Fish are on the menu for the New York Giants on Sunday -- as in the Miami Dolphins. With that in mind I swapped questions this week our friends from 'The Phinsider.' After the jump, the results of our Q&A.
Phinsider: It's everything. Coaching. Offensive line. Secondary. Dropped passes. Everything except for punting, really. Everything. I think we have hit the same place we did with Dave Wannstadt back in the early part of the 2000's. The team looks good on paper, going in to the season - but the smoke and mirrors breaks apart, and everything fails. The Dolphins are in the middle of that failure.
Big Blue View: Let's take the 'glass half-full' approach. What have you seen that gives you some optimism about the future of the Dolphins?
Phinsider: Can I answer, the 2012 draft class? Everyone knows Andrew Luck, and the campaign to get him, but even if Miami misses on him, there are enough "franchise" quarterbacks coming out of the draft that there's a bright horizon if we can get to it. As for who is really on the team, I think this past draft class is actually doing fairly well. Mike Pouncey is playing exceptionally well - rivaling how his brother played last year as a Pro Bowl rookie. Daniel Thomas has shown an ability to pound the football inside, hit the hole hard, and isn't afraid of contact. Clyde Gates has shown speed and an ability to get open - he just needs more time to develop. Charles Clay has been limited in playing time this year, but preseason and the game experience he has gotten shows he could be a solid fullback/tight end for the team. And, Jimmy Wilson looks like a 7th round steal. He's constantly making plays and is around the ball. He's not seeing as much time at cornerback right now, simply because he is at the back of the depth chart, but when he is out there in the secondary, or on special teams, he has a chance to make the big play.
There is a lot of talent on the Dolphins roster. It's just not performing as a unit. It's no secret that head coach Tony Sparano will be gone by the start of next season. It will be interesting to see what kind of transformation a new coach will bring.
Big Blue View: Looking at Sunday's game what concerns you most about the Giants? Maybe one thing on offense and one on defense.
Phinsider: On offense, it's probably Eli Manning. If he is on, he's going to tear apart a sub-standard secondary. Vontae Davis has been battling injury all year, Sean Smith has played well, but can be beaten also. Last week, both starting safeties were out, and the backups looked like backups. It's not pretty. The biggest threat to the passing defense is probably Jake Ballard. Miami seems allergic to covering tight ends, and, as you know, Ballard has suddenly become a pass catching threat. It could be a long day for the pass defense,
On defense, it's the pass rush. Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Jason Tuck should have a field day, teeing off on Matt Moore. The Dolphins offensive line is a mess - especially the right side. Starting right tackle Matt Colombo can't block anything, but he did not participate in practice on Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see what the Dolphins do on that side. Right guard Vernon Carey was the right tackle last year, so it's probable he will move back out there - and, with Colombo's play being so bad having no one over there might actually be an improvement, Carey should help with the pass rush off the end.
Big Blue View: Looking at the Giants roster, what one player would you like to take from the Giants and put into Miami's starting lineup? Why?
Phinsider: I can only pick one? In that case, I'll say JPP. Cameron Wake, our pass rushing outside linebacker, was a beast last year. This year, he's been caged. He has 5 sacks, but it's just not the same as last year. The answer to the problem is an equal threat on the other side. The return of Jason Taylor was supposed to add that threat, and while JT has 2 sacks, he hasn't been to the level Miami needs opposite Wake. JPP would be huge in that role. Tuck would be awesome as well, but I personally prefer JPP.
Big Blue View: Are there any Dolphins' players we might not know much about who we should watch for on Sunday?
Phinsider: My standard answer to this question is Wilson, but we already identified him earlier. I'll turn to the offense instead. Watch Brian Hartline, our #2 receiver. He has very quickly developed into a sideline catch master, and he has deep threat capabilities. If Moore can stay upright long enough to find Hartline, the passing game could have a decent day. Then again, decent for the Dolphins is different than decent for most other teams.