September 19, 2007
A: "I would never call my esteemed cohort crazy, maybe a tad eccentric. Just kidding, Dave. Actually, it's too early to bring Beck in. He would be thrown to the wolves without the benefit of a decent running game. Let's see if the O-line can improve on their run blocking and how the Dolphins do against fellow AFC East dregs - your hometown Jets Brad, and Bills - first. But I would consider pulling the plug on Trent Green by midseason if the team shows no improvement."
Q: Why didn't the defensive coaches make an adjustment to spy Tony Romo? He seemed to be running around a lot on third downs, keeping drives alive. And if they indeed assigned someone to spy him, is their anyone currently on the roster that can do a better job in the future? Mash, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
A: "Mash, I loved your TV show. Anyhow, I was shocked that they hardly blitzed Romo. Clearly, defensive chief Dom Capers was nervous about using a linebacker to shadow Romo because of the pass-receiving skills of Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. If he chose a safety to blitz, that would leave the dangerous Terrell Owens in a one-on-one matchup with CB Travis Daniels. And unfortunately, Daniels' initials have been more applicable to the receivers he's guarded the first two games. Give Romo credit, he's got great pocket presence and is greasy as a Tony Roma rib."
Q: Why are so many rookies inactive each week, most notably Lorenzo Booker and Paul Soliai? Drew Z., Davie, FL
A: "Ding. Ding. Ding. Great question, Drew. Every time we ask Cam about it, he dodges it better than Romo dodged Jason Taylor on Sunday. Booker was supposed to be a secret weapon, a third-down change-of-pace back for Ronnie Brown. He's a secret all right. I think that Cameron's crush on Jesse Chatman has rendered Booker moot. Chatman has become that pass-catching tailback out of the backfield with 10 catches already (tying his three-year career total in San Diego). Cameron said he's using a heavier RB Patrick Cobbs instead because of his special teams play. But healthy third-round picks should be on the field in uniforms not street clothes.
"As for Soliai, Cameron said he wanted to reward DT Steve Fifita for his quality play in preseason and practices. Those guys are locker room neighbors so it's an interesting situation. It appears that none of the DT's, including a suddenly very old Keith Traylor have been effective either collapsing the pocket or in containing the running game. DT Rod Wright must still be bothered by his knee or he would be activated. Somewhere Fred Evans is smiling."
Q: Is Jason Allen as horrible as most fans think? Jeremy Klein, Alexandria, VA
A: "Ouch, Jeremy, that's a delicate subject that I don't feel comfortable answering. All I can say is the coaches clearly don't trust him to be on the field in either the base defense or in the nickel and dime packages. J.A. is a great kid with a ton of athletic ability, but he just seems to be behind in the playbook-grasping department. He's been tossed around from corner to safety back to corner, so he needs to just focus on being the best cornerback he could be so he could regain his coach's trust. His body type seems to fit the strong-safety mold and I believe that's where Allen wants to be - but that's not where DB coaches Mel Phillips and Brett Maxie want him. You have to pull for a quality young man like this. Remember he missed most of his senior season at Tennessee with a hip injury, so lets give him some time before we label him with the four-letter, first-round b--t word."
Q: When are we going to get a coach that would discipline players? Besides lack of talent, penalties have hurt this team the last several years. Rene Leon, Newnan, GA
A: "Cameron is actually a stern disciplinarian. He calls them out in the video room, and he demotes and promotes players on a regular basis. He's cut several players who have messed up off the field a-la Evans, Kelly Campbell, Manny Wright and even Randy McMichael. Remember, he's got 23 new players and 11 rookies, so inexperience is a factor in several of those penalties as is learning new systems."
