Miami has not run the ball effectively yet this season, and Lamar Miller may or may not play on Sunday. What should we expect out of the Dolphins' running game on Sunday?
Nogle: You may be able to answer this question better than any Dolphins fan can. Who knows what the Dolphins will do with the running game. The Dolphins talk balance and being committed to the run, then throw the ball 44 times compared to 16 runs. I am guessing, if Miller is not able to play, Damien Williams will start and there is probably going to be some role for Jonas Gray, who the Dolphins promoted from the practice squad this week, but the Dolphins could just as easily decide the running game is not necessary and let Ryan Tannehill throw the ball 100 times in this game.
Branden Albert and Jordan Cameron are dealing with injuries. If neither can play on Sunday, how will the Dolphins compensate for their losses in the lineup?
Nogle: Jason Fox will play left tackle if Albert cannot play. It's definitely not a replacement but a stop gap measure for the team. Fox is not horrible, but he is defintiely not a Pro Bowl type of player either. Cameron could be a little harder to replace; Dion Sims has begun to practice in a limited status as he works his way through the concussion protocols after being injured in Week1, but the team may have to rely on Jake Stoneburner as their primary tight end option. I would not be surprised to see them use defensive tackle Earl Mitchell is short-yardage/goal-line situations, either.
Ryan Tannehill is off to a strong start, as is Jarvis Landry. But a surprising name, to me at least, has been Rishard Matthews. What has he done to make himself a more effective option for Tannehill than Greg Jennings and rookie DeVante Parker?
Nogle: I think it's a matter of developmental growth. Matthews looked good at the end of last year, and came into this year expecting a bigger role in the offense. When the team traded for Kenny Stills, signed Greg Jennings, and drafted DeVante Parker, Matthews assumed his role would be primarily on the sidelines for each game, leading to him to request a trade. The Dolphins did not comply because they saw him growing into his role, likely with next year in mind. He, however, continues to look good in training camp and the preseason. Now, he is defintiely cutting into playing times and targets for some of the other receivers. He works hard and is pretty sure-handed. It seems the plan to allow him to continue to grow for use next season may have been off by a year, because Matthews absolutely looks like a contributor this season. By the end of the year, I would expect DeVante Parker, who had offseason foot surgery and is slowly being incorporated into the offense, to take over as the team's number one receiver, with Landry in the slot, and, likely, Matthews on the other side. Stills and Jennings can then rotate in as the fourth receiving option.
Same question as No. 2, but for Cameron Wake, who is currently dealing with a hamstring injury. I know Miami's defense has been taking some heat after the loss to Jacksonville; how much has Wake's playing at less than 100 percent been a part of that?
Nogle: It has to have impacted the team to some degree, because this is clearly not the defensive front line we expected to see this year. Wake missed the entire second half of the game against the Jaguars, and his absence was definitely felt. The Jaguars had allowed at least four sacks in eight straight games, but Miami tallied none. That's not all because of Wake's injury, however. Something is clearly not right with the pass rush right now, and it is something they have to fix quickly.
The Dolphins rolled the dice on two undrafted rookie kickers this year. How are things going so far with Andrew Franks and Matt Darr?
Nogle: So far, it has not been bad. We are all expecting some rookie mistakes from them, but nothing major thus far. Franks missed a 42-yard field goal on Sunday, but that has really been the only issue. Darr has punted 10 times, averaging 50.6 yards per kick, which is the fourth highest average in the league right now, though he has only pinned someone inside the 20 once. So far, the rookie kicker experiment seems to be working.