MIAMI -- It's finally time for the first week of the regular season. The time for speculation is over. The games count and we will start to separate the contenders from the pretenders in the NFL.
With that in mind, let’s open the Miami Dolphins mailbag and turn the page to the regular season.
Tom_Shenk via Twitter writes: Who's your pick for a guy who really breaks out this year on the team?
James Walker: My pick would be running back Lamar Miller, but only if he stays healthy. I like Miller as a pure runner. But he needs to work on other parts of his game such as pass blocking and receiving out of the backfield. Those are things that kept him off the field last year as a rookie. There’s a lot more to being a starting tailback than just running the ball. Miller now realizes that and put in a lot of work this offseason on secondary things. But I have no worries about Miller with the ball in his hands.
Rorywhiggs via Twitter writes: What are your thoughts on the RG position?
Walker: John Jerry is the player the Dolphins are hoping gets back to full strength. Jerry is working his way back from a knee injury. He played in the final two preseason games in order to work his way back into football shape. Jerry is not a star, but he’s the best option as the starter. He has a lot of size and is hard to move.
Lawrence Hoganson from Colorado Springs, CO, writes: Mr. Walker, since each team now has their own beat writer, will there still be the “Sanchez(Smith)/Tannehill/Kolb(Manuel) Watch” as in years of old?
Walker: It was fun while it lasted, Lawrence. But after two years, I think that post has run its course. Besides, it’s already clear that Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is the second-best quarterback in the AFC East. I don’t think that’s up for debate right now.
Chris Hutchins from Miami writes: While there's some truth to hits to the head argument, from what I keep hearing from football media, the head now stretches down to the thigh. Therefore, hit the knees. I can't believe defensive players in the NFL don't have the ability to hit from thigh to chest/midsection.
Walker: It sounds easy when you’re sitting on the coach and watching the NFL on television, Chris. But in reality the game is so fast that it’s hard for defensive players to make the perfect tackle, which is what you’re requiring if they can’t go high or hit low. Players at all levels are taught to drive their shoulders into the torso and finish. But with offensive players moving, juking, jumping, spinning, ducking, etc., what percentage of tackles happen that way? It’s not easy to always make a perfect tackle. If hitting high is already prohibited, going low is a natural option.