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Mailbag: Week 3 Dolphins at Raiders

Happy Friday! Welcome back to the written mailbag where we answer your football questions ahead of another football weekend. This story is a supplemental piece to the Friday edition of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield where Travis and John Congemi answer a handful of your questions on the podcast.

You sent it, let's see what's inside.

Q: @jtramazzo -- I never came into a season w/ higher hopes than '21 & last week was BEYOND deflating.

What nuggets can you share that would make us believe last week was an aberration & not indicative of what we should expect from MIA moving forward? Or are me more flaws than we thought?

A: First, the team has to execute for any of this to matter. That said, I wrote in the Monday takeaways piece that the Bills game was an ode to Murphy's Law -- everything that could go wrong did. Miami committed more penalties for more yardage than any game since mid-2019, they dropped more than double the passes (five) than the 2020 per game average (2.0), and committed a turnover in special teams. Those were one-game anomalies in reference to the previous 33 games under Brian Flores.

Additionally, Flores preaches week-by-week improvement and working towards being the best version of yourself down the stretch. That mantra played out the first two years under Flores with a 5-4 finish in 2019 and a 9-3 run to close out 2020. Miami has to prove it again this year, but the historical data is there that this team can improve and play it's best ball as the season progresses.

Q: @Danial_Marrs -- Hey Travis, let's push the envelope this week. Haven't seen much from the offense this year. Are we capable of having an offensive battle against the Raiders this week? If so, what is our advantage?

A: The good news is that Miami will have their full complement of weapons at Jacoby Brissett's disposal. Will Fuller will make his Miami debut and his ability to run the full route tree, present top-end speed and strong hands can all help the Dolphins move the ball and create chances for others. We haven't seen him and Jaylen Waddle on the field together and their speed could create conflict for the defense which generates opportunities for the rest of the skill players.

Plus, Myles Gaskin had a monster game (169 yards from scrimmage, two touchdowns) last time against the Raiders. He and Salvon Ahmed could generate some offensive balance for Miami to sustain drives and keep Derek Carr and the NFL's No. 1 offense on the sideline.

Q: @spf_ripp -- Hi Travis, what's the vibe in the Locker room like? Last year, when things were off to a bad start the team seem to stay positive. Do you still get that same sense of togetherness?

A: No locker room access this year, but in meeting with coaches at the Tuesday media availability and asking players at their respective press conferences, you quickly understand the true 'turn-the-page' mentality of NFL teams. Getting too high after a big win can be just as impactful as getting too low after a tough loss -- this team is onto Las Vegas and will only utilize the Buffalo game to make corrections and motivate them to turn it around. Back to the historical data argument, the Dolphins haven't lost back-to-back games since Week 2 of last season.

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 Wednesday when the mailbag thread goes up.

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