The latest SI Fan Nation mailbag features a wide variety of questions (and answers) on topics ranging from the struggles of the defense, the NFL trading deadline, Tua Tagovailoa and, of course, the possibility of a Deshaun Watson trade.
Here's part 2:
From Rich Lowry (@Richard16263469):
Alain do you think Tua's arm can hold up against cold windy weather teams like Buffalo, New England? I know they have a pretty easy schedule involving any real cold weather games this year. I just feel like Tua's balls he throws have some serious hang time.
Hey Rich, that absolutely would be a concern and it would likely result in even more short passing game than we’re already seeing.
From Jim Ryan (@jdryan5000):
Can this organization fix the O-line?
Hey Jim, that they haven’t yet certainly isn’t for lack of trying, at least when it comes to the draft. Since 2019, the Dolphins have drafted Michael Deiter, Isaiah Prince, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Solomon Kindley, Liam Eichenberg and Larnel Coleman. That’s a lot of draft capital in trying to fix the O-line. The problem is that those players have yet to become big-time NFL players and the Dolphins also haven’t hit in free agency, even though they threw big money at Ereck Flowers last year. So, long answer short, the Dolphins have tried to fix the O-line but just haven’t made the right moves yet.
From John Fiorino (@jtwin17):
What do you assess as the biggest difference in this defense this year? I understand the turnover issue but especially on 3rd downs they just seem so passive and guys are open regardless of down and distance. I just wish the LBs provided more of an impact in the run and coverage.
Hey John, to be sure, Jerome Baker hasn’t been as impactful this season as he was in 2020 and the same goes for Andrew Van Ginkel. That’s been a big issue, but I also think the pass rush in general just hasn’t been nearly as disruptive this year and that’s been the biggest problem in my eyes.
From David Nastali (@DNastali):
Who do you think projects to the best playoff matchup for our boys?
Seems I get that joke every time I do a mailbag these days. It's cute, I'll admit. But I'll still answer seriously: If the Dolphins make the playoffs, have to think it'll be as the 7 seed, meaning they'll play the 2 seed, which at this point would figure to be Buffalo, Baltimore or the Chargers, one would think.
From Tyler B (@TylerBellen):
Hey, do you think Waddle can be in contention for ROY?
Hey Tyler, I think Waddle has a very long way to go to get in contention because while he's piling up the catches, the reception average just isn't very impressive. And the Dolphins' record also isn't going to help.
From TheKandiidGuy (@TheKandiidGuy):
Who do you think the biggest flop is this year, and why do you think it’s Gaskin?
Ha, I see what you did there! How about I don't say it's Gaskin, whose yards-per-carry average actually is the best of his young career. He just hasn't gotten enough opportunities. No, for me, and fair or not, it's gotta be Will Fuller V because he was brought in to bring some juice to the offense and he's so far missed more games than he's played.
From Mike (@MoneyMike1326):
Chances they re-sign Gesicki?
Hey Mike, I think that's a really, really good question and I'm starting to think that maybe it depends on whether there's a regime change next year. The way he's been producing this season, the fact the Dolphins haven't signed him to an extension suggests they're willing to let him go as a free agent if the Flo/Grier tandem remains in change. A new regime might value his receiving ability and overlook his blocking shortcomings more and decide they need to have him on the team.
From Mark Ricci (@mdricci):
What would Tua have to do to convince whoever is making the call that he is good enough to invest in moving forward into 2022? Thanks, Alain!
Hey Mark, I think it's pretty simple: He needs to show signs he's definitely on his way to becoming a bona fide franchise quarterback. Not just a solid NFL starter, but a difference-maker. And more than stats, the only Tua can show that is by stacking impressive performance after impressive performance.
From Robert Mallory (@Rob_Mallory):
Why haven't you or anyone else in that media room brought up the fact to Coach that Jesse Davis is in the top 10 in pressures allowed but yet he's protecting Tua's blind side?
Hey Robert, you actually think that Brian Flores isn't aware of that fact. The problem right now is that you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody on that offensive line who's really doing a good job in pass protection. That said, I'm sure the Dolphins have considered moving Robert Hunt back to right tackle, but they clearly thought right guard was his best spot moving forward when they made the switch this offseason.
Sports or Music (@MikeElizaba):
How is that so many people just can’t seem to understand that you cannot possibly judge a QB with a way below average/horrible offensive line?
Hey Mike, love the Twitter handle! Sports or music? Yes please. That said, I'm going to have to take major exception to your question and I'm going to try to do it as politely as I can because it frustrates me. I'll answer it like this: Justin Herbert operated behind a garbage offensive line last year and there's not one person who saw him play as a rookie who couldn't see the goods right away. If you need perfect or very good offensive line play to be properly judged, you might have your answer right there. You might be a quarterback who needs everything around him to be perfect, and those guys are not bona fide franchise quarterbacks.