Today we’re joined by Fantasy Football guru and Miami Dolphins fan/expert, Alex Miglio. You may have run into Alex’s work at Pro Football Focus, TheHuddle.com, or Bleacher Report. He’s also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers of America.
Despite all these responsibilities, Alex was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions I had for him about the current state of the Miami Dolphins.
Going into this season, the Dolphins were the butt of a lot of jokes. Now, at 4-5 and two games out of the division lead, they’re anything but. What’s been the secret to the team’s ability to exceed the pundits’ expectations?
You mean besides voodoo? Honestly, a solid defense has been the biggest reason for success, and last week’s 37-3 drubbing goes to show what happens when the defense falters. Ryan Tannehill has done a good job of protecting the football in most games as well. Once again, his three interceptions last week proved fatal for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill with the 8th overall pick this past April. Nine games in, what’s your opinion of him? Is he someone Bills fans should expect to be facing for years to come?
I liked the pick at the time despite some thinking the Dolphins reached. The Dolphins could not risk losing a potential franchise quarterback by trading down, so it made sense to me that they took him. Tannehill has certainly exceeded expectations—I expected him to be good, but not this early—vindicating Jeff Ireland’s decision to take him early. If his rookie season is any indicator, Tannehill will be facing off with the AFC East for years to come.
Reggie Bush was benched for a large portion of the Titans game this past weekend. What’s the deal there? Do Dolphins fans seems to be more upset with Bush’s fumbling, or how Joe Philbin handled the situation?
The game was such an abject disaster that I cannot even say whether fans were upset at Philbin or Bush; everything was upsetting. Bush was benched for fumbling again—he has had some fumbling issues this season—and both Philbin and Bush are to blame. I have long been against the “fumble punishment” when it comes to a team’s best players; why remove an important weapon because of a fumble? But I digress; Bush needs to protect the ball.
It could be argued that Brian Hartline is the surprise of the year thus far for the Dolphins. Is it that he’s being used differently by a new coaching staff, or has he changed something in his game?
Well, the mere fact that he is the No. 1 receiver is certainly different, but the biggest difference has been his health. Hartline has had an injury-prone career, but he has been healthy for most of the season. He is also an underrated commodity. Hartline might not be a big-time No. 1 receiver, but he is crafty and fast enough to beat opposing cornerbacks.
Cameron Wake and Karlos Dansby are probably the most familiar names on the Miami defense. What other players are contributing this year? Who would you be least surprised to see show up in Buffalo and have a good game Thursday?
Reshad Jones has blossomed this season at safety, a position of weakness heading into the season. This should not be terribly surprising considering Kevin Coyle’s track record with defensive backs. Jones has been great against the run and good in coverage; he just gave up his first touchdown catch to Jared Cook last week. Cornerback Sean Smith has had his ups and downs this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a good game this week.
Chris “7-11” Hogan was one of the featured storylines on HBO’s Hard Knocks series this summer. It appeared that he was becoming a fan favorite before being cut loose from the team. He’s now on Buffalo’s practice squad. Any thoughts to share on Chris?
Only that he was a television star. I tend not to put too much stock into training camp and preseason performances from fringe players. He is a fine practice squad member and a nice guy from what I can tell, but there is not much else to say.
Speaking of Hard Knocks, do you think the team benefited in any way from the experience? If so, how?
Not really. If anything, the experience hurt the team; players didn’t like it, and teams gleaned information about how they run things from the show. Stephen Ross put them on the show to increase exposure, and even that doesn’t seem to have paid off in terms of fan attendance.
Miami took a licking last week, but they have had Buffalo’s number in recent years. Ryan Tannehill bounced back nicely from a terrible game against Houston, and the defense should be angry after that debacle. Their main concern will be containing C.J. Spiller this week. Even if he busts loose, I’m going to say 24-20, Dolphins.
Thanks again, Alex! Hope you’re wrong on that prediction though. ;)
I strongly suggest you consider throwing a follow at Alex on Twitter at @AlexMigilio, especially if you’re into fantasy football. He’ll provide you a great deal of useful insight and information.