Friday Miami Dolphins Mailbag: Edmonds, Gesicki, Running Game, And More
Part 1 of the latest SI Fan Nation All Dolphins mailbag around the preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles:
From jorge boyd (@raga1922):
Hi Alain, do you see Chase taking the No. 1 running back position? Do you see Gaskin making the team?
Hey Jorge, yes, at this point I would expect Chase Edmonds to be the top running back, even though Raheem Mostert also is listed as a first-team halfback on the depth chart. I do believe that both of them will get a lot of work during the regular season and it would be closer to a 1-1A setup than a 1-2 situation. As for Gaskin, my confidence in him making the team has gone down steadily over the past couple of weeks. While he’s a solid back, I’m not sure there’s any particular skill that stands out and the Dolphins also can save $2.5 million if they cut him. I’m thinking at this point it’s less than 50-50 he makes the 53-man roster.
From NY – Fins Up (@azomback34):
What do you think may be the biggest surprise roster transactions and/or trades in the new couple of weeks? And shockers? Also, did you ever consider streaming a Sunday morning pregame show?
Hey there, let me be a smart alec here and say, if I predict a transaction and/or trade, can it still be a “surprise” or “shocker”? That foolishness aside, obviously Mike Gesicki stands as the biggest name who could get moved. I’m not sure if this would qualify as a shocker, but I’m starting to think that Sony Michel might not make the 53-man roster. I absolutely would expect a trade or two before Tuesday at 4 p.m. (even if Gesicki is not involved). As for the idea of a pregame podcast, I have not thought about that to this point, though if I got a good feel that there would be a decent amount of interest (you know, more than 15 listeners) I might move in that direction.
From Ricardo Hernandez (@Ricardo96451182):
Hello, Alain. How do these recent joint practices compare with ones in other years in indicating how the Dolphins should stack up against other NFL competition?
Hey Ricardo, that is an excellent question and I would tell you what I saw in the practices with the Buccaneers and Eagles left me a lot more encouraged about the Dolphins’ prospects than, say, the practices with the Beans and Falcons last summer, the Bucs in 2019 or the Eagles in 2017 (the Dolphins looked clearly overmatched that week). We also should keep in mind, however, that Tampa Bay was missing a ton of wide receivers during the Dolphins practices this year and the Eagles also sat out several defensive players this week. But, yes, this was an encouraging summer for the Dolphins when it comes to the joint practices.
From Dug-E-Fresssh (@fluflu3):
Howdy, Alain. What have you seen from our special teams that has caught your eye and/or is concerning?
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Hey Dug, it’s a good question, but I’m afraid I can’t provide a whole lot of insight here because special teams work in practice is about running down the right lanes and there are no actual live returns, either for punts or kickoffs. Jason Sanders has looked good, but unfortunately making field goals in practice doesn’t mean much in terms of translating to games and Thomas Morstead has looked good punting the ball, but this is similar to kicking in terms of the correlation between practice and games. Sorry I can’t provide more feedback here.
From Hugo Castle (@CastleHugo):
The obvious … can Gesicki be used in this offense with his blocking “issues”?
Hey Hugo, we can remove the quote marks around issues because Gesicki most definitely has blocking issues. That said, Gesicki absolutely can be used in this offense. And if somebody wants to argue that Gesicki’s presence on the field tells the defense a pass is coming, I’d counter by saying if it’s third-and-5 or more, the expectation is that we’re going to see a pass play anyway. So I say get Gesicki in there in obvious passing situations and take advantage of his very obvious pass-catching skills, which the Dolphins most definitely could use, particularly if Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle clear up the middle of the field with their speed and the attention they’ll garner.
From Chris Bustin (@ChrisBustin13):
Hey, Alain. It concerned me to see Jarrett Stidham and the Raiders march down the field against the Dolphins’ defense. Was this simply a matter of Noah being in the secondary, or is it something more concerning than that? Thanks!
Hey Chris, yeah, that was not a good look to watch Stidham lead that touchdown drive without Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs or Darren Waller or, obviously, Derek Carr when the Dolphins had most of their defensive starters in the game. And, no, I wouldn’t pin everything on Noah Igbinoghene. That’s just not fair. Yes, he gave up two third-round completions, including one to the 4-yard line, but there were other plays in that drive that had nothing to do with Noah. So, yeah, it was concerning.
From Elijah (@Elijahcvazquez):
How do you feel about this offense if the run game doesn’t find its groove?
Hey Elijah, I feel that this offense won’t be nearly as productive if the running game isn’t effective and doesn’t keep opposing defenses honest. A lot of this offense is going to rely on misdirection and you’re going to see a lot of naked bootlegs, and it’s a lot more likely that defensive players will bite on the fake and the line movement if the defense is having trouble stopping the running game. And a good running game also limits the number of third-and-long situations a team will face, and that’s obviously beneficial. So, yes, the success of the running game will be very important.
From Dave (@angryvet59):
Lack of a decent run game seems to be rearing its ugly head again. OL? RB? Scheme adjustments? Thanks for the good work Alain!
Hey Dave, first off thanks. We need to specify that it’s lack of a decent run game — in the preseason. That’s not anywhere near the same thing as if we were talking about the regular season. But since you asked, the issues we’ve seen in those two games have more to do with the offensive line and what I perceive as going with very basic running plays and very little of the creative designs for which Mike McDaniel is known. For example, the second-and-1 and third-and-1 runs where Sony Michel was stuffed against the Raiders looked awfully basic to me and they didn’t work because the offensive line didn’t get any push up front. So, yeah, that was problematic, but I’ll still say it’s way too early to get overly concerned about the running game. Let’s revisit this at the end of September.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.