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Dolphins Mailbag: Tua Talk, UFA Forecast, Waddle's Award Chances, and More

Tackling various topics on the minds of Dolphins fans

Here's Part 1 of the latest SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag following the Week 12 victory against the Carolina Panthers:

From Dixon Tam (@DixonTam):

How do you see Eric Rowe's future with the #Dolphins now that Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones have seemingly surpassed him on the depth chart? Bonus question: What's your prediction for Christian Wilkins' future with Miami? Will they pick up his option? He's having a great year.

Hey Dixon, good question about Rowe. He’s got one year left beyond this season and there would be a $4.6 million cap savings if the Dolphins were to let him go next offseason. It’s certainly easy to see that happening given the progress made by Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland this year. There’s also nothing wrong with having great depth in the secondary. As for Wilkins, I absolutely do see the Dolphins picking up his fifth-year option.

From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):

Hey, Alain. Some people feel hopeful with Tua’s high completion percentage. However, other people see Tua’s short passing game (inability to push the ball downfield) as cause for concern. Which camp do you fall into?

Hey Chris, it’s a great question and I fall into the camp that the Dolphins are doing a great job of playing to Tua’s strengths, which is short and intermediate accuracy and a quick release. I don’t see the lack of a downfield passing game as a cause for concern because I’m not sure that’s ever going to be Tua’s forte and the Dolphins also haven't needed it lately. And the bottom line is it’s working right now, even though the offense isn’t putting up huge numbers (and, no, the high completion percentage does not count as big numbers).

From Jeff Welt (@funnesquire):

Hey Jeff, I noticed that Phillips played a lot of snaps inside. Either next to AVG or Ogbah. Do you think this was installed for this game or will we see this more going forward?

Hey Jeff, this wasn’t the first time they’ve used Phillips inside on clear passing situations with usually Van Ginkel outside of him. And I absolutely see the Dolphins continuing to do that considering how well it’s worked in recent weeks.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, to what do you attribute Mike Gesicki not getting many passes thrown to him in the last couple of games? Is it because he is playing more outside than playing the slot? Is he being covered by a cornerback instead of a LB or a safety?

Hey Jorge, understand that Gesicki is a key component of the Dolphins passing game, so it makes sense for opposing defenses to focus on him. He’s seeing a wide variety of coverages these days and, yes, that has included getting covered by a corner. That’s more of the issue that Gesicki lining up outside.

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From Dolfandave (@dolfandave):

Do you think we keep both Gesicki and Ogbah for 2022+?

Hey Dave, good question. I’m leaning toward both being re-signed but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk in either case. Of the two, I’d feel more confident about Ogbah being back than Gesicki, though.

From Mike Small (@realmikesmall):

For all the grief we give Chris Grier for the 2020 draft, do we have to give credit for 2021? Waddle, Holland and Phillips appear to be elite!

Hey Mike, this is more of a statement than a question, but I absolutely would agree with it.

From Reza Hariri (@Therealrezpect1):

Offensively we are very predictable with our targets Waddle, Gesicki and check-downs to Gaskin & Smythe. We have sprinkled in a few bubble screens to Wilson. Do you see the RPO evolving using Hollins and Williams on slants and spreading the ball more when/if Parker & Fuller come back?

Hey Reza, based on what we saw last year, I absolutely would expect to see some slants going in Parker’s direction once (if) he comes back. Williams was used on slants last year, but he’s been a non-factor this year and hasn’t been used that way (though Waddle has more than made up for that). As for Fuller, I’m not sure his strengths play to Tua’s strengths, which is why I don’t think his prolonged absence has been a big deal at all.

From Enc_PhinsFan (@SBW82):

I don’t recall how many times Tua was sacked or under duress, but it seemed like he had at least a little more time to throw than usual. Is that the O-line coming together or Tua reading through his progressions faster?

Hey there, it’s a combination of many factors, including Tua getting rid of the ball very quickly to receivers who are getting open. There have been a few instances of Tua getting enough time to go through his progressions, but the biggest factor has been the quick passing game.

From Joshua A. Etienne (@JoshuaAEtienne):

Think Jaylen Waddle beat out Mac Jones for OROY?

Hi Joshua, barring a really remarkable finish by him and a bit of a collapse by Jones, I don’t see it happening. My bigger question (and maybe of bigger interest from a Dolphins standpoint) is whether Waddle ends up with the most votes among the big three wide receivers (him, Chase and Smith).