Dolphins Mailbag: O-line, the Buffalo Blowout, Tua, Watson, and More

A lot of tough questions are being asked about the Miami Dolphins following their Week 2 loss against the Buffalo Bills
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From Tennesseefin (@tennesseefin):

Did you get the sense that Flo was keeping it upbeat or avoiding the reality of a poorly prepared team? As a rhetorical question, what happened? We flat out didn’t show up in a huge game and couldn’t adjust to the edge blitz…

First off, Brian Flores has maintained pretty much the same postgame approach win or lose, to the point where you’d have a hard time guessing whether the Dolphins won or lost if you didn’t know the score. As to what happened, I’m not buying the “didn’t show up” angle. I thought the defense actually had a decent performance after the early onslaught, but the offense gave the team no chance to win. With as poor a performance as this (on offense), the reasons for it have to include everything from poor scheme, poor execution, you name it.

From Chris Roney (@ChrisRoney0):

Felt like the promise of a good season was destroyed yesterday. In the spirit of overreaction Monday I really like Brian Flores a lot but if he can't coach a competitive game vs. the new division powerhouse that might mean he isn't the right guy. Thoughts?

You said it … overreaction. The inability to compete against Buffalo absolutely is troubling, no question, but I think Flores has proven already he’s a quality coach because the 2019 roster didn’t equate to five wins on the season and I’d also say the 2020 roster wasn’t really a 10-6 roster.

From jorge boyd (@raga1922):

Hi Alain, tough game to watch last Sunday do you think the OL has any chance this week against a very good defensive front for the Raiders, and do you think they take out Austin Jackson after one game?

Hi Jorge, after the way the offensive line played against Buffalo, there is nothing that could be done up front that would surprise me this week. Nothing. As for the Raiders game, yeah, I’m very concerned it could get ugly because the Raiders have a very good pass rush, but I’m not ready there’s no chance the O-line can get the job done.

From A-Rod the phinphan (@TheGreatPhinsby):

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being very surprised. How surprised are you of the beatdown we got Sunday?

Hey A-Rod, I’ll start by saying I predicted the Bills to win the game, but obviously expected a much closer game. To answer your question, I’d say maybe 4. The reason is that I didn’t like the way the Dolphins looked at New England, even though they were able to win the game, and they did get blown out at Buffalo last year. What I didn’t see coming was just how bad the offense would be.

From Benjamin Gehring (@BenjaminGehring):

Do you ever see a scenario where Grier is replaced but Flo stays? They seem like a close-knit pair, but the OL draft picks have been an anchor around this team.

Hey Benjamin, I think it’s way too early to start contemplating those scenarios because the team has been on an upswing ever since Grier and Flores partnered up in 2019. But to play along with your hypothetical, I’d imagine their fate is tied but I also wouldn’t rule out any scenario.

From Randy Millard (@dolphan03):

Our O-line was like a Walmart entrance at 5:01 a.m. on Black Friday. What are the chances Flores is our coach next year if he doesn't somehow fix it?

Hey Randy, based on the equity that Flores has built since he took over as head coach, it would take some kind of catastrophe for him not to return as head coach in 2022.

From Mark Schoninger (@SchoningerMark):

Would the Dolphins be better off with Laremy Tunsil than everything they’ve turned the trade’s return into?

Hey Mark, that’s a really good question and valid now because the offensive line still looks like a work in progress (and that’s being kind). It’s probably too early to answer that question, though, because we still don’t know yet what kind of NFL players Noah Igbinoghene and Jaylen Waddle will become, though it’s not looking great right now with Igbinoghene. Truth is, though, given the offer they got from Houston and the fact they still were going to have to give Tunsil a major extension, I don’t think it was a bad trade. It’s just not looking right now because of other factors.

From george washington (@georgesburn3r):

Why hasn’t Grier signed a solid/proven veteran tackle like Mitchell Schwartz?

From what I’ve gathered, he’s not quite ready yet as he looks to return from back surgery, which always is a tricky proposition. The Dolphins did try the veteran route with D.J. Fluker and Jermaine Eluemunor, but we saw how that worked out.

From s. (@s85844417):

Ok. So what really happened with Fuller?

It was a personal matter, so that’s the way it’s going to remain unless Will Fuller V wishes to provide details at some point.

From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):

Hey Alain, I know my fellow Dolphins fans will hate me for asking such a sacrilegious question, but I’ll ask it anyway. If and when Jacoby Brissett has to play, is there really any drop-off from Tua? Even the healthy version of Tua leaves me uninspired.

Hi Chris, yep, that question will not play well in a lot of circles. And, no, I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to ask the question. And at this point, I’d also agree there isn’t a major drop-off in their play. But Brissett already has reached his NFL ceiling, while the hope is that Tua has another level or two he can reach, which is why he is and needs to be the starter.

From Mr. Sanz (@MrSanzbiltmore):

When’s DW coming?

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that by “DW” you mean Deshaun Watson. And my best guess to that question is: whenever the Texans agree to put some conditions on the draft compensation they would get in a trade. But it also could be that DW is never coming to Miami.

From Marco Crescenzi (@Mafioso1313):

Why does this organization go into the season when it's obvious the O-line was an issue? Why can't they address it through free agency after throwing all these draft picks? Also now it's clearly an issue, why would they risk Tua back there with a rib injury?

Hey Marco, the Dolphins clearly thought their offensive line could be much improved with the players they had under the assumption all the 2020 rookies would make the usual Year 2 jump, that Liam Eichenberg could help out as a rookie, etc. I personally wouldn’t put Tua behind that offensive line at this time unless he’s 100 percent healthy, but Brian Flores said Monday any decision regarding whether Tua plays against Las Vegas will be made strictly on how he feels because he’ll stay confident the offensive line will be able to protect him.

From Jake (@JakeMc945):

I know writers were high on Albert Wilson this summer. It seems he "felt footsteps" on some drops Sunday. How long does the coaching staff stay confident with him? Grant as well? They can't afford drops & fumbles.

Hey Jake, the first thing with Wilson is he had a very, very good first week of camp, maybe the first two weeks and then he got hurt. You’re absolutely right that this team isn’t dynamic enough offensively to afford drops and fumbles, but I think Grant will be given more opportunities because of his contributions in the return game. But, either way, I don’t think the coaching staff is going to stay with them all that long if those issues don’t get corrected.