Wed, 01 Dec 2021

Mailbag: Week 11 Dolphins at Jets

Miami Dolphins
21 Nov 2021, 07:05 GMT+10

Travis Wingfield

It's the end of the week and that means it's time to answer your questions! The Dolphins are back on the road to face the division rival New York, and as we do weekly, we want to hear from you!

We'll dive into your questions posed on the weekly Twitter thread (can be found on the timeline of @WingfieldNFL). We also answer a handful of your questions on the Friday edition of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield, your daily podcast on the Miami Dolphins podcast network.

Q: @southernfunk - Why do you think Tua has such a propensity for getting injured?

A: I'm not sure I would phrase it that way. Injuries really have no rhyme or reason, especially when you consider the context. His major injury at Alabama was one of the flukiest things you'll see on a football field. The hit in the Buffalo game was a full-speed, free-runner at 275 pounds right to the ribs -- ouch!

Go back to a recent Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. You'll recall Tannehill didn't miss a start through 4.75 years until an awkward shot to his knee ruined his 2016 season (and eventually his 2017 campaign as well). Then, he suffered a shoulder injury in 2018 and later an ankle injury, earning him the dreaded "injury prone" label from some, despite that previous run of 77 straight starts.

All of this is to say injuries are unpredictable and can happen to any player at any time.

Q: @GhostOfAdamGase - Will Robert Saleh's surprise decision of starting Joe Flacco this week pay off for him, with his reasoning being, he wants a veteran to read / check when he sees the 7 rusher, 0 coverage look?

A: The experience factor should not be short-changed when it comes to the Jets giving themselves the best chance to win this game. Now, while last year doesn't translate to this year, the style of play Flacco exhibits is one that Brian Flores and Josh Boyer have had success going against -- Jared Goff and Jimmy Garappolo to name two more from 2020.

More recently, the Dolphins have put the clamps on two of the game's more mobile quarterbacks (Tyrod Taylor and Lamar Jackson). The formula for it all, however, is pressure. Against Goff, Garappolo and Flacco last season, the Dolphins' blitz produced a cumulative stat line of 30-for-65 (46.2 percent completion), 296 passing yards (4.55 yards per pass) one touchdown, two interceptions, four sacks and three forced fumbles in those three contests.

Against Taylor and Jackson the last two weeks, just 18-for-38 (47.4 percent completion), 283 passing yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and seven sacks.

All of this is to say, if Miami executes their game plan, they can slow any passing attack.

Q: @CameronFrye3 - What was the catalyst for the sudden transformation of the defense to its 2020 form?

A: I think it's easy to point to the emergence of rookie safety Jevon Holland, but the truth is that it's a total team effort. Holland's ability to effectively communicate and make checks with fellow safety Brandon Jones gets them aligned on the back end, then there's the stellar play of Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Nik Needham and Justin Coleman at the cornerback position. Then, of course, that all marries up with a pass rush that has put pressure on opposing quarterbacks more than any other team the last three weeks.

Game plan and execution have been the difference.

Q: @UnclePapi26 - Do you think the fins will let Tua cook? I just feel like they have the training wheels on, at some point you have to trust the guy and see what he can do.

A: In games in which Tua played start-to-finish, he's averaging 38.5 pass attempts per game, so I think he's been getting plenty of opportunities when he's been in the game.

If you didn't see your question here, listen to the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield where John Congemi and myself get your questions every Friday.

To submit questions, keep an eye on the @WingfieldNFL Twitter handle each Thursday when the mailbag thread goes up.

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