Week five mailbag with PhinPhanatics: Injuries, Kenyan Drake, & Mahomes

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) Senorise Perry #34, Ryan Tannehill #17, Jakeem Grant #19, Albert Wilson #15, and Kenny Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate a touchdown of the in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) Senorise Perry #34, Ryan Tannehill #17, Jakeem Grant #19, Albert Wilson #15, and Kenny Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins celebrate a touchdown of the in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of questions as they move through the 2018 season and so do the fans and readers of PhinPhanatic.com. So we want to answer those for you in our weekly mailbag.

The readers and followers of PhinPhantic ask pressing questions concerning the Miami Dolphins and major NFL news. A handful of contributors address those questions in this mailbag segment.

From the bizarre Monday night meltdown in Denver to the curious case of Kenyan Drake’s fantasy dropoff, PhinPhanatic readers want to know the what and why of this week’s news. Staffers Nick Belotto, Brian Murray, Sean Diggity, and Travis Richardson take time to sit down and answer those questions.

Nick Belotto

Injuries are killing this team, is there any option on the trade market to get Offensive or Defensive line help so this doesn’t spiral out of control? – Jeff Jensen

A great question here. Over the last two weeks, Miami lost defensive lineman William Hayes to an ACL tear and Daniel Kilgore to a triceps tear. Both injuries are going to force the players to miss the rest of the season. Unfortunately, both of these guys were key cogs in Miami’s machine and will need to be replaced effectively if Miami wants to make a playoff run.

Miami just signed Wesley Johnson, 27, was a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and spent four years as a member of the Jets until he was cut this off-season, per Dolphins Wire.

Johnson would be able to provide some depth to the offensive line but it is hard to determine if he would be somebody who the Dolphins could rely on to make a difference on the offensive line. Unfortunately, I don’t see anybody parting with a quality offensive lineman at this point in the season. Sure, Miami could make a move for a quality backup but may have to give up solid draft capital to do so. I think short term Miami will look to sign some free agents and hope they can plug a hole or two for at least this week.

I think the same thing goes for the defensive line. I predicted last week that Miami would really miss Hayes on the line and it seemed I was unfortunately correct. Miami couldn’t get a lot of pressure on Tom Brady and that made it easy for the Hall of Famer to pick the Miami defense apart. Similarly to the offensive line, I don’t see Miami making a trade to pick up another rotational lineman. I think they will continue to hope for some sort of production from specifically Charles Harris and see if he can pick up the slack.

This may not be the case, however, as Harris wasn’t on the field a whole lot on Sunday and was even out snapped by Jonathan Woodard, the free agent signing from last week. – Brian Miller, Phinphanatic.com

This is concerning and could be a problem for Miami moving forward. Harris needs to play better and more consistently so the Dolphins can use him more.

Does Gase’s coaching style give the Dolphins opportunity to win streaks or just buys time until the league figures out his game plan? – Mike Bourgault

That’s a very interesting question that is somewhat complicated to answer. Over his time in Miami, Gase hasn’t really impressed me with his game planning or his ability to put players in the best position to succeed. I think the easy answer to the question is neither. Gase’s offensive game planning and play calling can sometimes get Miami wins but is never good enough to sustain winning streaks. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a question of if and when the league figures out his plan. They seem to have generally figured out our tendencies as a team. We are quick to abandon the run, can’t seem to establish effective protection and throw the ball behind the line of scrimmage too much when the team needs to get a lot of yards. Sometimes, Miami can win with this. Sometimes, against better-coached teams, they will lose.

That is the most concerning piece. Gase doesn’t seem to adjust well to how the game is going so teams can figure out his play calling over the course of one game. He also seems stubborn in what he believes will be successful. He should know by now that throwing the ball sideways on 3rd and long is generally a strategy that doesn’t work. It may pick up the first down once in a while but isn’t as effective as he would like it to be. If Gase can’t abandon his game plan or tendencies mid game and adjust properly, Miami will consistently be an 8-8 team that can’t get out of its own way.

