I recently had the outstanding opportunity to sit down with Brian Miller, the editor of Fansided’s Miami Dolphins blog Phin Phanatic. We mostly discussed the Dolphins roster and what the Falcons should expect in their preseason game tonight. Here is what we discussed:
Blogging Dirty- The Dolphins used the 8th overall pick on Tannehill, and he is supposed to be the Dolphins starter from day one. What are your thoughts, both positive and negative about Tannehill.
Phin Phanatic- Unlike Washington and Indianapolis, the Dolphins were not in a position that they had to start Ryan Tannehill. As such, Tannehill was the third QB on the depth chart. The injury to David Garrard opened a door and subsequently the competition between he and Matt Moore. After two weeks, Ryan Tannehill has won the competition. It’s not ideal to send a rookie to the proverbial wolves, but Tannehill is showing that the game is not too fast for him. He stands in the pocket, takes the hits, and throws the ball. It’s going to be a long bumpy season but if one QB is better than the other, performing better than the other, has a better grasp of the offense over the other, and has earned the respect of the players around him, it shouldn’t matter if he is a rookie.
BD- The Dolphins receiving corps doesn’t necessarily have a true No. 1 receiver. Do you think some players will step up, and what type of season do you expect this group to have?
PP- The Dolphins don’t have a number 1 WR, they don’t have a number 2 WR, they have a banged up number 3 who hasn’t practiced and a slot guy who is now the best on the team. Unfortunately, thus far the only players on the unit who have stepped outside of slot receiver Davone Bess has been two undrafted rookies. Jeff Fuller and Chris Hogan. I suspect that the Dolphins will make a trade or add from the waived list prior to the start of the season if not sooner. Going into the season with the current group is not ideal and will not set up well for a rookie QB.
BD- How productive do you think Reggie Bush will be this season? He is a great outside runner and receiver, but can he carry the load as a featured back/between the tackles runner?
PP- The Dolphins are moving to a West Coast offense so Bush won’t be called on near as often to carry the center/guard gaps. That will be a job for second year runner Daniel Thomas. Bush says he wants to lead the league in rushing, but he won’t come close in this offense.
BD- Mike Nolan had the Miami Dolphins defense playing extremely well the last two seasons. Do you think this Dolphins D will be able to continue its good play without Nolan? Do you think they will be effective in stopping the Falcons offense? How big a part of the defense is Vontae Davis?
PP- Nolan did very well with the Dolphins defense and so far in pre-season the loss of Nolan is very visible. It’s hard to say how the team will transfer from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Replacing Nolan is former Bengal secondary coach Kevin Coyle who did very well with a Bengals unit that had struggled. Vontae’ Davis has been slow this camp, out of shape, and lost his job to free agent Richard Marshall. He is playing better of late but it remains to be seen if he can retake his job.
BD- Are there any other matchups you expect the Falcons to exploit, or things the Dolphins can do that the Falcons won’t be able to stop?
PP- The right side of the Dolphins line is suspect and last week, the Carolina Panthers schooled rookie Jonathan Martin on right edge. I suspect the Falcons will try and do the same this week. This is the first week that the Dolphins will do any game planning so it’s hard to guess which direction either side of the ball will go. So far we have only seen very vanilla play calling. I do believe that the Falcons will have sufficient time to exploit a defense in transition and minus three of it’s starters: Kevin Burnett, Tony McDaneil, and Karlos Dansby.