We recently caught up with South Florida Sun-Sentinel Dolphins beat writer and PFW Dolphins correspondent Omar Kelly to get his take on various topics concerning 0-2 Miami as it prepares to face Cleveland on Sunday:
PFW: Where does the Dolphins' pass defense need to improve most?
Kelly: The unit's level of communication has been poor for various reasons, but it starts with FS Reshad Jones, who will likely be starting his (fifth career) game against the Browns. Jones takes too many gambles and leaves his cornerbacks exposed. Losing (starting CB) Vontae Davis will also make it difficult for the rest of the secondary because the Dolphins must either start Nolan Carroll or Will Allen on the boundary. If Allen starts, then who plays the nickel spot?
PFW: How do you see the Dolphins using RBs Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush going forward?
Kelly: It's realistic that Bush and Thomas will share the workload 60-40 the rest of the season if their health isn't an issue. Bush was limited because of a groin issue last week, which is why Thomas ended up with 18 carries for 107 yards. However, (head coach Tony) Sparano admits he needs to get Bush move involved, especially in the passing game.
PFW: What are your initial impressions of Brian Daboll's offense? What has defined his scheme to this point?
Kelly: His concepts are fresh, his play-calling has been strong (outside of the red-zone stuff), and he puts his playmakers in position to make plays. I've got to give him credit for the improvements Chad Henne has made because it appears this offense is better suited for Henne. Daboll's schemes and concepts play to his strengths.
PFW: Having watched Chad Henne as closely as you have, where has he shown improvement this season, and in what areas must he improve?
Kelly: He's making quicker reads, and being more aggressive. He's challenging secondaries. He's using his playmakers effectively. He's scrambling with the ball to extend drives. However, Henne continues to struggle in the red zone and this offense is forced to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. That trend can't continue for the third straight season if the Dolphins want to produce a winning record.
PFW: This team overcame an 0-2 start to win the AFC East in Sparano's first season in 2008 and went 7-6 after dropping three in a row to start the '09 campaign. Are the Dolphins capable of rallying this season?
Kelly: They are, and that's been their nature during the Tony Sparano era. This team digs a hole for themselves and then they circle the wagon and get out of it. Problem is, they expend so much energy getting out the hole that the season usually tanks at the end (two straight seasons where the Dolphins have lost the final three). That seems to be the direction this season is heading.
Omar Kelly's work at the Sun-Sentinel can be read at http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-dolphins/. He can be followed on Twitter @OmarKelly.