Dolphins vs. Buccaneers: Five questions with the Phinsider

Marc Serota

Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider answered five questions ahead of Monday Night Football's matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins.

How do you feel about Ryan Tannehill at quarterback? Has he lived up to his expectations as a high first-round pick?

I really like Tannehill, and think he is developing nicely. He has taken a large step forward this year, and is doing a great job progressing through his reads, rather than simply locking in on his first option, and staring him down. In fact, part of the reason the Dolphins have allowed as many sacks as they have so far this year is because Tannehill is making his reads, and trying to make a second pass through his reads, or knowing that if he waits a second longer, he will have a guy open, rather than trying to either run or throw away the pass.

So far this season, Tannehill has looked good, but there's certainly still room for improvement.

The Bucs were considering Mike Sherman as their head coach in 2011, but he signed with the Dolphins. How has Sherman done with the Dolphins?

Sherman is a giant source of frustration right now. It mostly comes down to the strange way he calls plays. The Dolphins will either pass or run for a good gain on first down, and end up with a second and one. He then will try two sweeps with Daniel Thomas, who is more of a power back than the speedy Lamar Miller, and lose yards, leading to a punt. Or, the thing that will make every Dolphins fan scream at their TV game-after-game, Sherman will run a great game plan in the first half, getting a 10 point lead at the half, then come out and never call a running play in the second half. It happens every game, and it's driving us crazy.

I can't let this Incognito/Martin stuff go by without at least a question. How do you think this turmoil will affect the team on the field? Will it produce a united, pissed off team, or are we going to see a split locker room?

It really could go either way, and until Wednesday, I wouldn't have been able to give you a straight answer. But, when the players started standing up for themselves, and their locker room, it really seems like the team is getting pissed, and they are unifying under all of these reports. I think it really could be a team coming out Monday night to prove that they aren't a franchise in shambles, which could be bad for Tampa Bay.

Or, I could be way off and it gets ugly fast for Miami.

The Dolphins went on a massive spending spree this offseason. Which players have been the biggest hits and which the biggest disappointments?

Everyone made a big deal of the Dolphins' free agency haul this year, with lots of the "Dream Team" comparisons, and "The offseason winner never does well." People called it a desperate move by general manager Jeff Ireland to try to keep his job. But, it wasn't any of those. It was actually a three year plan by Ireland to rid the team of big, bloated contracts, get younger, and build this team.

That said, most of it has done well. Mike Wallace, the biggest name, has not been the weapon we all wanted, with him disappearing too often in games, and way too many drops on the year, but he's still the leader in receiving yards so far for the team, and is on pace for nearly 1,000 yards, so we may all still be looking for the long ball that seems so elusive, but he's doing other things to get his yardage.

The free agent who has been the best addition so far is probably the Buccaneers' old NFC South rival Brent Grimes. He's been great this year, and is simply taking away one receiver on every play. Quarterbacks are staying away from him most of the time, meaning he's not getting the great stats in terms of interceptions or anything, but he is doing a great job, and is clearly 100% after his Achilles injury in 2012.

The most disappointing is tackle Tyson Clabo, also from the Atlanta Falcons. Clabo just seems to have lost a step, and, as great a steal as Grimes has been, Clabo has shown why the Falcons were willing to let him go. He's struggled in both pass and run blocking, and just has never looked good. You could blame it on a change to the zone blocking scheme Miami uses, but it could simply be the veteran is on the downside of his career. He actually played really well last week, after being benched in Week 8, so maybe that was enough to get things moving in the right directions.

Will the Dolphins make the playoffs this year?

I think they will be in contention. My preseason prediction was 9-7 and in the Wildcard hunt. Right now, the Dolphins are 4-4 and in the Wildcard hunt, exactly where I thought they would be - although I didn't anticipate a 3-0 start, followed by a 0-4 stretch. They need to win five games over the last eight, which is absolutely possible - assuming the Martin/Incognito issue doesn't kill their chances. I won't say they will make the playoffs, but I do think the Dolphins have a chance.

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