Q: Wasn't the interior defensive line supposed to be one of the strongest units on the team? What happened? They got manhandled against Dallas. Pete Francona, Harrisburg, PA
A: "Pete, any relation to the baseball Francona family? You're so right. We all thought coming in that the D-line was their absolute strength. We didn't count on the offense leaving them on the field for far too many long stretches. It seems that their age and possibly by not playing enough in the exhibition season caught up to them. I don't remember seeing J.T. or Zach miss so many tackles. As I said before, Traylor is looking older than his 38 years and Joey Porter, who has been playing some as a pass-rushing defensive end, appears to still be hampered by his preseason knee surgery. Also, Cameron is getting nothing out of their backups."
Q: Why do we keep signing washed-up quarterbacks like Trent Green? Also, will Cleo Lemon start anytime soon? Doug Ketter, Monkton, MD
A: "Cameron is a believer in surrounding himself with players he has a history with. By all accounts, Green is an outstanding leader on and off the field, and before last season, had a string of 4,000-yard plus seasons. Does one concussion and not having RB Larry Johnson or TE Tony Gonzalez change everything? Or, does he need an offensive line he can trust so he could take more than a 3-step drop? I am concerned that his balls seem to be floating too much. Let's give Green the benefit of the doubt and at least six games to show that he's got some fuel left in his 37-year-old tank. Brett Favre is still looking pretty good, isn't he? The only way Cleo gets in there is if Green gets carried out."
Q: I know the Dolphins have only played two games, but is this season salvageable? And how many years before this team is a true Super Bowl contender? Keith Ryan, N. Attleboro, MA
A: "Yes, I believe it is salvageable, Keith. Look at the upcoming schedule - the underachieving Jets with a hobbled quarterback and uninspiring defense; a horrendous Raiders team with possibly a rusty Daunte Culpepper ready to lead them; and a Browns squad that can't stop anybody. Granted, Houston is 2-0 for the first time ever with QB Matt Schaub leading the way. The injury-depleted Giants in London? There are Ws out there to be had, but as Cameron said, the mistakes have to be cleaned up. As for Super Bowl contender, wow, perhaps 2010 when John Beck has a season or two under his belt and the offensive line is rebuilt.
Q: First it was the Patriots stealing signs. Now, it's the Jets simulating snap counts. Why is everyone making such a big deal out of all this stuff when it's been going on for years? Maybe the Dolphins should try using some of these tactics. Brent Raycraft, Jupiter, FL
A: "Well, Brent, that's not the message you want to send to the kids out there, but when in Rome? No, really, I believe in playing by the rules or else there's chaos. I don't believe that cheaters should prosper in anything in life. Stealing signs visually is a lot different than using a video camera. Cheating taints greatness, and now Belicheater joins the Barry Bonds' of the world. Add an asterisk to those Super Bowl titles."
(HHarvey Fialkov Q&A from Sept. 12)
Q: Doesn't Ronnie Brown have the talent to be more productive? Also, do you agree with Cam Cameron on splitting his snaps with Jesse Chatman? Darren Rondinone, Jersey City, NJ
A: "Hey Darren, I do believe Brown can be more productive if he had a decent offensive line. Not even a boa constrictor could've slithered through the minute cracks they were opening - and this was against a 27th-ranked run defense last year. Cameron recognized the Redskins were putting eight defenders in the box, so he basically used the short passing attack as his running game. I'm a Chatman fan, but Brown needs to get more carries so he could get a rhythm."
Q: Was the Dolphins' defense as tired at the end of the game as what's been reported? Man, how could a team that trains in the Florida heat get that winded? The pass rush was non-existent at the end. Dave M., Crofton, MD
A: "Dave, I asked Cameron and several players that question, and of course they all denied that. However, Redskins players commented after the game that they saw a tired defense who were all taking knees after regulation. The huge question remains: Is the window on this aging, yet talented front seven closing? Perhaps, Cameron should've played guys like J.T., Zach and Keith Traylor a tad more in the exhibition games. Joey Porter isn't ready to carry a full load mentally or physically, but he should've been in the game more in OT. There's a huge difference between practice shape and game-day shape."
