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Suveying the Enemy: Q&A With The Phinsider

The Ravens and Dolphins are two unlikely teams with a lot of similarities.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

These two teams actually have a lot more in common than you think. Both the Dolphins and Ravens were teams that had a lot of hype coming into the season. The Dolphins' explosive young offense was finally going to break out, and Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake would terrorize any quarterback in their path. Oh, and the guys at Harvard said they'd be in the Super Bowl. I don't have to tell you that none of these things came true.

So to find out more about this intriguing team, I went to Kevin Nogle, Managing Editor of The Phinsider.

You can find my answers to Kevin's questions at the best Dolphins' site around.

1. Last I heard, Ndamukong Suh wasn't playing so well and was even apparently ignoring play calls from the defensive coordinator. Has Suh turned it around and played like the man the Dolphins payed so much for him to be?

I think Suh gets unnecessary scrutiny for every little thing, not that it is not unwarranted scrutiny, just unnecessary. When you have the reputation he has, the scrutiny, whether or not there is actually a story there, is going to happen. We saw it this year when, in the first two weeks, there were stories trying to say Suh was kicking players in the head. Nothing came from either of those, and nothing really came of the story that he was ignoring play calls, either. Suh has actually played well for Miami, especially over the past few weeks where he is starting to look more like the player we all expected to see when the Dolphins signed him. I think part of Suh's slow start - and, this is a slow start for him, which still makes him a really, really good player - was his trying to figure out exactly how he fit into the Dolphins' defense. I think the Dolphins were asking him to read more than when he was in Detroit - which probably led to the ignoring calls story - and he was deferring to Cameron Wake on the defensive line. With Wake out for the year, Suh appears to have decided that this is now his defense, and he is playing like the dominant player on that side of the ball. He is not a player who is going to explode in the box score each and every week, but he can disrupt opposing offenses seemingly at will, and he can be everywhere. We have seen plays this year where Suh starts rushing the passer, then runs down field to make the tackle on passing plays. He is ridiculous. Unfortunately, there is only so much one player can do, and until the rest of the Dolphins defense starts to fill gaps and make sure tackles, Suh being dominant will not have the game-defining impact we all want to see.

2. Tannehill, Miller, Landry, this is a lethal combination, an offensive coordinator's dream. With this amount of talent, how has Miami's offense been so dysfunctional?

I wish I knew. It really makes no sense, and, hopefully, the change at offensive coordinator, with Bill Lazor being fired this week and quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor taking over those duties, helps. I think, really, it comes down to the Dolphins having been built under former head coach Joe Philbin to be a finesse team in a league - and a division - made of physical teams. Facing Todd Bowles and Rex Ryan defenses twice a year with a finesse offense that is going to come out and pass the ball 50 times a game is not going to win. It just does not make sense. The Dolphins would immediately abandon the run in almost every single game, and try to beat you throwing the ball only. That works when you have an offensive line who can block without issue. It does not work when you have an offensive line that has allowed the most sacks since 2012, and you are basically telling the defense you are not even going to fake the run. Things just fell apart for Miami offensively, and now they have to start trying to put the pieces back together.

3. What does the future look like for the head coaching position in South Beach? Does Dan Campbell stick around? If not, who do you think the Dolphins look to?

That is a great question, and one we would all like to get answered. I think Dan Campbell has a shot at it, but the team has to start playing better quickly. I hate the idea of changing everything again, but what the Dolphins have done this year simply is not working. If Campbell can show that he does have the team starting to move in the right direction, and that he can build the staff underneath him that will support a more physical, aggressive type of team, then he potentially could stay. If not, I think Miami has to look for a head coach with NFL head coaching experience. The Dolphins have now had seven head coaches (counting Dan Campbell, Todd Bowles, and Jim Bates, all who were interim head coaches) since they last hired a head coach who had previously coached at the NFL level, promoting Dave Wannstedt from assistant head coach to head coach after Jimmy Johnson retired. I know everyone wants to catch that lightning in a bottle with the up-and-coming college coach or coordinator, but Miami may need to stop being the team that allows a coach to fail in his first job before figuring it out in his second try, and just become the team picking up the experienced coach.

4. DeVante Parker wasn't drafted so early to simply sit on the bench. We knew he had an injury to the foot, but the return date is long gone. Why have the Dolphins kept their coveted weapon in the shed?

I think it was a combination of things, including trying to get a rookie who missed all of training camp and the Preseason caught up to speed with a regular season NFL offense and better chemistry between Ryan Tannehill and Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews. I also think, and this is probably the biggest one, was Parker not being comfortable with his foot. What we did see of Parker before last week just made him appear to be a little tentative on his foot, not quite cutting in his routes or with the ball as sharply as he did in college. Last week, with Matthews injured, Parker had to come in and perform. He started slowly, again looking like he just did not have confidence in himself, but, as the course of his 10 targets carried through the game, he started to play better. Hopefully, that was the starting point to him getting some good experience over the rest of the season and positioning himself for a big 2016.

5. In my opinion, Lamar Miller is one of the best backs in the league. No doubt about it. Yet the Dolphins have somehow only given the ball to him twelve times over the past two games, against two not-so-good run defenses. This is simply astounding to me. Is there any logical explanation for this? Do the Dolphins finally adjust their clocks to "Miller Time" this week?

There is absolutely no logical explanation for why Miami refuses to trust Lamar Miller. None. People will point to the penalties that Miami has had on offense, pushing them into long-yardage situations, or to the deficits the Dolphins seem to face week-after-week, but even then, it does not make sense. Miller picks up about five yards a carry. Two weeks ago, he was picking up more than eight yards an attempt so the Dolphins only gave him the ball seven times. Astounding is a great word for it. Things seemed to turn around some when Philbin was fired, which everyone assumed would allow Lazor to call a game more like a Philadelphia Eagles offense, where Lazor was the quarterbacks coach when the Eagles led the league in rushing. For two weeks, it did seem like Miami was finally going to open up Miller, and he gained 288 yards on 33 carries in the Weeks 6 and 7. In the five games since, he has carried the ball a total of 49 times. Again, astounding. Zac Taylor has said the team will return to a more balanced offense (last week, the Dolphins pass-run ratio was 58-9), so we should see Miller - and rookie Jay Ajayi who is really exciting for Dolphins fans - more this week. It should be interesting to see how the Dolphins handle running against the Ravens, who, obviously, are good at stopping the run.