Shawn Digity

“Is there any option out there to help this offensive line via trade, free agent or miracles?”- Sean Moon

Great question. So two Dolphins starters are now out for the year in Josh Sitton (LG) and Daniel Kilgore (C). That’s obviously not great. I’ve looked at free-agency lists of interior offensive linemen and it’s slim pickings. Luke Joeckel is a recognizable name, but I’d be wary of his play after a disappointing career for the second overall pick in the 2013 Draft.

I saw that John Jerry was also on the list, but I’m not suggesting him; I don’t want Fins fans to come after me with torches and pitchforks.

Zane Beadles is still a free agent and is the best name, in my opinion. He is someone I would roll the dice on.

As a trade option, I would call the Cardinals about Mike Iupati for the guard position and/or the Chiefs for Mitch Morse for the center position. Both are in contract years, so they would be free agents in the 2019 offseason. Morse is much cheaper than Iupati but I believe both could make impacts.

Brian Murray

I heard there were penalties from the refs in the Dolphins-Patriots game that made no sense. Should the refs be held accountable for their bad calling after bad games and calls?- Barry Freckelton

Unfortunately, calls by the referees that are bad or conceived as bad are and always will be a part of the game. I’ve followed football closely for more years than I would care to say and have seen them for as long as I can remember. I realize it can be extremely frustrating at times, but I’ve seen too many people use it as a poor excuse for a loss.

That being said, there has been the rare occasion when a bad call is made at the end of a game or at a very crucial moment, that may have changed the outcome of the game. I do feel some of these calls should be and sometimes are reviewed by the league. Some of those have resulted in the admission by the league that the calls were in fact incorrectly made. When this occurs, I do feel there should be some type of repercussion, especially if it seems to be a trend for a particular referee.

Do you have enough faith in the organization to believe that the front office will get the team good enough to compete with Ryan Tannehill or will Ryan be a stop gap for his era?- Mike Hatch

I absolutely have faith in our current front office and coaching staff to make this team and Ryan Tannehill successful. If you look at how many of the Dolphin’s recent draft

choices are now playing for Miami and making positive contributions, I feel they are bringing in great young talent for years to come. I also think that most of the acquisitions made, by way of free agent signings and trades, have all been wise decisions to transition this team into a successful franchise that has been missed by fans for years. I’ve noticed improvements in the atmosphere of this team, superior playing over time in several aspects of the game and with Tannehill’s ability. I think Miami has had some really bad luck with the injury bug the last couple of years, slowing down their progression. But I definitely feel they’re going in the right direction.

Travis Richardson

Thoughts on Broncos play calling in the 4th quarter. I thought it was a great game and then all of a sudden it was like it was pre-determined that Mahomes would lead a comeback and have a great media story. It was like 2 different games.- Jameson Gann

The current head Coach for the Broncos, Vance Joseph, is a familiar face for Dolphin fans. The 4th quarter found several key moments that resulted in a Broncos loss. 1. Allowing Mahomes to scramble to his right, which is his comfort zone. Mahomes is known as a fast QB and allowing him to roll to his sweet spot was a big error. 2. Marquette King shanked a massive punt that gave the ball to the Chiefs at their own 40. 3. The refs missed a crucial delay of game call with around 2 minutes. Basically, the Broncos lost control of Mahomes’ legs, didn’t flip the field, and were the recipients of a horrible call.

What the heck is going on with Kenyan Drake?! Underperforming on my fantasy team! Any tips for what I should do?- Zach Brough

I am the proud and devastated owner of Kenyan Drake in two of my three leagues. The bad news is that Drake has almost had zero impact in the last three games. The good news is that the offensive line for Miami just got smashed with injuries. That may not seem like a good thing at all, but, when the offensive line was on its last thread last year, Drake showed up big. Why? Because Gase has to use speed to beat the rush and get the ball horizontal.

That’s where Drake flourishes. He is a great pass catcher, excellent outside runner, an explosive playmaker. Gase isn’t going to run away from the run entirely. He has to keep a balance. This means that Gore will be less useful to Gase because Gore excels in patient running and hitting gaps hard. Those gaps will be few and far between.

Look for Drake to catch more, find more space, and get back to a primary feature in Gase’s offense.