Dolphins Mailbag: Safeties in Coverage, How to Stop the Buffalo Offense, and More

What kind of impact will Will Fuller V have? What can the Dolphins learn from the Steelers when it comes to defending the Bills offense? What did Elandon Roberts do wrong?
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Here is Part 2 of the Post-Week 1 All Dolphins mailbag:

Here we go:

From @GatorGrad929:

With our corners being so good, should we expect most teams to target our safeties? Can they hold up on coverage?

This is the beautiful thing about the Dolphins secondary: Their safeties all have cornerback experience and can absolutely cover. That means Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty and rookie second-round Jevon Holland. So, yes, the safeties absolutely can hold up in coverage.

From Ken Dasher (@kdash65):

Bonjour, Alain! What do you see in the Bills v. Steelers tape that you think we can use to our advantage, given our personnel? I was surprised at the outcome tbh.

I picked the Bills to win the game, while understanding it wasn’t going to be easy against a very, very, very good Pittsburgh defense. Where the Steelers succeeded defensively was in getting pressure on Josh Allen and never letting him be comfortable in the pocket. Beyond that, the Steelers tackled really well in that game. Where the Dolphins will have an issue duplicating what Pittsburgh did is that the Steelers generally got pressure with four guys rushing, allowing them to have seven in coverage. The Dolphins don’t always succeed at getting pressure on the quarterback rushing only four. That will be the biggest challenge.

From Justin Mason (@jaywdmason):

How do you think Will Fuller will affect the offense this week?

Considering how little he practiced during training camp, combined with him being away from the facility last week, I think it would be a mistake to expect too much from Fuller against the Bills. I’d suggest giving him a bit of time to work his way back into the swing of things.

From E-Rod (@phinfan2003):

How much of an impact did the OL and play-calling have on the offense’s uneven performance in week 1?

From where I sat, I didn’t see anything glaringly bad about either the offensive line or the play-calling. The low yardage total was a product of mistakes by all areas at one point or another and the fact the defense couldn’t get off the field on third down, thereby limiting the number of offensive opportunities.

From Reza Hariri (Therealrezpect1):

Do you see Miami signing any veteran free agents now that their contract isn’t guaranteed for the year? I still think we are a bit thin at LB & DL

There is a lot of merit to your point and I absolutely began the week thinking that could happen, though it’s less likely with each passing day (obviously). The Dolphins absolutely could use more depth at LB and DL, particularly if Raekwon Davis’ knee injury is serious. Benardrick McKinney certainly would have been someone who would have made sense at linebacker.

From Chris Roney (@ChrisRoney0):

Personnel aside, can Josh Boyer use anything schematically from the Pittsburgh game vs Josh Allen because he has lit up this defense several times in a row?

Sadly, I’m not sure about that because the Steelers were able to get a lot of pressure on Josh Allen rushing only four, while the Dolphins brought extra rushers regularly against New England.

From Mark Schoninger (@SchoningerMark):

Hi Alain, thanks for all your thorough analysis, week-in, week-out. The Elandon Roberts sack turned roughing the passer penalty, what will/should the coaches tell him to do in the future, under the same circumstances?

I think what they would tell him is, “Hell of a job, Elandon! Great play. Shame the refs took it away with a bad call.”

From A-Rod the phinphan (@TheGreatPhinsby):

Hey Alain keep up great work! What concerns you the most right now and what are most happy with from game 1?

Hey A-Rod, first off thanks. What concerns me most is the defense giving up 393 yards because I’m not sure the Pats will be a top-shelf offense in 2021 and that’s a pretty good number of yards. I also wasn’t crazy about the inconsistency in the passing game. The most pleasant aspects were the situational football on defense and I also was overall pretty satisfied with the offensive line.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain i just saw your post for mailbag and I hope you can answer my question if I’m not too late. Do you think the Dolphins can slow down Josh Allen, and if so, how?

Can they slow down Josh Allen? Sure, because they have a good defense. But the history isn’t very good considering Allen is 5-1 against Miami with a passer rating over 110 in each of the last five and a career-high 135 rushing yards in the first. How? When it comes to defense, I’m always a believer is getting pressure on the QB. Getting a pick or two obviously would help.