’re portraying.

From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):

Hey, Alain. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t ever hear much about Chase Edmonds. Are fans and media members unenthused about him? What are your thoughts on him? Thanks!

Hey Chris, it’s a valid question, though you also have to understand he was a No. 2 guy in Arizona and we’re still in May. So it’s not like he’s had the opportunity to do anything to dazzle Dolphins fans just yet. From my end, I do think it was a good pick-up, though we also shouldn’t necessarily expect him to come in here and be Alvin Kamara or somebody like that.

From Sal (@TrendKillemAll):

Many are excited about the QB prospects in the 2023 Draft, but I’m not as sure. At first glance, it appears to be more average guys playing in elite programs. If you’ve had the opportunity to assess, are there any QBs in the upcoming class that have the potential to be THE guy?

Hey Sal, you make an excellent point there and you can start with Alabama and Bryce Young and the question of just what kind of prospect he’d be at any other school. While I haven’t quite done a deep dive here, I’m very intrigued by Tyler Van Dyke from the University of Miami. He looks much more like a guy I could be excited about.

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From Paul Coleman (@CtGRAVEN):

Alain, do you think any rookies from this class will make the same type of impact that Philips, Waddle and Holland made last year ?

Hey Paul, I think the answer is a pretty clear no because of two main reasons. First, the three guys you mentioned were among the first 36 picks of the 2021 draft, whereas the Dolphins picked nobody before the 102nd selection this year. Two, there aren’t going to be quite as many opportunities for rookies to make a big impact right away in 2022 because the Dolphins roster has better depth.

From jorge Boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, I know it’s too early to tell but how do you think the LB Tindall will do in the Dolphins defense; will he be used as a blitzer or will he be able to cover in space too; how will he do against the run; will we see a sideline-to-sideline guy?

Hey Jorge, my expectation for Tindall in the early going is that he’s going to be used in obvious passing situations, where his speed can be used either as a blitzer or in coverage. As with every defensive rookie, the more he shows he can do the more he’ll be asked to do.

From J (@THATmiamiGUY28):

With Miami filling the must need position at MLB, where does that rank the Dolphins defense or how much better is the Dolphins defense?

Hey J, first off I’m not quite sure what you mean by “filling the must need position at MLB.” The reality is they probably will use Elandon Roberts most on early downs and then have rookie third-round pick Channing Tindall on passing downs, with other players sprinkled in. So … again … not quite sure what “filling the need” means. The Dolphins were 15th in the NFL in total defense (yards allowed) in 2021 and the hope is they can take a step forward. But let’s also not forget that they feasted on a lot of mediocre QBs last season (Mike Glennon, Ian Book, badly declining Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor first game back from an injury). The defense really is a question mark heading into the 2022 season. The outlook is promising, but not about to make grand predictions at this time.

From Rich McQuillen (@rkmcquillen):

Hi Alain, I'm still super-stoked about OT Diesch and OG Blaise. The WCO requires more athletic linemen and these 2 fit the bill. These UDFAs are taller and faster and more athletic than our starters; do you think they might be our new right-side starters?

Hey Rich, I’d put the odds of having two rookie UDFAs in the starting lineup on the offensive line at 0.03 percent. The odds of having even one rookie UDFA in the starting lineup are extremely remote at best. Nothing against any UDFA, but there’s a reason no team saw fit to draft them — and specific to Diesch and Blaise, if they were such great fits for a WCO offense, why didn’t any of the many teams that use that scheme draft them instead of taking the chance of losing them? Those are just facts. Lastly, it would be a massive surprise if Robert Hunt weren’t a starter on the right side of the line.

From Jason Romero (@acking123):

Hi Alain, I still think the Fins are missing another dominant nose tackle; have you heard anything about Akiem Hicks being signed?

Hey Jason, yes, Akiem Hicks would be a really nice addition, even though he’s not quite the dominant player he used to be after years of double teams and constant wear and tear. The one report that came out about Hicks and the Dolphins was the result of his agent Drew Rosenaus saying on his weekly South Florida TV appearances that he had had discussions with the Dolphins about both Hicks and edge defender Carlos Dunlap.

From FinznDawgs1984):

Thoughts on Miami potentially adding Sony Michel?

In very few words, love it! I think Michel would be a very good addition and probably would become the lead back of the committee. And if we’re talking about Dolphins running backs, let’s remember that Raheem Mostert is coming off a very serious knee injury and he’s not back to 100 percent yet.