Welcome to Ask Mike – Week 31

 

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From drg

 

Q – Mike,

What’s the best way to fix our pass/run blocking this year?  

AND

What about next year?  Ireland has a pretty poor track record drafting guys.  Despite Philbin’s OL credentials, we have yet to see anyone on the line make obvious progress and the general chemistry and scheme seem to be lacking.  Tannehill seems to be the real deal, but we need to him to stay confident and healthy.  Breaking the sack record (the wrong one) doesn’t seem like the best way to do that.

 

This question is actually from last week, but still quite relevant.  Ireland answered part 1 for you, and I’m not thrilled with the answer.  Ireland has traded a conditional late RD pick for LT Bryant McKinnie of the Baltimore Ravens.  What likely happens going forward is McKinnie, when ready plays LT, and then Jon Martin moves over to the right side.

 

The problem I have with this move is this.  #1, Martin will likely be splitting reps at both LT and RT, until McKinnie is ready to go.  I wonder how much of an upgrade Martin will be over Clabo, when we know he’s more comfortable playing on the left side.  I’m also worried that McKinnie won’t be much of an upgrade over Jon Martin at LT.  I hope he is, and I hope Martin does well at RT, but if he doesn’t, I think was a poor move.  It seemed to me that Tyson Clabo’s play was more of a problem than Jon Martin, because Martin is still learning, this being his 2nd year, and really, only about 10 starts at LT in the NFL, while Clabo is a seasoned vet.  Clabo is what he is, while Martin might improve.

 

What may happen is not necessarily upgrading either spot, and stunting the growth of Jon Martin at LT.  Maybe they’ve pulled the plug on the Martin at LT, but if so, where can he play and have value?  Is he a RT?  A LG?  I’m not sure if he’s powerful enough right now to be an interior lineman, or if he’ll ever be.  Maybe in tighter space, he will thrive, it’s definitely possible.

 

In any case, next year Ireland may be looking for 2 tackles, both left and right, or even more likely, if this experiment blows up, he will be looking for a job.  I don’t believe for a second that Tannehill is hearing footsteps, and that’s causing him to make bad throws.  That’s foolish IMO.  If that’s the case, he’s done, and I’d play Matt Moore, and draft a QB next year.  I’ve seen Tannehill defenders saying that.  He threw the pick-6 very early in the game, so if he’s shellshocked at the beginning of the game, he’s not cut out for the NFL.

 

I think the coaches need to scheme better to hide the weaknesses, and play to our strengths.  I don’t see the practices, so I question this as a fan, not as an informed man with inside info.  We drafted a blocking TE (Dion Sims), who had a lot of blocking responsibilities at Mich. St., and we haven’t seen him do much in that regard.  We have a former WR, now playing TE (Mike Egnew), 6’5’ 252 who runs a 4.6, and by all accounts, was a very good receiving TE at Missouri.  All he’s been doing is blocking.  If the plan is to make him a better player, OK, but why not use his strengths too?  Why not have Sims blocking, if he;s the better blocker?  I really believe we need to improve on playing to our strengths, and hiding our weaknesses better.

 

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From Ken

 

Q – How long of a honeymoon does Philbin have? At what point must this team produce before we start to question Philbin’s job security?

Ken

 

I think it really all hinges on Jeff Ireland.  If Ireland gets fired because we go 7-9 this year, you can almost guarantee that Philbin is shown the door as well.   It’s very unlikely that a new GM would keep on the old failed Head Coach.  I guess the question then is, how long of a leash does Jeff Ireland have?

 

I know Steve Ross likes Ireland, but he’s a business man, and he’s got to realize that 7-9 again and again is less than average, and bad business.  I don’t think Ireland sucks, but he’s certainly not getting the job done if we finish 7-9.  It’s possible Ireland, and Philbin keep their jobs if we go 8-8, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

 

I do realize that Rex Ryan kept his job when John Idzik was hired as the NY Jets GM, but Ryan had also taken the Jets to 2 AFC Championship games, so Ryan had a lot more of a good resume to show for himself.  TBH, besides his big mouth, Rex is  a good football coach.  probably better as a DC, but his players love him, and play hard for him.

 

All that being said, a win this week against the New England Patriots can turn the season around quickly.  A loss could start the GM and Head Coach search.  It’s that dicey, especially considering how the season started.  I know 3-4 isn’t so bad, but losing 4 in a row ain’t good for job security.

 

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From Brian

 

Q – Mike,

Gun to your head, do you think we make the playoffs this year?

Brian in NY

 

Important info necessary here.  Is the person holding the gun going to kill me if I’m wrong?  🙂

 

If the answer to my question is yes, I’d probably say no.  I think our division right now is going to end up looking a lot like the NFC East, where there’s a good chance 9-7 or 10-6 might win the division. That makes this game against the Patriots a must win.  If not, we’re 3-4, 0-2 in the division, while the Patriots are 6-2, and 3-1 in the division.  You can practically kiss the playoffs goodbye.

 

It’s very possible that 3 playoff teams come from the AFC West, with KC, DEN and SD.  The Ravens also have a leg up on us, so it seems to me like we’re going to have win the division.  I really think the AFC East is going to beat up on each other, which will lead to a 10-6 at best record for the winner of the division.  I’ll be surprised if anyone finishes better than that.

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From DCoral

 

Q – Hey mike, Dcoralsprings here, hope all is great with you

the question is about “the curious case of Will Yeatman”

after coming into the league as a TE and after showing skills in his

blocking ability, we moved him to the OL unit, at this point we still

need a TE with solid blocking skills………..

see where this question is going

why not simply put him back where he came from ?

