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Andy Cohen: Opening The Mailbag

Posted By Andy Cohen On October 30, 2013 @ 5:55 am In Football | 14 Comments

131030_AC_AM [1]Andy Cohen In The Morning appears every Monday through Friday until the end of the season. The column is posted each day at 6 a.m.

Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins [2]. Andy will answer questions every other Wednesday throughout the season.

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Q. Late turnover in Buffalo led to the win. Turnover in our territory against New England led to a game-tying touchdown. Best way to prevent this? @Chad_Sabo

AC: Wow, I wish the answer were easy because then the Dolphins would have figured it out by now. I do know this: In each instance, Ryan Tannehill was stripped of the ball just as he was about to throw. My solution: If you can’t thrive in the pocket you need to leave the pocket and move Tannehill around in order to buy more time. Couple that with some three step drops and those types of plays could conceivably be avoided.

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Q. Why is the coaching staff so eager to give up on the run? @mtennant71

AC: This coaching staff likes to throw the ball [3]. They are an aggressive group by nature. The strength of this offense remains the passing game. It is easy to look back and second-guess the decision to run less in the second half at New England, especially given the success the running game had in the first half. But you would also think the run could set up the pass? It’s funny. For years we have gone through coaches who are conservative and stick with the run far too long. Dave Wannstedt? Tony Sparano? Now, we are asking to run the ball more. I believe what this team needs more than anything else is balance.

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Q. Who has been the best player so far for the Dolphins. @Rgkopp

AC: That’s a tough one. I’d have to narrow it down to one of two defensive linemen, Randy Starks or Jared Odrick. Both have been consistently excellent this season [4]. Both have had their share of big plays. I’ll give the nod to Odrick, fresh off a two-sack performance against the Patriots. He has clearly taken his game to another level and justified his selection as a former No. 1 pick.

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Q. The Dolphins are in a deep hole. Do you see changes in the offensive coordinator position this season? @KicoLares

AC: I really don’t. Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman have a mutual trust and respect [5]. While I realize that Sherman isn’t the most popular of coaches these days, and I know there are plays he’d love to have back, the solution has more to do with the execution of the players than anything else.

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Q. Andy, Patterson goes out for one play and Carroll gives up a touchdown. Any chance we start to see more of rookie cornerbacks Jamar Taylor or Will Davis? @AlexG1348

AC: I think we will and probably soon. The Dolphins are happy with both Taylor and Davis [6] and they have both been healthy now for a while. While it is clear that Brent Grimes and Dimitri Patterson are the two top corners, there is room behind them for Taylor and Davis. I expect to see a lot of both of them in the second half of the season.

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Q. Is a quick turnaround a good or bad thing this week? @Peeds28

AC: A good thing. The Dolphins are frustrated right now and clearly unhappy with the events of the past month. A short work week allows them the chance to do something about it in a hurry against a quality team. The positives of playing Thursday, given the state of this team, clearly outweigh the negatives.

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Q. Will the Dolphins win more than last year at least? @Merman1976

AC: In order to finish 8-8, a one game improvement over last year, the Dolphins need to win five of their remaining nine games. It is certainly attainable, but not guaranteed. If the offensive line doesn’t improve, it’s hard to imagine this team overcoming that [7]. But deep down I still believe the talent on this team should produce a winning record.

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Q. Who should take the lion’s share of blame for this four game losing streak? Philbin? Sherman? Ireland? The refs are not an option. @NoahLampert

AC: How can you point to one person or one area? Clearly, the blame needs to be spread throughout the team just as the credit was spread after the 3-0 start. Certainly there are personnel issues, specifically on the line. But, more than anything else, this has been an equal opportunity four game skid. Everybody should share in the blame. Everybody should be held accountable.

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Q. Why is a straight nine route the only deep pattern Mike Wallace runs? Why not a deep post or a flag route or more wide receiver screens? @sebphins

AC: Wallace has run those routes you are talking about, but the bigger problem is that he just isn’t being targeted enough times during the course of the game. I believe his number is called a lot; but things happen to cause the play to go in a different direction. This has to be one of the main goals of the staff over the last nine games, especially with Brandon Gibson now lost with a knee injury. I said before the season that Wallace needs to be targeted a minimum of 12 times a game and I still believe that [8].

