We're off to a hot start with back-to-back AFC wins and looking to make it a third against division rival Buffalo this Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
The mailbag is also out of the gates quickly – over 40 submissions this week! Each Thursday, we will put out the call for questions (@WingfieldNFL) and answer three of them on the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield and three more here on the written mailbag.
Question from @AdonisHuslem*:* What are the minimum yards/TDs that Tua needs to produce in order for last week to seem more like the new normal rather than a flash in the pan?
A: I think that's the wrong criteria. The league-leader in touchdown pass percentage (Lamar Jackson) is throwing touchdowns on 10.2 percent of his throws – and that number is absurdly high. For better reference, Dan Marino's career touchdown percentage was five percent.
Tagovailoa needs to continue to play smart, sharp, fast football where he accurately distributes the rock in the passing game, gets into favorable looks in the run game and manages the operation. Then, continue to excel in the areas that separate the best QBs from the rest of the pack like third down, red zone, and the end of halves and games.
So far, he's been very good in that department:
Question from @DOLFAN72: Is this one of the biggest game for the franchise in the past 2 decades?
A: I don't think I would go that far. Every game is a big game. They all count the same in the standings at the end of the year.
As we all know, Buffalo is one of the best teams in the NFL. They were seconds away from a trip to the AFC Championship game last year and have the most impressive results of any team in the league so far in the 2022 season.
As Coach McDaniel said earlier this week, "what better opportunity than playing the best and seeing where you're at? So I think you don't hide from it. I think you embrace the fact that they're a good football team and that there's one way to be put in the category of good football teams: you beat good football teams."
So the Dolphins have a chance to beat a good football team from their division this weekend. But win or lose, they're going to play at least 14 more games after Sunday and each of those games will be big too.
Question from @gtgeric: How can Waddle and Hill get behind the defense?
A: I think there's a misconception about deep throws and how they occur. Nothing in an NFL offense happens by chance or merely just forcing something for the sake of doing it. Certainly, offenses dictate the pace of the game, but there is a reactive element to what the defense shows. If the defense drops into quarters (four deep), it becomes increasingly difficult to get vertical, but the cause of that is that the underneath windows open up a little more.
That said, Philadelphia played quarters back in the preseason game, and Tyreek Hill still got on top of it for a 51-yard completion. His speed, and Jaylen Waddle's speed, do afford you opportunities to bust open coverages that typically don't allow for vertical success.