Dolphins Mailbag: Where Are the Solutions and Are Major Changes Coming?

Austin Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Jaylen Waddle among topics on the minds of Dolphins fans
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Dolphins clearly are not happy with what's going on these days, based on the questions in this latest installment of the All Dolphins mailbag.

Here we go:

From Fin Phan (@FinPhan72):

Given the poor production of our 2020 first-round draft picks, are Chris Grier, Brian Flores or both of them on the hot seat if the Dolphins don’t make the playoffs?

In the world of the NFL, everything is possible at any point, but I think it would take a massive collapse or something dramatically negative to happen for Grier and Flores to be in danger after this year. 

From Jeff Golden (@Goldenjeff72):

Alain (et non Alan..my pet peeve), 29 seemed to be late on most big chunk plays Sunday, Igbinoghene can’t be much worse could he?

Hey Jeff, understand that coaches don't make playing time decisions frivolously, so if you're not seeing Igbinoghene on defense on Sundays, it's because there's a lack of confidence he can get the job done better than other options at this point. But you're right about Brandon Jones, he didn't have a great game in coverage against the Raiders, though he was very effective with his blitzing.

From Craig M (Dolfan2334):

What do you think happens WHEN (not IF), the Dolphins miss the playoffs. What changes do you see happening?

Hey Craig, what happened to optimism? I'm not ready to give up on the idea of making the playoffs, even after the 1-2 start. What changes will be made will depend on how the rest of the season plays out, but unless Tua shows clear signs of moving toward becoming a franchise quarterback, I certainly would think the quarterback position would be addressed in some way.

From Dante (@GhostofMarino):

They paired an inexperienced QB with an Inexperienced OLine, and an inexperienced OC in the 3rd year of a rebuild where Flores himself said, "This is the core" of the team. How much patience should we all have for this to jell? As you can see, there isn't being a lot afforded.

Hey Dante, in today's NFL, the third year of a rebuild should produce some significant progress and it would be disappointing to take a step back after last year's surprising 10-6 finish — which was ahead of the rebuilding curve, to be honest. How much patience is up to each fan, but I don't think you can blame anybody if they're looking for results now.

From Dan Fahringer (@cjfahringer):

Given that the poor run defense has reared its ugly head again, do you have any insight on whether Raekwon Davis will be back in the next several weeks? I am assuming that no announcement of surgery meant that the knee injury wasn’t season-ending.

Hey Dan, I'm afraid I don't have any insight on Davis' recovery, but I can tell you the days of the Dolphins telling us a player had surgery are done. That means that Davis' injury could be as minor as him being ready to return to action in Week 5 when he's eligible to come off IR to as severe as being season-ending. Our first hint will come next week, which will be the first week Davis is eligible to come off IR.

From CodyPatron (@CodyPatron):

Good morning sir. So what is the story with Hunter Long? I'm hoping he is just learning and will get some playing time at some point.

Hey Cody, yeah, the issue with Long is that he's indeed a rookie and he's playing on a team whose top three tight ends from a year ago were coming back, which put him pretty far down the depth chart right away. He got 18 snaps on offense in the opener, but that was because Adam Shaheen was out. Truth is, I wouldn't hold my breath on him getting a ton of playing time during his rookie season.

From Adnas (@Anase815):

Deshaun Watson?

Is a quarterback for the Houston Texans. Or are you wondering about the likelihood of a trade for him? Look, it's out there that the Dolphins are interested in him but the asking price clearly has been too exorbitant at this point or simply doesn't contain enough protection for Miami in the event he has to miss a significant amount of time. But, yes, the possibility of a trade for Watson still exists, whether Dolphins fans like it or not.

From Fin Fan EP (@FinFanEP1):

When will Austin Jackson finally be replaced? Why isn't Waddle being used to stretch the field?

There are two factors that lead to believe it's going to take an awful lot for the Dolphins to replace Jackson. First, the Dolphins clearly want to make it work with him considering he was a 2020 first-round pick, but two there simply isn't a very obvious replacement on the roster that would justify the move. For those wondering how this is different than what's going on Noah Igbinoghene, the Dolphins have plenty of other cornerbacks better than him right now and Igbinoghene wasn't benched after being a starter, which can mean a point of no return for some players. And, as far as Waddle not stretching the field, that's tough to do when the quarterback is constantly pressured.

From Reza Hariri (@Therealrezpect1):

Our offense seems very different than what we saw in pre season, looks very predictable by personal & formation. Having watched practice, is this same offense as training camp?

Hey Reza, what's going on right now is another case study in why I always caution everybody not to get caught up in this idea of the "offense looking great" in camp. For one thing, the contact at the line of scrimmage doesn't look a thing like it does in the regular season and the QB is allowed to go through with the play. The preseason also can be fool's gold because opponents tend to play vanilla defense, saving their disguises and the like for the regular season.

From E-Rod (@phinfan2003):

Is this team unable to get a consistent pass rush sending 4 DL? It seemed like our pass D was hurt most when we blitzed.

Hey E-Rod, yes, generating consistent pressure with four pass rushers has been a problem for the defense, but the Dolphins have had success with the blitz at times. The only consistent pass rusher up front has been Emmanuel Ogbah, and it obviously would help if somebody else (Jaelan Phillips maybe?) could step up in that department.

From Chris Hyer, Ed.D. (@Chrishyer31):

How much of the offensive (line) issues on having co- OC's?

Hey Chris, I think that would be too easy an answer and also not fair or accurate. The truth is probably some combination of personnel, coaching and scheme, but it probably wouldn't make a different from that standpoint if the Dolphins had three, four, five OCs.

From Cliffy Mac (@mclifford36):

How the hell do they fix this?

Hey Cliffy, that's kind of a very broad question. The simplest answer is this team is going to keep having issues unless they get a better performance from the offensive line, which would allow the offense to function more effectively, and starting to do a better job on third down on defense.

From JJ Dobin (@JJDobin):

Overall thoughts on Brissett?

Hey JJ, I think Jacoby Brissett is a high-end NFL backup certainly capable of winning games on a short-term basis but certainly not a top-tier quarterback. He's got a live arm with inconsistent accuracy but isn't very mobile, though he's got veteran savvy and is a gamer.