It's the end of the week and that means it's time to answer your questions! The Dolphins and Colts do battle on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium and, as we do weekly, we want to hear from you!
We'll dive into three questions posed on the weekly Twitter thread (can be found on the timeline of @WingfieldNFL). We'll also answer a handful of your questions on the Friday edition of Drive Time with Travis Wingfield, your daily podcast on the Miami Dolphins podcast network.
Q: @*JackRoss366* - Fins went into the off-season with three notable weaknesses: offensive line play, the inability to stop the opposing teams run, and an ineffective run game of our own. Do you see any of those three areas improved?
A: The offseason is an opportunity to improve every aspect of the football team and I think the Dolphins have shown a propensity to not settle at any spot. We saw them address the safety position with Jevon Holland and Jason McCourty while also adding Justin Coleman to a secondary that was one of the best in the league a season ago.
With regards to the run defense, I think there are plenty of running-down victories that hint that there is improvement in that area. Situations and context are more important than general statistics, like the third and fourth down stops Miami had to take over on downs in Las Vegas, which set up Malcolm Brown's 24-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The offensive line showed progress in that game, reducing the sack, hit and pressure numbers. The big guys up front also guided Myles Gaskin to 5.0 yards per rush and a beautifully blocked the aforementioned Brown touchdown run.
All things told, I think it's better to assess these down the line and not draw grand conclusions after three games against three very good teams.
Q: @jmsmiller - Why is getting separation downfield so hard for this Dolphins team?
A: Big plays happen when opportunity meets execution. The Raiders defense played that game like a lot of modern defenses that try to limit big plays and force the opposing offense to put together lengthy drives. The Dolphins created some opportunities late in that game, and the two guys added to the roster at the position this offseason (Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller) are averaging 4.4 and 3.6 yards of separation per route run. Plus, Miami will start it's fourth different offensive line combination and lost their starting quarterback in the first quarter of Game 2 -- those are difficult circumstances to face. You'll never hear this team make excuses – and that's not the way they look at things – but nonetheless it's fair to say this offense has had to make some unexpected adjustments on the fly.
Q: @ThePhinsDude - What difference will Raekwon Davis make to our run D and pass rush when he returns?
A: Davis came on strong in the second half of the season and put together a strong camp. Losing him certainly hurts because of his length, power and the depth he provides Miami up front with Christian Wilkins, Adam Butler, Zach Sieler and John Jenkins all producing at various points. That's one of the strongest, deepest position groups on the team but his return would certainly give both the run defense and pass rush a boost while helping to keep the other guys fresh. Davis requires as many double teams as anyone so he could help free up the linebackers at the second level. As it is, the Dolphins run defense is currently allowing its lowest yards per carry in five years.
To submit your questions, keep an eye on the @WingfieldNFL Twitter timeline every Thursday morning.
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 Thursday when the mailbag thread goes up.