Inside the Mind of a Dolphin: An Interview with PhinsPhocus writer Michael Serrania

Sometimes the best way to learn about your enemy is to talk to an expert on them. As I was meandering through a warm, Midwest afternoon pondering the horrors of being 0-2, I received a surprising email. A passionate expert on the Miami Dolphins was calling to me to share a little wisdom on the Kansas City Chiefs. In true fan fashion, I followed the protocol of an eye for an eye. I would answer his inquiries on the Chiefs if he would oblige me with some opinions on the Dolphins. He agreed.
Our expert is Michael Serrania. His site is PhinsPhocus.com. I mean, come on, that’s a pretty catchy site. He had my full attention just with that name. I’m a sucker for wit. If you mosey on over to his page you can see my responses to his questions. I believe the Chiefs Kingdom will be proud.
Enough about my sales pitch. Let’s check out how Michael handled the pressure of a Chiefs writer throwing questions at him.

Ryan Tannehill has had some problems with accuracy this season. What do you think he needs to improve in his role as quarterback? Does he have enough “weapons” in place? Do you think he’s the right man to build the team around?

First, there seems to be a new answer I give for this question. Thanks for the softball question! As it stands, it seems that while Tannehill is getitng his feet under him this season, people (Dolphins fans and media) are freaking out about his lower passing totals this time last season. People seem to forget that Tannehill has hit Mike Wallace for two red zone touchdowns, and has three touchdowns to three interceptions. However, what seems to be an issue for Tannehill is pocket passing. Tannehill fails to step up in the pocket and throw with accuracy. Any fan can see that Tannehill versus the Bills misfires on three big plays. One- his underthrow to Mike Wallace on the first series deep. Wallace has single coverage and the kind of speed that would normally allow him to separate from a corner in space. On this play Tannehill throws it up and it doesn’t come down to Wallace in stride. Next, Tannehill fires the ball to a wide open Brandon Gibson who leaps for a ball that’s over his head. With the amount of real estate in front of Gibson, a pass at his chest our out in front is a third down. Lastly, Tannehill hits Rishard Matthews in the hands close to his chest as he shields the corner back in the end zone! Matthews drops the pass, but never really has a clear chance to grab the football.
As much as I want to take a wait and see approach with Tannehill, I don’t believe that the rumors of a possible benching are far-fetched. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor-brought in to cure Tannehill of his ills, has been highly critical of his progress in this system. It was Lazor who made Nick Foles of the Eagles a household name. Fans and media believe in Tannehill, but there is a growing contingent calling for Matt Moore in a relief role to see if he can get some wins in this system.
Mark my words, if Tannehill fails this week again, he will get benched and if Matt Moore hits Wallace in stride, the Dolphins will make the playoffs. It’s that simple, but yet so complicated. Never forget that the Dolphins harped on that offset language so much in case Tannehill was a bust for them.
This year, but more importantly these next few games will show whether or not Tannehill is the guy. The leash in my opinion is that short and Philbin can wait only so long!

After all if the scrutiny the Dolphins faced last season after the hazing incident, how important do you think it is for the team to change its image this year?

The Dolphins have a motto: Stronger Together on all of their media from the team. Sadly, the thoughts of the hazing incident never seem to go away. Just this week, one of my favorite Dolphins’ beat reporters Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post talking about line coach Jim Turner’s side of the story regarding Jonathan Martin. It’s ugly and it’s sad and it seems like the team (coaches) knew much more than was initially reported. Sadly, Martin and Incognito for whatever reason were friends who fell out of their friendship. They went to battle for each other on that line. I witnessed, as several other Dolphins fans, that they would drive to games together. They were always hanging out with each other.
Hopefully, the team has found a way to band together as a unit. The team has made strides in this area and that was clearly the case last season until injuries and poor offensive line play ended the season with a two game losing streak. The coaches, especially head coach Joe Philbin has made attempts to be more visible in the player’s locker room and has had more one on one interaction with all players. It’s up to Joe Philbin to cultivate change. I’m hopeful things can improve. Dolphins fans are hopeful as well.
The Dolphins travel with a warrior shield and have it around in Davie. It’s a symbol of them being in the same trenches together and together they will fight!

Is continuing to focus in the run game a wise choice despite the loss of Knowson Moreno? How big of an impact did his injury have on the team? Was bring Daniel Thomas back the right choice?

Great question. The Dolphins were a fairly unbalanced and unproductive team rushing the football. Not only could the Dolphins not block in passing situations last season they couldn’t run block after Incognito and Martin left. This season is no different, the Dolphins have Daniel Thomas, who they re-signed after cutting him (you might remember him from KSU), and Lamar Miller. Miller is probably questionable with an ankle injury, but Thomas is really what I call a power back that lacks power. Thomas knows the system and knows the coaches so for now, it was a wise stop gap move.
It would be wise for the Dolphins to nickel and dime the Chiefs because their rushing attack isn’t going to scare the Chiefs. It’s not like Reggie Bush nor Ricky Williams are walking through that door.
Losing Knowshon has hurt the team because of his ability to catch passes, pass block, and be a leader on the field. The team was clearly off kilter after Moreno left the game and it seemed to be improvising with their game plan.
Don’t count out Damien Williams. He’s my favorite un drafted free agent. He has some power and speed to his game.

Now that the new NFL drug policy has passed, how will it effect the team? Have the suspended players been missed the first two weeks? Do you think the new rules will help keep other players from using performance enhancing drugs?

Both Reshad Jones and Dion Jordan have two more games regardless of the new deal. I think, and I hope that they serve as examples to the players on the team to watch what they put into their bodies. The new drug policy changes up some of the classification of drugs, but still has teeth regardless.

After coming off a season of being 8-8, and currently sitting at 1-1, how important is it for the Dolphins to win this game against the Chiefs? How have the frustrations of last season carried over into this season? What do the fans expect out of this season?

This is a must win according to all Dolfans. Having witnessed an 0-6 start, 0-8 start, and 0-14 start, I can tell you right now you want to get to a winning record. More importantly, Ryan Tannehill having a 300-3TD win would be helpful for all of our collective psyches. However, if the Dolphins lose, the groans will grow much louder about Tannehill being benched and Philbin being fired in favor of Jim Harbaugh (under contract) or any hot college coach. The groans will echo for the Dolphins to tank for Jameis Winston in the draft. Hopefully, the Dolphins win!

Go ahead and hit me with your score prediction.

Dolphins 16- Chiefs 10. It’s late September. It’s hot. Both teams can play defense. Dolphins can’t run, it’s going to be close.

I agree with Michael, this game is going to be close. We do disagree on who the victor will be. Both team are in a must win situation and both teams are hungry for it. The fans are hungry for it. Take that excitement and loud Kingdom roar into Miami on Sunday. This game is shaping up to be a hard fought, fun to watch game.
Now all of you go give Michael some love on twitter by following him at @DolphinMick and maybe throw a little banter at him. He can take the heat. Don’t forget to check out my interview on his site PhinsPhocus.com. Thank you again, Michael. The Chiefs Kingdom is looking forward to Sunday.

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