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Tuesday Dolphins Mailbag: Tua Topics, Little's First Start, Kohou's Ceiling, And More

Does Tua Tagovailoa belong in the MVP conversation after two weeks? How has Terron Armstead looked so far? Those and other questions from Miami Dolphins fans

Part 1 of the supersized post-Week 2 victory SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:

From Richard Grosso (@rjgro):

So, is the Kader Kohou thing a thing? Could we really have just found a starting -caliber or at least a CB3 in the form of an undrafted FA?

Hey Richard, yessir my friend, it certainly does appear the Dolphins have got themselves a keeper in Kader (just made up that rhyme, by the way). Exactly what his NFL ceiling is remains to be seen, but the early signs are very encouraging. There’s definitely something there with that player.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, did Duper and Clayton ever gain both more than 150 yeards each in one game and had 2 TDs each at the same time?

Hey Jorge, the answer to that question is no. The closest they came was Sept. 21, 1986 when Duper had 7-158-2 and Clayton had 8-174-1 in a 51-45 overtime loss against the New York Jets.

From Steve, (@jujusimba7777):

Hi alain, I know you told me last week that the rule stopped regarding protecting P-squad players each week; can you tell me how, why, when this happened. I can’t find any info anywhere on the Internet all say old rule still exists. Also, how do you feel about Baker, Roberts’ play; for me, it’s been poor.

Hey Steve, the rule allowing teams to protect four players from being poached off the practice squad each week was put into place in 2020 because of COVID-19 and the increased chance of losing players every week. There never was an old rule about it. As for Baker and Roberts, I’d agree that Baker has been pretty quiet so far, but Roberts is coming off a fabulous game in run defense against Baltimore.

From Phinaholic (@dana_buice):

Tua is top 3 in every statistical category. He has an improbable come-from-behind win under his belt. If the season ended today, is Tua in the MVP conversation? If he is, would he get your vote?

Hey Dana, well, if we are to believe oddsmakers, yes, Tua would be in the conversation after his huge game at Baltimore. But, no, he would not get my vote and I’d take it a step further and say he wouldn’t get my vote as team MVP. While Tua deserves credit for distributing the ball to his receivers and putting up the big numbers against Baltimore, the No. 1 factor driving the offense right now is that defenses can’t cover Tyreek Hill and, to a slightly lesser degree, Jaylen Waddle. So right now I would say Tyreek Hill would be my Dolphins MVP and I’d put up what he’s done so far against probably anybody in the league up to, and including, Josh Allen.

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From RICHARD J. LEONARD (@SLICK6971):

Do you think the Bills will try to take the running routes away, maybe using 6 DBs, which may force the Dolphins to run more?

Hey Richard, I don’t think there can be any doubt the Bills will look to do whatever it takes to keep the Dolphins from getting so many easy completions downfield the way they did against Baltimore. It absolutely could entail six defensive backs on the field and I certainly would expect at least pretty much all game. The Bills are very good at keeping things in front of them and they also have a very good pass rush, so this game will present a much bigger challenge for the Dolphins passing game.

From SniperWolf (@CharlieK309):

What went wrong with the defense? Was it a case of an elite QB just being elite or was there something deeper that can be a lingering issue? Also, will Byron cover up those potentials issues when he comes back? What has you more excited about this team … the opportunities that will open up in the run game based on the Ravens game OR the fact that a Miami coach actually made adjustments at half that worked?

Hey Charlie, lot of questions here, so let’s go rapid-fire. I didn’t think the Dolphins were sharp in coverage against Baltimore and paid for it against a good QB who was on target most of the game. Byron Jones helps lessen some of those issues, but he wouldn’t have changed Xavien Howard having a rough outing and getting burned inside on the long touchdown pass by Rashod Bateman. What excites me about this team is the creative play-calling and designs that neither New England nor Baltimore were able to control.

From Ahlu (@GrandAhlu):

OL help - check; WRs who can separate - check; Offensive-minded HC to add runs & develop actual schemes/create mismatches - check. Baltimore game was proof of concept. Would like to see Tua making quick & good reads like he did in H2. Is he there? Or do you think he is still learning the system? Too early to tell?

Hey there, that’s kind of a weird question coming off the game Tua had at Baltimore because I certainly didn’t see many issues in terms of making reads or learning the system. I’d see he did pretty well on both counts.

