Dolphins Mailbag: Stopping Allen, Rookie Defenders, and More

To spy or not to spy Josh Allen, and is that the best way to contain the Buffalo Bills quarterback, plus other topics
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Tackling some topics ahead of the Miami Dolphins home opener against the Buffalo Bills, starting obviously with how to slow down Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Here we go:

From Mark Ricci (@mdricci):

What is your take on how to handle the Josh Allen conundrum? Zero blitz the heck out of him, play coverage and hope our guys get home, or some combination? I like the new guys we have to throw at him, but he’s owned us…Thanks!

Hey Mark, the best way to deal with Allen is what the Steelers did last week, which is to rush four and get a lot of pressure on him. But that’s a lot easier said than done. Outside of that, I think coverage should take precedence over all-out blitzing because the latter puts so much pressure on the back end. But the best plan might be switching things up and giving him different looks.

From Jeff Golden (@Goldenjeff72):

The whole Fuller thing is bizarre, any chance he plays one snap with the Dolphins?

Hi Jeff, I’m not one to shy away from offering an opinion or making predictions in terms of player availability, but I don’t think it’s proper in this case because he’s dealing with a personal issue and we don’t know what that issue is. I’ll just say I hope his issue gets settled quickly and to his liking and he’s back with the team sooner rather than later.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain would you put a spy on Josh Allen and if so who could it be is there anyone strong and fast enough to contain him?

Hey Jorge, the problem with Josh Allen isn’t so much the speed but the combination of size and speed. Even then, Allen isn’t nearly as much of a scrambler as he used to be — certainly not like he was when he rushed for 135 yards in his first-ever game against the Dolphins — so the focus now needs to be on pressure and coverage, the way I see it.

From steve , (@jujusimba7777):

Dolphins have struggled vs mobile QBs for a while, not just allen. Can/will the coaching staff /players adapt to the situation? Will they mix up coverage [not just man]? Will they spy the QB?

Hey Steve, first off, let’s understand that Allen rushed for 22 yards in the two games against Miami last year, so his running isn’t the main concern anymore. I would expect the Dolphins to throw a lot of different things at the Buffalo offense Sunday, but I’m not sure they’ll make extensive use of a spy.

From Randy Millard (@dolphan013):

What do you think the chances are that the Bills pick up Gesicki next year (after we foolishly let him go) to torment us for the next 5 years?

Man, we’re already looking ahead to next offseason? What I would tell you about Gesicki is that given the depth at the position right now, the way the Dolphins use their tight end, I’m kind of having a hard time seeing them spending big money to keep Gesicki as a free agent. And then I certainly could see another team that values a receiving tight end like Gesicki throwing big money at him and, yes, the Bills sure look like one of those teams. But that’s way down the line and many things could happen until then.

From James Sonny Burnett (@JamesBurnett11):

What do you think of the decisive Dolphins victory tomorrow?

I love it if that’s what’s in the cards. That would stamp the Dolphins as the team to beat in the AFC East, without question. I definitely don’t discount the possibility of a Dolphins win (I’d be foolish to), but I do have a hard time seeing a blowout victory.

From Jake @JakeMc945):

Will Baker shadow Allen the whole game? I think that is the best strategy to take away his running ability.

See above. It’s not Allen’s running ability that’s the big concern right now. And understand that if you have a shadow or spy on Allen, it’s one player that’s not helping out in coverage. So, no, I don’t see Baker shadowing or spying Allen all game.

From Cliffy Mac (@mclifford36):

Do you put a spy on Josh Allen all game and, if so, who is it?

As addressed many times in this mailbag, no, I don’t believe that’s the way to go because Allen was more problematic last year with his passing than his running. Another issue is whether the Dolphins defense has anybody with the combination of size/speed to hang with Allen. Jerome Baker? Sam Eguavoen? Fast enough but too small. Andrew Van Ginkel? Probably not fast enough. So who? No, the best game plan is getting pressure on Allen with as few rushers as possible.

From Dante (@GhostofMarino):

Stylistically speaking Miami has been blitz heavy. Allen has been great against the blitz. KC and the Steelers rushed 3/4 and dropped 7/8 into coverage. Can Miami get consistent pressure without blitzing? It is my assertion that Holland and Phillips were drafted for this matchup.

I’m of the belief that the selections of Holland and Phillips were made independent of specific matchups, though there’s no doubt they should help against the Bills — if Phillips can muster some pressure on Josh Allen. Can Miami get consistent pressure without blitzing? Based on what we’ve seen over the past two years and what we know about the Dolphins personnel, it’s fair to question that.