 

DCoral, I really like this question!  I love think outside the box!

 

If you’ve ever watched a SF 49ers game, you’ve seen them employ sets with as many as 7 OL, and it must be noted that almost everyone on that SF starting 5 on the O-line is a pro bowl caliber player.  Taking that into consideration, it does make sense to put Yeatman in as a blocker on occasion.  He’s not a threat as a receiver, but I’m sure he can catch the ball, but not sure how he moves now at 6’6” 315.  We’ve struggled so often in short yardage plays, so why not get a little more beef in there to create space?

 

I think this also goes back to what I mentioned before about scheming, and using strengths, and hiding weaknesses.  Every team we’ve played in the last 3 games has exposed our weaknesses.  The Saints, used their scatback RB Darren Sproles so well in the short passing game.   We had no player that was able to hang with him.  The Ravens, went to their strength, which is their running game, and despite the fact they didn’t have success early, they kept at it, and eventually we wore down.  The Bills killed us with screen passes, (AGAIN!!!), and if CJ Spiller were healthy, they likely would have scored 30 or more.

 

I think this also begs the question, what are our strengths?  Do we really have an identity on offense?  Never mind the WCO, are we really a passing team?  Is that what we do best?  When we run the ball often, we tend to have success.  When we throw the ball much more than we run, we have failed.  Of course, the O-line has to factor into this, because you need run blocking to run well, and pass blocking to pass, but it seems to me like we when we run more, we have success, and I think it’s also better balance.  I don’t think Tannehill is at the point where we can just let him throw all day, and expect to win.  Can we ever run a successful screen pass of our won?  Can we at least throw the ball to MillerTime, or even Thigpen in the flat?  Get these fast guys the ball in space, PLEASE!!!!

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From Twice TheThe

 

Q – Hey Mike E,

The Dolphins have only used their rookies in very limited roles if at all so far this season (Jordan, Taylor, Thomas, Davis, Gillislee in particular). To some degree this is likely because of the learning curve involved and some injuries. But I was thinking – what if the plan all along has been to keep them fresh for the final stretch? As we know the Dolphins bye came on week six, and thus the remaining schedule (getting waaaay ahead of myself but perhaps including a playoff game or two) would equal 10-12 games.

 

Is it any coincidence that this roughly equals the college regular season plus a bowl game? Have the coaches planned this all along and look to play the rookies more down the stretch – now that they have learned the ropes a bit and are less of a threat to hit the dreaded ‘rookie wall’ with their light usage over the first 5 games?

 

Great question Twice!  More thinking outside the box!

 

Hard to say, and I admit to being a little befuddled as to exactly what their aim is with rookies.  They started Ryan Tannehill immediately, but Ryan did know the offense coming in, so he he is a different case altogether IMO.  I think about how little they used Lamar Miller last year, and I’m certain it wasn’t because they were saving him, because by the time they gave him playing time, our season was toast!  Michael Egnew, didn’t play until game 15 or 16, and it was basically window dressing.

 

My opinion is that they are overly cautious, and maybe too demanding with their rookies.  I understand they want their players to master the playbook, and be able to handle everything, but PLEASE can we use these rookies for what they do well?????  My patience is waning with their usage of rookies.  If Dion Jordan is healthy, USE HIM!!!!!  It’s not like Olivier Vernon is lighting up QB’s every week, so get him out there and UNCHAIN DJANGO!!! (That’s for you Al!)

 

I would also like to Gillislee as well.  Let’s be serious, RB’s can play for other teams as undrafted free agents, and start, but here, they have to be able to recite the playbook in 3 different languages while blindfolded and bouncing on a pogo stick!  Just get these guys out there!!!!  Are we waiting until their rookie contracts expire to see what they got?  It’s also not like we went 10-6 last year, and we’re 5-1 this year, and the staff is above reproach.  They haven’t, and they’re not.  We have rights dammit!!!  lol

 

To answer your question more precisely, I wish I could grasp that concept that they were saving these guys, but my thought is they are just extremely demanding, and overcautious with their young guys.  It’s the one thing that drives me mad about this staff.  I want to see lots of Egnew catching passes, a little (At least!) of Gillislee running, a LOT MORE of Dion Jordan (if healthy), a lot more of Jamar Taylor and Will Davis (if healthy).

 

One more thing.  If John Jerry continues to struggle, I fully expect Dallas Thomas to be ready to at least try and play in the next couple of weeks.  Is that too much to expect from an OG drafted in the 3rd RD???  Especially when the guy who is starting has been awful.  Get him in there too!!!  I think it’s fair to either question the GM, for drafting poorly, or the coaching staff, for their preparation if Dallas Thomas can’t see any playing time, when the guy who is starting has been awful.  Someone, or both have done a poor job!

 

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PS – I apologize for my negative demeanor this week.  Despite all of you who are saying we shouldn’t have underestimated the Bills, I don’t buy it!  The circumstances were thoroughly in our favor.  Thad Lewis played well, because we LET him play well.

 

This game was in OUR HOUSE, fully rested, after a bYE week, which gave us an extra week to prepare compared to the Bills, and CJ Spiller was barely able to run.  Good teams win that game handily under those circumstances, teams like us DON’T!  That was a very disheartening loss for me to swallow.  I’m still livid!

 

This team has a lot to prove to change my mind, and getting a win against the Patriots this weekend is a great place to start!

 

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And now for the babe of the week (Not KK!) . . . 

 

 

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