I was pleased to be joined by Kevin Nogle from The Phinsider, our Miami Dolphins affiliate, to preview Sunday's game. Kevin talks about former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the team's new look at the running back position, and more.
Chris: "Cleveland fans never really warmed up to the playcalling of former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. What do Dolphins fans think of Daboll so far?"
Kevin: "For the most part, Dolphins fans are excited from what they have seen from Daboll. He's brought some explosiveness and down-the-field opportunities that were sorely missing last year from the offense. Daboll has also allowed quarterback Chad Henne the freedom to audible and adjust plays as he sees fit. This has allowed Henne to become more comfortable running the offense compare to last year, where he was only allowed to run "check-with-me" corrections to go from one play to another at the line.
Fans are getting tired of the Dolphins struggling in the red zone, which is more about execution than play calling, I think, and is similar to troubles they have had over the last couple of years, but it's still a part of the offensive scheme, and it is frustrating."
Chris: "The running back situation underwent a major change in the offseason, going from the tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to the tandem of Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush. Does the change make Miami a better team at the running back position?"
Kevin: "No. More explosive, maybe, but not better. Reggie Bush adds a very talented, very dangerous option out of the backfield, and Daniel Thomas looked really good last week in his debut (18 carries, 107 yards), but I'm not ready to call them better. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are missed by the fans of the team, and, I think, by the team itself. They added a dynamic that this team is missing - the ability to pound the rock. Now, with the struggles the offensive line has been having, to include Pro Bowler Jake Long, maybe Ricky and Ronnie wouldn't have the success we all think they would, but, unless Thomas continues to prove he is the between the tackles threat we all want him to be, the running game will continue to struggle."
Chris: "Browns fans are also familiar with linebacker Jason Trusnik, who is now with the Dolphins too. Is he just a special teamer this year, or is he getting some reps on defense too?"
Kevin: "Trusnik is primarily a backup to Cameron Wake right now. He's appeared in the defense in both games, but has only racked up two tackles, both in the first half against the Patriots (Week 1). He's struggling on kickoffs this year, with three holding penalties already. The Dolphins have reportedly also been giving Trusnik some work at inside linebacker, as they look to add depth behind a hurting Karlos Dansby."
Chris: "If you could pick one thing that is the reason the Dolphins are 0-2 right now (offense, defense, special teams, coaching, discipline, etc), what would it be?"
Kevin: "Wow. What a question. The offensive line is a mess. He running game has struggled (other than Thomas last week). But, I think the biggest disappointment for fans, and the top reason why Miami is winless so far, is the defense. They looked a little better last week against the Texans, compared to the 600+ yards of offense they gave up to New England in Week 1, but, when you have the 2010 sixth best defense, and expect them to be even better this year, this hasn't been the start they, or we, expected."
Chris: "Linebacker Cameron Wake already has a sack in each of his first two games. Would you consider him the MVP of the defense? Are there any other players on defense the Browns should watch out for in particular?"
Kevin: "Wake probably has to be the defense's MVP right now. But, that's not the most ringing endorsement a guy could get with the defense being as bad as it has been. As for someone you should watch, I would put Sean Smith in that category. Smith is an amazing corner, and quarterbacks tend to stay away from him. He just doesn't get the notoriety because (1) this is Miami and (2) he doesn't make the pick as often as he stops the completion. Smith is a monster of a cornerback (6'3", 215 lbs.) and is a sub 4.50 40 guy. With Vontae Davis hurting, Smith will have to step up to shut down half the field, while Will Allen and Nolan Carroll figure out the other side of the field. I wouldn't be surprised if Smith was able to do it."
Once again, I'd like to thank Kevin for taking the time to answer my questions.