Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers David Furones and Chris Perkins answer questions from readers.
Q: Can they win 5 in a row to get to 8-3? — @1972wasgreat on Twitter
A: They certainly could. Here’s the schedule through the end of November: at Detroit Lions, at Chicago Bears, vs. Cleveland Browns, bye, vs. Houston Texans.
Those teams are a combined 7-18-1. All are below .500. If the Dolphins are who we thought they were, they should be able to handle these teams or go, at worst, 3-1 over the next four to get to 7-4.
If the Bears look like they did on Monday night in Foxborough, that could complicate things at Soldier Field on Nov. 6. Then, returning home for the Texans and Browns (without Deshaun Watson), with the bye week in between, should set Miami up well for the final stretch.
Doing well during this part of the schedule is critical with a challenging final month-plus that involves road games at San Francisco, at the Los Angeles Chargers, at Buffalo and at New England. The Dolphins also will have home games against Green Bay and the upstart Jets during that final stretch.
Q: Does Brandon Shell have the RT job going forward? — Juan Hernandez on Twitter
A: The veteran with more than 60 starts has worked his way up from being an in-season addition to the practice squad to now having his spot secured on the active roster and starting at right tackle, at least while Austin Jackson is still not ready in recovery from his ankle injury.
He and Greg Little were the two tackles while Terron Armstead was also out, and when Armstead returned in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh, Shell held on to his spot at right tackle while Little went to the bench.
Shell told me in the locker room after the win over the Steelers that it was his expectation to eventually earn his spot on the active roster from the practice squad because the veteran right tackle knows what he’s capable of. He also noted how much more comfortable he is on the right side after initially filling in for Armstead on the left side, where he had never played until the Oct. 9 loss at the Jets.
Said coach Mike McDaniel on Monday: “He continues to impress. … He’s fitting right into the culture, continues to get better and is a real strong dude that understands angles and how to block people.”
Jackson still may not practice this week as he gets deeper into his 21-day window to be activated from injured reserve after returning to practice on Oct. 12. If Shell shows consistency in the next game or two, sticking at right tackle could be in the cards, with Jackson possibly getting a chance at left guard, where he played last year and Liam Eichenberg has had his struggles this season.
But don’t forget I got the same question after Week 2 over Little, and that perception quickly changed weeks later.
Q: Should the Fins have gone for CMC (Christian McCaffrey)? — Marco Briceño on Twitter
A: I saw some betting props that had the Dolphins with the second-shortest odds to trade for the star running back the Carolina Panthers dealt to the 49ers.
Even though the asking price didn’t turn out to be what was initially reported, involving a first-round draft pick, it was still pretty hefty. San Francisco sent its 2023 second-, third- and fourth-round selections, plus a 2024 fifth. That’s almost a whole upper half of your draft’s worth of picks for a player that is talented but has missed 23 games over the previous two seasons.
Raheem Mostert has looked smooth in recent games, and McDaniel’s run game, while still needing more time to fully come together, can work without an elite talent at tailback, as he proved with the backfield committees San Francisco had while he coordinated the run game there.
Q: Will Miami still look to add CB depth even with some promise from Noah? — Tyler Bellen on Twitter
A: If the Dolphins haven’t to this point, my guess is no, unless there is another injury to a cornerback. McDaniel expressed confidence that the Dolphins have enough at the position amid the injuries, and Noah Igbinoghene and Justin Bethel have proven him correct, each with interceptions in the win over Pittsburgh. Hopefully, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen can make progress recovering from their oblique and knee injuries, respectively.
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