From William Varner (@LilMan1017):

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What adjustments did you see on defense to basically halt the Ravens offense in second half?

Hey William, I’m going to answer that by saying I’m not buying the idea of the defense “halting” the Ravens in the second half. Baltimore had 185 yards in the second half and I don’t think anybody would be using the word “halting” in a game where the defense gives up 370 yards. What the defense did do was shut down the run, other than Lamar Jackson’s long touchdown obviously, getting a crucial turnover on downs in the fourth quarter and then setting up a third-and-12 on the field goal drive with a tackle for loss. But “halting”? No.

From d. Edward (@Syr2Pitt2SD):

How many points would the Dolphins have scored if Lamar Jackson were their QB?

Hey Edward, it might be an interesting question, but there’s no point to it. What I would tell you is that given the circumstances, it would have been difficult to be better than Tua was in the second half after those two picks in the first half. So draw your own conclusions with that.

From Lee Michael Morrison (@Vigilfox):

Alain, who is the bigger bust... Noah or Dion Jordan?

Hey Lee, that is really, really easy, and not just because the book isn’t completely closed on Noah yet (even though it doesn’t look good). The answer here is Dion Jordan by far, both because he was the third overall pick instead of the 30th, but also because the Dolphins traded up to get him and because he couldn’t get himself on the field because of off-the-field issues.

From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):

Hey, Alain. As I watched (and enjoyed!) the NFL+ game replay for the 758th time, I noticed something. It seemed like the announcers were often giving Terron Armstead credit for a block as Tua rolled out to his left. What are your observations on Armstead’s performances so far?

Hey Chris, I just finished rewatching the game and he indeed looked very impressive against the Ravens. There was one pressure on Tua where he looked to be the culprit, but overall he looked every bit as good. As for the New England game, I seem to recall he also was very solid. I also want to point out the entire offensive line was very good against Baltimore.

From James Sonny Burnett (@JamesBurnett11):

What's the ceiling for Kadar Kohou? He's looked impressive so far.

Hey James, that’s a great question and I think I need to see more throws in his direction to get a better feel for his ball skills. So far, I’d say he definitely has the ability to cover, which obviously is a great starting point for a cornerback, and he does look like he can tackle.

From Sean Beachem (@beachbob1):

How would you grade Greg Little’s first start?

Hey Sean, just finished rewatching the game and, while I wasn’t focusing on Little specifically, there’s not one instance where I saw him on the wrong end of a noticeable play and he also had a couple of nice blocks. And the only pressure Tua ever got in the game came from the other side. So I’d say that would earn him a very good grade indeed.

From Jason Mitchell (@Mr_Ivorian):

Hi Alain, last week I messaged and said I felt underwhelmed after the Pats victory, after beating the Ravens I don’t know what to think, question is how should I be feeling?

Hey Jason, that’s funny. I’m not sure you should be feeling anything other than ecstatic that the Dolphins beat a playoff contender like Baltimore on the road and the way they did it. You also should have more hope about Tua being the long-term answer at quarterback than you did before the game. I think all those things should more than make up for whatever concerns arose with the defense, keeping in mind that Lamar Jackson is a former MVP playing with a chip on his shoulder because of his contract and the way the Dolphins defense made him look bad last year.

From Andre (@Andre_Maddox1):

Do you see the Dolphins defense as “elite” or top 5? Other than last year’s Ravens game, and against lower echelon teams, this defense struggles, in my opinion.

Hey Andre, probably not a good time to be talking about the Dolphins defense being top 5, not that I personally ever put them there to begin with. But I do think it can be a very good defense, maybe top 10, at times and has shown since 2020 that it will shut down opponents with lesser offensive talent. The other point is, if the offense continues to perform the way it did at Baltimore, the Dolphins won’t need great defense to win, just OK defense.

From CZHikingdude (@CzHikingdude):

I'm not a Tua hater but have been a Tua doubter. After this impressive performance, is it wrong of me to continue to "wait & see" or is the verdict in?

Hey there, I always get a kick out of Tua doubters immediately being dubbed Tua “haters,” which obviously is not the same thing. Tua most definitely had an impressive performance against Baltimore, but I do not think it’s unreasonable to wait and see how the rest of the season plays out — at least a few more weeks. I know there were some national media members very quick to say after the game Sunday that Tua “has arrived,” but it would say that’s a bit premature if we’re talking about the Dolphins making a long-term commitment.