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Can the revamped defensive line pave the way to the playoffs? – News from Mercury

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Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers David Furones and Chris Perkins answer questions from readers.

Q: Whuddup Perkins! With our team’s performance evolving throughout this year, could you predict that our D-Line will lead us to the playoffs? Can they be dominant enough to overcome our other shortcomings as a team?

@JerZeePhinz82 on Twitter

A: I talked about it on Twitter. The defensive line, which added rusher Bradley Chubb at the trade deadline, will soon have to carry a heavy load. But for now, the offense is largely tasked with leading the way to the playoffs. The offense has coach Mike McDaniel and his creative mind, offensive coordinator Frank Smith, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and they used to have left tackle Terron Armstead ( pectoral injury), which we will discuss later. It’s a lot of talent and imagination.

But the addition of Chubb means the Dolphins expect big things from this pass-rushing trio of Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and Melvin Ingram. However, I don’t know how much you can expect to “pave” this year. They will have to do big things during this stretch period, especially with Armstead sidelined, but you can’t expect them to carry the team on Sunday as well as they should be able to in September after playing together for half a season. and coaches have learned what they do well. I’m not cutting their slack, I’m just being realistic.

Now, next season, they are expected to be some of the best pass rushing units in the league. They will be expected to change the game. For now, the realistic expectation is that they will be disruptive.

And broadening things out to the entire defensive line, where guys like Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler play well, they’ve done a good job against some of the top runners recently (Houston’s Dameon Pierce and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, in particular). So, yes, they will have high expectations next year. But the path to this year’s playoffs, for now, largely lies with offense.

Q: Did you see what happened after Armstead left the game??? –@MattyDolphinz on Twitter

A: It was ugly. Bag after bag after bag. The Dolphins really need Armstead, obviously. To complicate matters further, right tackle Austin Jackson has to be watched due to an ankle injury (the same ankle he previously injured but not the same injury). We will keep an eye on his situation. Keep in mind that the right tackle protects Tagovailoa’s blind side.

That said, the Dolphins have options to replace Armstead at left tackle. Brandon Shell played left tackle against Houston. It’s a right tackle, and against Houston it was only the second time he played with a left tackle. The first time was when he replaced Armstead in the Jets game. The Dolphins could also use Greg Little at left tackle. But that’s where Jackson’s injury could be a problem because if Jackson is sidelined, Shell and Little will likely start, one at left tackle and the other at right tackle.

If the Dolphins only need to replace Armstead, they can use Shell or Little. Of course, Jackson is a former left tackle, so if he’s healthy, maybe the Dolphins flip him to the left side and insert Shell on the right tackle.

But I guess the Dolphins want as little disruption as possible, so if you only need to replace Armstead, they’ll probably insert Shell and use Little as a backup tackle.

If they have to replace both tackles, deciding who plays which side could largely depend on whether they think Shell or Little are better at protecting Tagovailoa’s blindside. Or it may largely depend on who they think is best at what position, then they add pass protection on either side with tight ends and running backs.

Q: It will make a difference that the guys train at LT this week. & I would love to see more deployments called for Tua. –@TabbyKeats on Twitter

A: Yes, regarding the loss of Armstead, it will make a difference if the starting left tackle gets a full week of training instead of being slotted in during a game. It also makes a difference that the Dolphins have a full week to devise a game plan for 49ers rusher Nick Bosa (11.5 sacks, third in the NFL). But it will always be an uphill battle for the Dolphins.

As for Tua deployments, I’m not sure they’ll opt for this strategy. I think they’ll want to keep Tagovailoa in the pocket, behind his 300-pound pass guards instead of continually in open space where he can take shots from defenders who have a two- or three-step start.

Most likely, the key to the passing game will be maintaining that timing that allowed Tagovailoa to stay up and throw from a clean pocket. But the timing is complicated with Armstead sidelined and the possibility of Jackson being sidelined as well.

Q: Hey, Perk, what will happen Monday morning after the game: McDaniel and the coaching staff are great because they were able to coach two backup linemen against a good defense to victory or guess Grier because it never had enough off-season offline quality depth –@SSLNYNJ on Twitter

A: Good question. Spoiler alert: I pick the Dolphins to win this game. So I will say that the Monday morning story leans towards McDaniel and the coaching staff are geniuses. But I’m a guy who always credits the players first because it’s a league of players. So I would say one player – maybe Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, Xavien Howard, maybe even Jason Sanders – gets the title, or part of the title.

Whatever happens, you can’t blame general manager Chris Grier. The Dolphins showed capable depth on the offensive line among subs such as Shell, Little and Robert Jones. Few teams can go further than two.

Q: Is Miami afraid of finally facing a top D? –@bigdadee78 on Twitter

A: I appreciate the question. Sounds like you’re a 49ers fan. You’re right about the Dolphins facing a top defense. The 49ers are pretty darn good, and the Dolphins have had four consecutive games of 30 or more points during the “soft” part of their schedule. The San Francisco defense will have the respect of the Dolphins.

But the Dolphins have Tua, Tyreek and Jaylen. I don’t think there is fear. Yeah, Armstead’s injury is huge. But if you’re the Dolphins, you have to think that if you can get the ball to Hill and Waddle, that’s half the battle offensively. You still need to be able to protect Tagovailoa (good luck on that against Bosa) and run the ball, both tough challenges. But McDaniel will have a good game plan. That he has the talent on the pitch to execute that is something different. But the Dolphins will not be afraid. They can turn a 12-yard pass into a 40-yard touchdown in the blink of an eye.

Q: When will McDaniel give the ball to Rob Hunt and unleash his innate ability to create in space? With Mostert injured and Gaskins good for 2.5 points, isn’t he hurting the team by not giving Rob Hunt more touches? Ask a friend. –@MonteStamper1 on Twitter

A: I love it!! We all know Hunt, the starting right keeper, knows what to do when the ball is in his hands. But you raise an interesting point and that is whether the Dolphins could trigger a round or two. We haven’t seen many. There was the fake punt, and I think receiver Cedrick Wilson was going to throw a pass at some point, maybe Hill was even looking to throw once (looks like it could have happened but I’m not not entirely sure), and there were a few throwing sweeps and creative ways to get the ball into Hill’s hands. But the offense leaned toward creative plays instead of trick plays.

Have a question?

E-mail David Furonsor beacon @ChrisPerk Where @DavidFurones_ on Twitter.

Previous answer:

Are the Miami Wizards in line for head coaching jobs at the end of the season?

How will the defense perform on a west coast trip?

Can the struggling defense be repaired? Also, Emmanuel Ogbah, questions from Jason Sanders

Should Mike Gesicki have been bought into trade talks? Why so many penalties?

Is 8-3 with a 5-game winning streak Miami’s future? Does Brandon Shell keep his RT job?

Why not use Mike Gesicki as WR?

Why did the defense back down? Liam Eichenberg worried? Talking about trades with the Panthers?

Should we be sold on this O-line; what’s going on with Mike Gesicki?

Is Mike McDaniel ready for now?

Which rookie could have the most impact?

What should we expect from DC Josh Boyer?

Is Christian Wilkins next for a multi-year extension?

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