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Thursday Dolphins Mailbag: Wilkins for Pro Bowl, Sanders' Struggles, and More

Should Jeff Wilson Jr. get more carries? Can the Dolphins end up with the No. 2 seed in the AFC? Can the offense drive a playoff run? Those and other questions (and answers) from fans

Thursday edition of a bye-week-long supersized SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:

From Phillip Rhodes “mindcrime@fosstodon.org (@mindcrime);

Now that the Dolphins carry a true FB on the roster, what are the odds of Wilkins getting any more snaps on offense? What are the odds of a play designed for Robert Hunt to carry the ball (legally)?

Hey Phillip, I’m afraid that if you’re hoping to see Wilkins or Hunt line up in the backfield anytime soon, you’re going to be out of luck. Precisely because the Dolphins have a fullback — and Alec Ingold has been effective — there’s no reason to use either guy back there, especially when they’re so valuable at their actual position.

From Mike Jones (@MikeJonesFla):

Is there any info on the severity of the injury to Trey Flowers, and is it possible he returns relatively soon?

Hey Mike, funny you should ask because we (the media) asked Mike McDaniel about Trey Flowers on Monday. His response was that Flowers’ return wasn’t imminent, but that he wasn’t yet ruled out for the season. So I’d personally treat this case as don’t count on it, but it’s a nice bonus if it happens.

From Robert Elmer (@AcatlOcelotl):

Going into the bye, are we still a Defensive Team, as McDaniel originally said, an offensive team or can we finally be considered a full team (albeit in potential need of a kicker)?

Hey Robert, I’d say the Dolphins are very close to being a full team, though maybe we can get picky and say the defense needs a few more good performances to get there. Of the two, the Dolphins clearly would be more an offensive team at this point.

From Brian Lipman (@lipman):

A twofer: 1) Does Christian Wilkins have enough respect across the league to make the Pro Bowl for the Pro Bowl calendar season he’s having? 2) Are you surprised Durham Smythe isn’t a bigger part of the offense?

Hey Brian, Christian Wilkins absolutely has a case for making the Pro Bowl in 2022 because he’s been playing at that level. I’d say right now that Jeffery Simmons and Chris Jones are pretty solid bets to make it as AFC defensive tackles, and I’d put Wilkins right in the mix for the third and final spot. As for Smythe, he is a factor in the offense but mostly as a blocker, which is exactly what should have been expected once it was clear the offense was built around the speed that’s been amassed.

From Tony Giles (@Tgiles1968):

Alain - Appreciate all your work. Best Dolphins reads going IMO. Now, obviously McDaniel doesn't trust Sanders, or he wouldn't go for it as often on 4th down. Does McD just ride it out the rest of the season and bring in competition next year?

Hey Tony, first off, thanks. Second, I’m not so sure that McDaniel is going on fourth down as often as he is because of Sanders instead of because it’s just his nature to be very aggressive. Remember that he went for it on fourth-and-1 from the DOLPHINS 36 on their very first drive against Cleveland. I do think the Dolphins will ride out the season with Sanders as their kicker in the hopes he regains his form and it would take a lot for them to move on from him less than two years after signing him to a big contract extension.

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From Lets Go! (Finsfan1399):

Will Byron Jones get released next year with the young talent drafted? I understand he’s an elite talent, but after the injury we don’t know.

Hey there, I’m not sure young talent drafted will have as much to do with Jones’ future as the Dolphins maybe deciding they’d rather have the cap space — more than $14 million as a post-June 1 cut, per overthecap.com. It’s possible the Dolphins will keep Jones, but if they don't, I’d say it would be because of financial considerations.

From NY – Fins Up (@azomback34):

How do most NFL players stay game ready thru a bye week. I realize they desperately need to give their bodies rest. But two weeks seems like a long time to not face opponents at game speed.

Hey there, players could lounge around for the whole bye and I don’t think them being game-ready after that would be a major issue. That would be the least of my concerns, to be quite honest.

From Big Ern McDolphin (@dana_buice):

Hey my friend, the Dolphins currently hold the second seed in the AFC. What are the chances they can hold on to it or even improve upon it?

Hey Dana, I’d say that based upon the last three games, the chances look very good for at least the No. 2 seed, right? Of course, one could say the beat three teams with a combined record of 9-19, so maybe we should be careful about overestimating them. But they also looked so very good on offense in all three games. So … not sure about the seeding, but I feel pretty comfortable in saying that the Dolphins will make the playoffs — and considering that hasn’t happened since the 2016 season, that’s a great place to start.

From Pedro Rodriguez (@PedroRo26754218):

Alain, is there a DB out there we can still go out and get? Even from a practice squad. Still have concerns with our secondary, even more now with Obgah gone, and Crossen hurt. Doesn’t look like Byron Jones will be back at all this year.

Hey Pedro, I will tell you what I always say in situations like these: Outside of luring somebody (Joe Haden?) fresh out of retirement, anybody you sign right now is somebody deemed not good enough to be on a 53-man roster, so what kind of contribution can you honestly expect from that player? And I’m not so sure I’d write off the idea of Byron Jones coming back this season just yet.

From Cliff Wagner (@HerePromotions):

Jeff Wilson, his speed from the handoff to past the DL, don't remember seeing that from any RB, even Raheem; maybe he should be getting more carries? Sanders 2020 also had the continuity of Haack for 3 years. Perhaps the issue is in the holders? … Will we be seeing Raheem in concussion protocol? When he got hit that last play, he looked woozy and he didn't come back in the game at all — not even to return kicks. Didn't see anything on that.

Hey Cliff, I didn’t notice anything in the game with Mostert, though can confirm his last carry came in the third quarter. And after seeing your question I went back and rewatched the broadcast, but I didn’t see anything on that last run that would suggest a concussion — at all. Wilson and Mostert will be splitting carries pretty evenly, I would think, unless one of them really looks in a groove in a particular game, in which case that player will be featured more. That was the case against the Browns when Wilson had 17 carries and Mostert had eight (again, no injury was reported in the press box when it comes to Mostert). Finally, punters come and go in the NFL, which means that kickers have to adjust to new holders. It’s something that Thomas Morstead has done for a long time, and I’m not aware of any past issues with him in that department. And the truth is that Jason Sanders didn’t have a great year in 2019 (23-of-29 on field goals) and Matt Haack was his holder for that season.

From Chris Roney (@ChrisRoney0):

The run game appears to have gotten a boost from Jeff Wilson and the apparent upgrades on OL of Jones and Shell over Eichenberg and Jackson. Can this offense carry the team to a playoff run if the run game looks even close to what it was vs Cleveland?

Hey Chris, the offense most definitely can carry this team if the running game becomes anywhere near as potent as the passing game. I mean, look at this way, if the Cleveland game was a sign of things to come for the run game, how do you stop this offense? But this was one game and the key will be doing it consistently while maintaining the efficiency in the passing game. And then if the defense chips in and starts creating turnovers, look out!

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