Q: Would it be a good move to sign Donovin Darius? Isn't he just another washed up veteran - the same type of player the Dolphins cut ties with all offseason. We're rebuilding, let the young guys play! Cedric Smith, Miramar, FL
A: "Cedric, by the time you read this the Dolphins may have either signed Darius or rejected him as the Jags and Raiders have done in the past five months. He could be a stopgap for this season because the cupboard is pretty bare regarding DBs on the Dolphins' roster. The bottom line is the Dolphins should've addressed the secondary depth in the offseason."
Q: What did you think of the Dolphins benching Joey Porter in overtime? Lou Milano, Plainview, NY
A: "Hey, Lou, my Mom lives In Plainview and I lived there for several years over in the Villas. Porter was furious after the game but calmed down on Monday. Basically, Cameron and Porter admitted that Porter doesn't know the playbook well enough, especially the nickel and dime pass prevention packages. Cameron also admitted that Redskins offensive coordinator Al Saunders outsmarted his counterpart - Dom Capers - by disguising his run packages with three wideouts on the field. That's why Porter wasn't in there. But you pay the guy $20 million, then you better have him on the field during crunch time."
Q: How bad is the Dolphins' run-blocking? Tommy, Coral Springs, FL
A: "Tommy, how bad is Paris Hilton's acting? How bad is Marv Albert's toupee? How bad are the Marlins? Get my drift? Did you see the holes the Redskins' O-line were opening for Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts? Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman would need a stick of dynamite to break through the wall of d-lineman in front of them. Cameron said Monday that was his number one priority - blocking. Good luck."
Q: Didn't Cam Cameron get bailed out with the TD just before the half? His time management was horrendous there? Patrick Murphy, Boston, MA
A: "Pat, my son Jason was born in Boston and I got my Master's at B.U. I'm a Yankees fan who loves Boston - not the Red Sox of course. Anyway, I digress. Cameron absolutely choked during that sequence. He let 32 seconds tick off and gave himself one play from the 1-yard line instead of two. He sheepishly admitted after the game that there was some confusion in the communication process. Of course, he was bailed out by a great play by Trent Green. However, give Cam credit. The Nicktator and the Moustache would've absolutely settled for the tying field goal. I love that Gamblin' Cam went for the touchdown."
Q: Who is the most interesting player in the Dolphins' locker room and why? Brady, Pasadena, CA
A: "Brady, good question. Right now, I'm digging kicker Jay Feely. He's got a ton of books in his locker and says he wants to get into politics when he's done. He's always articulate, friendly and accessible. He never ducks out on us like most of the players and he doesn't have a 'day' that he'll talk to us like some of the more established veterans."
Q: How could your sidekick Dave Hyde write that the Dolphins are an offseason away? Aren't they like three offseasons away? J.B., Zebulon, N.C.
A: "J.B., were the Saints three seasons away when they turned around from 3-13 to 10-6 a year ago? Teams jump from worst to first quite frequently in the NFL. Of course, it's not going to be easy, but it is definitely doable. Just a few new players on the offensive line and an upgrade in the secondary could turn 6-10 into 10-6. Keep the faith."
Q: Why is everyone ripping the Dolphins defense when they only gave up 13 points in regulation? Miles Gordon, Huntington Beach, CA
A: "Great question Miles. I bet going into the game if you said the Dolphins would allow 16 points, you'd take it in a heartbeat. Offenses are supposed to score more than 16 points a game, right? However, the reality is the Redskins aren't a good team and yet they mangled the defense for 400 yards, including 191 rushing yards. They also completed three long bombs to Antwaan Randle El and were .500 on third-down conversions. That all adds up to a bad defense and a loss."
Q: Any chance the Dolphins can beat the Cowboys? Ricky Rodriguez, Weston, FL
A: "Ricky, there's always a chance. But it's not likely. The Cowboys put up 45 points on the Giants and their offense looked like a finely tuned Porsche, while the Dolphins offense looked, well, offensive. Still, the Cowboys did allow 35 points, so there's hope. Green will have to take more chances downfield and not settle for 7-yard check-downs. Don't take the Dolphins in your suicide pool!"
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