Let’s see what's on the minds of Dolphins fans this week.
Gatorgrad929 via Twitter writes: Why do we always start so slow and what can be done about it?
James Walker: I asked quarterback Ryan Tannehill this same question this week, Gatorgrad, because it’s been a reoccurring problem since the preseason. Here was his response: “It’s important to come out and get started on a good note. If you’re able to move the ball and put points on the board on your first drive, it kind of sets the tone for the day. That’s something that we constantly talk about, something we want to do. The defense, if they go out on the field first, we want them to get a 3-and-out, a quick stop, and the offense -- once you get the ball, go down and put points on the board.” Miami’s offense doesn’t start fast. I have yet to see it in five preseason games and one regular-season game. I think establishing the run early is key. That’s the easiest way to move the chains and get down the field for an early touchdown or field goal.
Matt from Orlando, Fla., writes: James, my question for you is why is Ryan Tannehill always left out of ESPN's young QB rankings? For some reason, he seems to always be left out of the conversation while the rest of the ESPN debates Luck, Kaepernick, Wilson, or RGIII.
Walker: It is fairly simple, Matt. Winning trumps everything at the quarterback position. Those quarterbacks you mentioned all led their teams to the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick, in his second year, took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. Tannehill has yet to come close to those accomplishments as a quarterback, and until then he won’t be considered. He has a lot of skills, but Tannehill must prove he’s also a winner.
SamJos1 via Twitter wants to know if the “Speed” package is a gimmick or will it be effective all season?
Walker: Good question, SamJos. I like the idea to put as many pass-rushers on the field at the same time during obvious passing downs. That’s good coaching on the part of Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. However, the most important thing is players must stay healthy for this to work. For example, if Dion Jordan re-injures his shoulder, that takes away a lot of flexibility to run the “Speed” package. The same goes for Cameron Wake. The Dolphins can run this because they have an unusual amount of quality depth at defensive end.
Gil Vieira from Jacksonville, Fla., writes: With Miami leaving Cleveland with a hard earned road W while the Jets and Pats struggled on their wins, is it too early to assume Miami is the new front runner for the AFC East title?
Walker: Slow down, Gil. Never gauge the entire season based on Week 1. The Dolphins beat the Browns, and the New England Patriots struggled to beat the Buffalo Bills. But that doesn’t mean Miami is suddenly better than the Patriots. We will know more about New England on Thursday night when they face the New York Jets. Both teams are undefeated. Let the season play out.
IraMarshall via Twitter writes: How will the fins fix their running game when the personnel is unlikely to change?
Walker: This is an interesting topic, Ira. Miami’s coaches are in a tough spot with this one for several reasons. First, the offensive line is average and lacks depth. The Dolphins can’t make personnel changes, because the backups would show a drop-off. We saw that during the preseason. Second, the zone-blocking and stretch running plays Miami runs don’t necessarily fit the type of offensive linemen the team has. Center Mike Pouncey is the only athletic lineman who can consistently get out in space and easily get to the next level. The other linemen are mostly big maulers. That’s why you’re seeing some early struggles. I think Miami’s coaching staff must adjust to the strengths of its players for the running game to work consistently this season.