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Q.  When will the fans stop thinking that this season is completely over? @ghost4g63

AC: When the Dolphins give them an indication that they can escape from this four game funk? While I believe there is still time to save the season, I certainly understand the frustration of the fans. Four straight losing seasons have to take a toll on even the most optimistic fans. Between the offseason additions and a 3-0 start, we expected much more. But over? With nine games left? Too many things can happen.

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Q. Should Philbin consider benching Tannehill? @Mobs1313

AC: Not a chance. No way. Under no circumstances [9]. Have I been clear enough? Even with his recent struggles, Tannehill remains the hope of this franchise to return to elite status. The only way he gets better is to play. If you bench Tannehill, it puts the entire process on hold, which really doesn’t benefit anybody.

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Q. Why do the coaches play not to lose instead of playing to win the game? @finatic413

AC: Sorry, I don’t buy into that. Were they playing “not to lose” by throwing the ball in the fourth quarter against Buffalo? Are they playing “not to lose” by calling timeouts in order to buy an extra possession at the end of the first half? Say what you want about this staff. They are certainly open for criticism. But too conservative? That doesn’t appear to be an issue.

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Q. Why can’t the Dolphins play a complete game? It’s either a slow start or a collapse in the second half. @docth2000

AC: This, in a nutshell, is the problem. This team just can’t sustain during the course of a game. They started slow against Buffalo and had to battle back. They started fast against New England and saw it slip away. Until this team and these players develop a measure of consistency, they will continue to struggle. We saw it against Cleveland and Indy. But, in truth, we haven’t seen it since.

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Q. OK, Miami’s yards per game is 311 and yards allowed is 355. We’re rushing for less than 100 yards a game. What’s going on with Miami? @NIMITZBOY

AC: What’s going on? You’ve got a team that just isn’t playing well right now in all sorts of areas. When that happens, you get those types of statistics.

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Q. In my opinion, this team has the talent to be a good team. What’s the biggest problem with the team in your opinion? @66SamThompson

AC: Three things: Pass protection. Pass protection. Pass protection.

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Q. Grade the job Philbin has done as a coach here? @ljc7975

AC: Incomplete. I can tell you this: This job is not too big for him. [10]

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Q. Andy: Tell me please how things could possibly be any worse? @Mindy337

AC: You could be a fan of the Tampa Bay Bucs or Jacksonville Jaguars.

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On Thursday, AC in the AM writes about the importance of getting things right against Cincinnati.

Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns [11]


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.thefinsiders.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/131030_AC_AM.jpg

[2] @ACohenFins: https://twitter.com/#!/ACohenFins

[3] This coaching staff likes to throw the ball: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Matthews_Steps_Up/020d547d-18da-4dbb-8399-26a3208f6b0e

[4] Both have been consistently excellent this season: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Jared_Odrick_Discusses_Tough_Loss/7cb3b7a1-cac7-493e-ba2c-f4300f6c0d17

[5] a mutual trust and respect: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Sherman_Looks_Back_On_Patriots_Game_/b9ed0d9f-e0cd-49f2-8674-890c4f276d75

[6] The Dolphins are happy with both Taylor and Davis: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Rookie-Report-Jamar-Taylor/f1ce4060-fedd-4d3b-b913-1e28ab289b28

[7] If the offensive line doesn’t improve, it’s hard to imagine this team overcoming that: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Incognito_Previews_Bengals/1f6fd522-2d54-41ed-8789-94b93287e83f

[8] Wallace needs to be targeted a minimum of 12 times a game and I still believe that: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Wallace_Still_Confident/666e6a60-521f-4c55-808f-d37c8160ec01

[9] No way. Under no circumstances: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Tannehill_Speaks_After_Patriots_Game/3ec6e6e3-edac-45b4-884f-e17072b0b746

[10] I can tell you this: This job is not too big for him.: http://www.miamidolphins.com/multimedia/videos/Philbin_Preparing_For_Thursday_Night/e060b25f-5e11-4ac0-970c-da603b1276ca

[11] Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns: http://www.thefinsiders.com/tag/andy-cohen

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