Part 2 of the latest SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag:
From yolli71 (@yolli71):
I know it’s early, but what would be your plan to upgrade the roster for next year?
Whoa, man, that’s an all-encompassing question right there. For a quick answer at this point, I’d say add a durable backup QB, re-sign one or more of the RBs, add an OL, get a TE, add a playmaking LB, add a CB. Whether all that can be done is another topic.
From Javier (@jboy1724):
These questions are all based on the high probability of Jones being cut but here goes.. When is the right time for Jones being cut? Also, what kind of cap space can be created to get a good corner opposite of Howard and who are some names out there that Miami should consider?
Hey Javier, it’s too early to talk about what cornerbacks could be considered because some players will become available before free agency opens who are not available yet. Cameron Sutton from the Steelers is one player I’d identify at this time, though I would think Pittsburgh will re-sign him. As for creating cap space, there’s always a way to get that done with restructured contracts and some players getting cut. Oh, and the right time for Jones to get cut (if it’s going to happen is post-June 1 because it would be a lot less painful on the cap).
From Paul Z. (via email):
Alain: first time writing; long time Phin fan (my brother and I had season tickets in 1965 and later). Thanks for all your insight on the team. Watching the 2nd round games it was obvious how important a receiving TE was for the winners. Do you feel Coach McD will change his offensive philosophy and incorporate a big receiving TE, like Kelce or Kittle?
Hey Paul, in an ideal world, McDaniel absolutely would love to have somebody like Kelce or Kittle, but we also have to understand they could be the two best TEs in the league. So it’s not as simple as wanting an elite tight end; finding one is a lot more difficult.
FOR EVEN MORE COVERAGE ON THE MIAMI DOLPHINS, CHECK OUT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S MIAMI DOLPHINS PAGE ON SI.COM
From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):
Hey, Alain. This season, we lost every game in December and squeaked into the playoffs. How can the Dolphins best put themselves in a position to clinch a playoff berth before Week 18 next season? (That is, making the playoffs comfortably instead of sweating bullets.) Thanks!
Hey Chris, this simply will become a matter of being a better team. Before injuries became a major problem in the final weeks, the Dolphins showed some flaws when they lost at SF, LAC and BUF (even if they played a close game there). So while it was a playoff season for the Dolphins, it’s clear they were a notch below the teams that didn’t have to sweat out making the playoffs, like KC, BUF and CIN.
From Dion Gardiner (@dantegardiniore):
It seems like X prefers to play man and be left alone out there. How do you think he and the other players will react if there is a change to the system?
Hey Dion, I’d have to imagine the new defensive coordinator would have conversations with every player and I’d also imagine the new DC would be smart enough to use his players to do what they do best.
From marc rainford (@marcrainford):
What’s the view on LB Tindall? Bad pick and need free agent upgrade or just needs time?
Hey Marc, I think it’s too early to be calling Channing Tindall a bad pick, but I’d also say the fact he practically didn’t play at all on defense also was very disappointing. I’d say the 2023 season is a big one for him and he needs to take a big step forward.
From Dolphin Blade (@blade1323):
Does Byron Jones stay with a new DC, or has that bridge been burned?
That’s a very good, legit question, but there’s another factor at play, and that’s Jones very big cap number. I wouldn’t close the door on a return, but also woudn’t necessarily count on it.
From Brian Knipp (@knipp_brian):
Do you think that Miami will let better free agents walk with the intention of gaining compensatory picks to help shoulder the burden of last year’s offseason spending spree? I assume that Grier will take it easy on the spending in FA to maximize the amount of picks we get.
Hey Brian, no, I don’t buy the idea of letting free agents leave strictly to get compensatory picks. For example, the Dolphins will let Mike Gesicki leave (in all probability) because he’s too pricey for his place in the offense more than for the idea of getting a comp pick. And I wouldn’t expect a slew of big free agent signings simply because the Dolphins don’t have the cap space to be big spenders.
From breadman (@breadslippers):
What about Byron Jones; will he be a factor for us next season, or should we (the fans) move on from him? What about Xavien Howard’s injury status, should he be fine by training camp?
At this point, I’d tend to believe that Byron Jones has played his last down for the Dolphins. As for X, yes, he should be fine and long before training camp.
From Brice (@BricefromLA):
What moves do you expect to improve the cap?
Hey Brice, I’d expect a Christian Wilkins extension, a contract restructuring or two or three, and a few players under contract for 2023 getting cut (Keion Crossen, Cethan Carter, among others).
From Earl Gottfried (via email):
Hello Alain, with many of the key players on the Dolphins having injury histories when they arrive, is it hopeful optimism, blind faith or a fatal flaw that they seem to keep adding to the injury history list with many of the players they add, whether through trade, free agency or draft? Who would you like to see as the next DC, and why do you think the STC was kept?
Hey Earl, regarding the issue of signing/drafting players with injury histories, I’ll go with “all of the above.” I personally don’t have an issue with it, except when there’s a major investment involved. Chris Grier always brings up Curtis Martin, who was a very durable back after having injury issues in college, but leaves out the fact he was a third-round pick. That’s a sound gamble. It’s also different from giving a huge contract to players like Terron Armstead and Bradley Chubb. And I’m not sure why Danny Crossman was kept after a really tough year for the special teams.
From Woodturner (@woodturning_art):
Will McDaniel continue to be the play caller? And, if so, who is responsible for game management issues like the clock? Seems to have been a continuous problem last year.
There have been zero signs that McDaniel is looking to move on from play-calling duties, though we just finished the season. As for who’s responsible for the clock, I’m not sure who his right-hand man was, but ultimately it’s his responsibility.
From Bman (via email):
Hey Alain, first off, I appreciate your approach to journalism. While most everyone else is looking for the next clickbait article, you take a more pragmatic approach to your writing…. On to more Tua stuff!!!… While most are concerned with Tua’s durability, I’m more concerned with his confidence. I think we’ve been fooled into believing that Tua has turned a corner in this respect. When in fact, it was just the coach’s schemes that had Tua getting the ball out fast so he didn’t have to make decisions. I believe Tua gets too caught up in making the wrong decision and worrying about failing his team. And quite frankly I’m also questioning Skylar’s confidence as well. I see both of these kids being “lambs” more than “lions.”
Hmm, interesting premise. I can see where it appears that way, but I’m not sure whether Tua’s hesitation when the play has to go off schedule has to do with confidence or maybe where his physical limitations come to play. As for Skylar, I’m not sure I saw a lack of confidence so much as I saw a rookie who sometimes starting thinking too much when things went off track (which is totally normal).
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Dolphins news and analysis year-round. Also, you can follow me on Twitter at @PoupartNFL, and that’s where you can ask questions for the regular All Dolphins mailbags. You also can ask questions via email at [email protected].