Thanks to Brian Miller of Phin Phanatic for joining us in this week’s question and answer exchange. Thanks also to Scott for suggesting several of this week’s questions.
Following are our questions and Brian’s answers, after the jump.
Total Titans: This will be the first meeting in three years between the Dolphins and Titans. The 2006 Dolphins had an atrocious o-line and Miami now has one of the best lines in the league. Also, the defense has changed from a 4-3 to a Bill Parcells-style 3-4. Would you characterize these two areas as the biggest improvements since 2006?
Phin Phanatic: The biggest change for the Dolphins in the last decade actually has been the hiring of Bill Parcells who in turn brought GM Jeff Ireland and HC Tony Sparano. That change brought a new attitude to the team and they have made some pretty good decisions thus far with the draft. The Phins still play both a 3-4 and a 4-3 depending on what the situation is but the coaching is 100 percent better than it has been since 2000.
Total Titans: It doesn’t seem the Dolphins have run much at all out of the single-wing (Wildcat) since Ronnie Brown’s injury and Chad Henne’s evolvement as a quarterback. Or am I wrong about that? How has the Dolphins’ Wildcat formation performed without Brown? Has Pat White been a factor in the Wildcat?
Phin Phanatic: The Phins have not used the WC in two consecutive games and the last time they tried to run out of it, Ricky Williams threw an interception in the end zone against the Bills. The Phins are still capable of using the formation but they have been playing well without it the last two weeks. The Phins believe it’s a situational formation now that hasn’t been needed.
Total Titans: Ricky Williams is an anomaly as a 32-year old NFL running back and he’s been getting close to 30 touches a game since Brown’s injury. How much does that concern you?
Phin Phanatic: Last week Williams fumbled 3 times losing one of them. That concerns me as he has not been known for that habit. The Phins have a young guy named Lex Hilliard who is a smaller version of Ricky who hits harder. After that there are a couple of other youngsters with potential. I’m concerned with the depth of the RB corps but I don’t think there really is much to do this late in the season to change that.
Total Titans: Does Henne represent the future at quarterback for the Dolphins or are they still going to look around for another alternative? What are your impressions of him after a 7-3 start in his first year as the starting quarterback? What should Titans fans expect to see from Henne on Sunday?
Phin Phanatic: First…thus far…I LOVE CHAD HENNE. The Phins have gone through God knows how many QB’s since Dan Marino. Henne is still learning but thus far he is doing things the right way. Having spent a year behind Chad Pennington paid off and the positives of that are starting to show on the field. Henne is very confident for a young QB. Titans fans will likely see a methodical QB. Henne doesn’t light up scoreboards. He is an offense that employs long drives. Still, Henne can be surprisingly accurate at times with his throws and I think that is something that is impressive.
Total Titans: When Randy Starks was a defensive tackle in the Titans 4-3 defense I didn’t think much of him. I was surprised to see him playing well as a 3-4 defensive end for Miami. The two positions are not that dissimilar. Do you attribute a change of scheme as the reason for his improvement or perhaps just a change in scenery? We know it isn’t a change in coaching because anyone who doesn’t bust his butt for Titans d-line coach Jim Washburn is just a lazy bum.
Phin Phanatic: Starks is the Miami Dolphins defensive player of the year right now. Hands down. He is playing lights out. Last year, he was not involved as much but that’s because they Dolphins didn’t use him. This year, he went to the coaches and said he wanted a real shot at starting. They gave it to him and he won the job. For Starks, I think the difference is that in Miami they are letting him be “the guy” and in Tennessee he was “the guy”‘s back-up.
Total Titans: What’s your prediction for Sunday? Also, this is a chance to tell Titans fans something you think they ought to know about the Dolphins that we haven’t already covered.
Phin Phanatic: Well, I never predict games, yeah I know it’s a cop-out but I save that for my radio show when the feeling moves me to do so…LOL. I think this game is really too close to call and comes down to one thing and one thing only. Who want’s to go to the playoffs more. PERIOD. For Titans fans, I would say the one thing they don’t know about Miami is this: They don’t quit and they hit really hard. Brian Hartline is a fun guy to watch. A 2nd day pick WR Hartline has been impressive and he likes to hit people which is why he plays special teams. The issue there is he also likes to hit CB’s as well and has drawn flags for PI as a WR 3 times this year.
Thanks again to Brian for his answers. For my answers to his questions and for more Dolphins’ perspective, check out Brian’s work on Phin Phanatic.