5 questions with Phins Phocus

We haven’t watched more than a couple minutes of the Miami Dolphins this year so we were fortunate enough to exchange a few questions with Cody from Phins Phocus. Our answers to Cody’s questions are up as well over at Phins Phocus.. We touched on the Dolphins’ best players, headshots, the Wildcat, and much more, including a prediction from Cody. Jump it to get into all the fun! 

The Dolphins look to the rest of the league like a stable team that is very capable of winning games, and yet no one has stood out as a superstar to the outside viewer. Who do you condsider Miami’s best player on both offense and defense?
1. First off, with all do respect, I really hope the Steelers share the same mindset that Brandon Marshall isn’t an elite player if that means they will try to single cover him. Outside of maybe Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha, there isn’t a corner in this league that can consistently shut him down by themselves. It’s a little bit disappointing that he’s only registered one touchdown so far, but other than that he’s on pace for about 115 grabs and over 1400 yards. I would say he’s a superstar alright.
On the other side of the ball nobody has really established themselves as a household name, but there are a few that may be well on their way. Karlos Dansby has been a huge upgrade for the Dolphins at ILB, and he definitely has Pro Bowl potential, but I don’t know if he will ever emerge as one of the league’s elite linebackers. On the outside, Cameron Wake is quickly making a name for himself as a dominate pass rusher. He picked up three sacks last week on Aaron Rodgers and is on pace for about 19 if he can keep this up. The only concern about Wake I have is his ability to set the edge. If the Steelers are smart on Sunday they will run to his side all game long. Finally, there is Vontae Davis, who completely shut down his man in the first four games. Brett Favre even mentioned that Davis is the league’s best corner that nobody knows about. Last week, though, Greg Jennings got the best of him on an 86-yard touchdown. The speedy receivers usually give him the most trouble, and that’s what concerns me a little about his match-up with Mike Wallace on Sunday.
Channing Crowder recently had some controversial remarks regarding the NFL’s always changing rules on hitting. I’m sure Steeler fans would agree with him, but what is your view on the big time dilemma right now about headshots and tackling in general? 
2. I’m all for the research on concussions, the improvement in equipment, and making sure players don’t go back on the field once they’ve had a head injury, but you can’t change the way the players play the game and have always played the game. Violent hits are a part of football, and the players were well aware of that when they made the career choice to play this game for a living.

If they must make these regulations, though, at least be fair to both sides of the ball. The defensive players are getting singled out when lead blockers often lead with their helmets and defenders are blindsided by crushing blocks in the open field all the time. Nothing wrong with those plays in my opinion but it seems like the league is setting a bit of a double standard. But then again, if James Harrison wants to stand by those retirement comments for this game at least, I’m all for the new rules.

Chad Henne is another in a long line of great QBs to come from PA so a lot of people around here have followed his career for a while. How has Henne performed since he arrived in Miami and what is the long term outlook for him?
3. Henne has flashed enough potential for the Dolphins to keep investing in him as their franchise quarterback, but he still has a ways to go to make that a reality. He has all the tools to do so, though. He has the arm strength to make any throw in football, and now has all the weapons necessary to make the jump from a decent starter to one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.

There a couple things still holding him back, though. He likes to stare down his receivers far too often, and still struggles with putting touch on the short to intermediate throws. On the bright side, the improvement from last year has almost been night and day. That probably has a lot to do with Brandon Marshall, but this year I feel like he’s actually capable of going out and winning games for the Dolphins, as opposed to last year when his job was primarily to hand the ball to Ronnie and Ricky and not make any stupid decisions.

We don’t get to watch many Dolphins games, but how much of the Wildcat should we expect to see on Sunday? The Steelers have always done a good job against the run no matter the formation. Will Miami still try a little trickery against them or will they use a more traditional approach?
4. The wildcat has been very ineffective so far this season. I don’t think defenses are doing anything different, I just think the three new starters along the interior offensive line aren’t blocking very well. The Dolphins put it on the shelf a week ago in Green Bay, but against a defense like the Steelers we may see it a few times simply because it’s going to be so difficult to get the running game going out of base formations. Having said that, I don’t expect the Dolphins to be very successful at running it because the Steelers are so dominate physically. To me, the wildcat is nothing more than a power running formation. Sure the little misdirection helps, but if you can win the battles in the trenches your going to shut it down.
How do you think the game plays out on Sunday? Who wins and why?
5. I expect the Dolphins to come out and air it out a bit. Yes, they still want to be a run first offense, but I don’t think they will be able to get anything going with Ronnie and Ricky until they get the Steelers defense back on their heels a little bit. If Chad Henne can play mistake free football this is going to be a game. But that’s a whole lot easier said than none against a defense like the Steelers. I am also very worried about the Dolphins’ run defense. I see Mendenhall breaking off big chunks of yardage testing the edge of the Miami defense, and Big Ben making just enough plays to keep this game out of reach.

Pittsburgh 20 Miami 10