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Phinsider Radio show notes: 10 questions following Miami’s 20-13 loss to Chicago

Only two more rehearsals before things get serious.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Phinsider Radio show notes for Aug. 16, 2021.

1. Chef Tua… any questions?

  • Eight completions on 11 attempts for 99 yards and an interception.
  • The interception was on the throw to the end zone.
  • Zip on the ball and looked comfortable, escaped some pressure.
  • He looked like Alabama Tua, I’m not getting too caught up in the interception.
  • (How do you think you did?) – “Well, I think the better question for that is what didn’t I do well? I thought I did all right,” Tagovailoa said. “There were a lot of things that we need to clean up offensively. You know, with our communication, more so our execution with our plays that we’re given. But first time coming out in a real game-like situation, environment. I thought it was pretty good for the first time. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that we need to clean up, but that’s what we got film for, you know, when we hop on to the plane, we’ll take a look at some of those plays that didn’t go the way we wanted to, and we’ll get those fixed.”
  • (What should you have done differently in the interception to Shaheen) – “Probably not throwing it,” Tagovailoa said. “Probably not throwing it. I think the DB made a great play. That wasn’t a good decision on my part. When you get down to the red area, you gotta make good, quick decisions, and that wasn’t a quick decision — or that was a quick decision, but not a good decision. That was just something that I gotta continue to learn from, take that and put it in my arsenal and hope not to make that same mistake again.”

2. Is Chicago’s offense bad or is Miami’s defense good?

  • Bears didn’t record a first down until 30 seconds left in the first half.
  • The unit was without Jaelan Phillips, Byron Jones, TJ McDonald, Brandon Jones, Vince Biegel and Emmanuel Ogbah
  • Christian Wilkins made up for an early missed tackle with a tackle and a pass defended
  • Jerome Baker and Shaquem Griffin, whom had a rough PFF rating, had three tackles each.
  • Eric Rowe locked down Cole Kmet

3. Is 2021 the year for Jakeem Grant, how much does having Jaylen Waddle around help?

  • Jaylen Waddle did nothing in the passing game in his debut, but started well with a 24-yard punt return.
  • A 34-yard punt return by Jakeem Grant Sr.
  • (How do you feel the offense performed overall today?) – “I think it was smooth,” Waddle said. “We got our flow going. It was good just to compete, really. It was good to compete against someone else other than our guys. I think it was a good day. Obviously it can get better. We’ll try to get better. It was pretty good, though.”
  • (What does it feel like, the ball coming from QB Tua Tagovailoa? Does your connection continue to grow this preseason?) – “It’s coming along well,” Waddle said. “I think we’re all just getting better as a team. We’re getting in, day-by-day, every practice – I feel like we’re making progress. It’s going good.”

4. Should we worry about Austin Jackson as the team’s left tackle —without a lot of depth behind him?

  • Five pressures on 18snaps.
  • Jackson allowed the second-most pressures among tackles in week 1.
  • “I thought he did some good things. He competed well. He played against some good players,” coach Brian Flores said of Jackson. “Did some good things in the run game and pass protection. Obviously there were some instances where his techniques and fundamentals weren’t as good and we’re making those corrections right now. But I was pleased with how he played.”

5. Would you be more confident in Michael Dieter if he had a beard?

  • Didn’t allow a sack or pressure, continues to be the first-team center.
  • “He’s done a nice job,” Flores said of Deiter. “Good communication, good techniques. He had tough matchups in practice [against Chicago] and the game and handled himself well.”
  • Bearded Dieter would be better against the run on the road in December, babyface Dieter is a pass-blocking pro.

6. Running up the middle, is it possible?

  • Stuffed at the one-yard line — twice.
  • Malcolm Brown had a five-yard loss on a run.
  • Dolphins averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
  • Salvon Ahmed 6-40; Myles Gaskin 4-19; Malcolm Brown 9-8; Gerrid Doaks 3-2.
  • Dolphins had their best runs when they were stretches or to the outside.
  • “Yeah, it’s difficult. One of the things we stress is getting into the red zone and scoring. To have – I know one was a turnover and I think the other was just loss of downs. It’s frustrating for sure.” - Austin Jackson.

7. How many games does Mack Hollins start this year?

  • Caught both targets from Tua for 20 yards.
  • The best ability is availability — playing that Parker role of fighting over the middle 15-yards down the field.
  • With guys like Will Fuller, Grant and Waddle, Hollins can fill DeVante Parker’s role for some time if he isn’t healthy. A capable receiver who makes the catches in front of the safeties, the chain movers.

8. Is the Miami Dolphins run defense finally fixed?

  • Bears averaged 7.1 yards per carry
  • Four guys averaged at least six yards per carry, Justin Fields at 6.6.
  • Artavis Pierce 51 yard run, Ryan Nall 39 yard run.
  • Big runs came against second-and-third teamers.

9. Nik Needham, Trill Williams, can Miami’s depth at cornerback absorb Noah Igbinoghene’s struggles?

  • Igbinoghene with a pass defended and four tackles.
  • One was a run stop, three others were after three completions for 44 yards.
  • Nik Needham, starting on the outside, a tackle and two passes defended.
  • Trill Williams slapped someone silly and had three tackles.
  • (It seemed like you had a lot of hands-on the ball, especially on the deep ball too.) – “Yeah, that’s what we preach every day as a point of emphasis. No deep balls and get your hands on the ball,” Needham said. “Every time the ball is in the air, turn around and look. You want to come down with the interception but if you can’t, just don’t let the receiver catch it. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”

10. Will special teams ever be a worry for the Miami Dolphins?

  • No.