A new twist on Behind Enemy Lines this week, as we’re stuck in our BYE week and Sunday will have a football-shaped hole in our weekends, it also means we have no enemies to get behind the lines of. So how better to get our fix than to speak with fans of our own team to get a detailed and passionate picture of where we are as a fanbase and a franchise right now.

This is a season filled with talking points. The offensive line, if we should have drafted a RB, Chris Grier’s draft history, poor coaching, Coach Flores’ job security, Deshaun Watson, extensions for Mike Gesicki and Emmanuel Ogbah, the injury-hit WR room, the emergence of our 2021 rookies as legitimate starters and that’s all before we get started on Tua. He has more talking points than some entire franchises. So it made sense that for this week, I’d hook up with some Dolphins fans to get their perspectives on some of these topics.

And what a roster of fans I’ve been able to connect with on this! Through this BYE week, I’ve been able to link up with co-host of the Go Time Dolphins podcast Kadeem Simmonds (@KadeemSimmonds), world-renowned Dolphins Superfan and all-around boss lady, Allie Goodman (@Dolphreaky), and finally the 2021 Miami Dolphins nominee for the NFL Fan-Of-The-Year, Marc Angelo (@NorcalDolfan).

But I can’t do them justice, for those who are less aware of these guys, I’ll let them introduce themselves…

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KADEEM: I’m a sports editor who spends his waking hours outside of working, watching the Miami Dolphins. When I’m not watching them, I am talking about them on a podcast I co-host called Go Time Dolphins. How I came about being a Dolfan is pure luck I guess. I got into the NFL around 2013 through Madden, needed a team to start a franchise with and I knew roughly about the Dolphins and liked their colors so that was the reason I started supporting them and my love has continued to grow ever since.

ALLIE: Hey there, I’m Allie Goodman aka Dolphreaky! I’m a 31-year-old retail pharmacist, happily married with two children (Mia, named for Miami, and Jace, named after Jason Taylor). I originally hail from Easton, Pennsylvania, and have lived in Florida for almost 8 years now. I became a fan of the Dolphins about 21 years ago, thanks to my dad who had been a Dolphins fan since he was a kid. I’m pretty sure he never realized I would become the obsessed and overly involved fan that I am now! I currently run the SWFL Dolfan Club, which hosts watch parties for away games. We support various charities, with a focus on the Dolphins Cancer Challenge. As a season ticket holder, I attend every home game and sit in the Deep End with some of the finest dolfans there are. I also attend away games as much as possible. I enjoy spreading positivity, keeping fans engaged with all things Miami Dolphins, and sharing my love of the team. Feel free to follow me on social media to learn more about me and my entertaining Dolphins lifestyle @Dolphreaky (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).

MARC: Hi my name is Marc Angelo I’m from Northern California and the president of NorCal Dolfan Club. Most fans (FinLaws) call me NorCal. Been a Fin Fan since 8 years of age back in 1981. We were already living in California at that point. By the time I turned 10 Marino was drafted and Dan The Man is most responsible for me becoming a faithful Fin Fan.

And me? Well, I’m JMR and can be found on Twitter @JMRphin. I am a UK-based Fins fan and I have been a Dolphins fan from my early teens. My Dad follows the packers and there used to be an NFL highlights show on a Sunday morning on old-school terrestrial TV. Was a great way to spend my mornings with him, I just never associated with a team. One October, my Aunt brought a T-Shirt back from holiday for me, a grey tee, with a Dolphins logo on it. Not long after the Dolphins v Packers was a game on that highlight show and that was my way in. I have been a Dolfan ever since. I started writing about the Fins this year, initially as a guest writer on The Touchdown, before getting a regular spot on Aqua Thirteen and eventually landing here at DolphinsTalk.com. Just love the Dolphins man, interact with me whenever you want.

 It has been a true honor and a pleasure to link up with these guys for this piece, but enough about us and onto the Dolphins! Read on to find out what we thought of some of the Dolphins ‘hot topics’, starting with…



This one doesn’t take much explanation. We won our opening game, a tight ran thing in New England. We then hit the lowest of the low, a 7 game losing streak including blowouts, overtime defeats, and last-second field goals. But then… something wonderful happened… and we hit a winning streak which currently spans 5 weeks and now we sit 6-7. So this topic is simple, what do you each think is the reason behind the turnaround in form?

KADEEM: Belief and staying together. I was lucky enough to be in the press box in London and I spoke to the players after, they said they were close. People laughed at them when they said that but they were right. They just needed the ball to bounce their way a bit, for the DW rumors to go away and to get back to basics. There’s a lot more motion before the snap, the rejigging on the OL has managed to work (for now) and the team never lost faith in the coaching staff and what they were trying to achieve. For all the people who said Coach Flo lost the locker room and staff, it was BS and it goes to show that some of the beat writers just want to see Miami fail as it generates clicks. The team is behind Tua and Flo and it took a bit longer than expected for things to come to fruition but now we are seeing the 2021 Miami Dolphins we thought we were getting at the start of the season.

ALLIE: It was obvious to me after a few losses that there was a culture issue residing within the Dolphins organization. Winning was clearly not the emphasis. When Coach first took the helm, he made it clear that nonsense wouldn’t be tolerated, yet that sort of stuff started happening this year. I sat behind the Dolphins bench at the Tampa game and could see veteran linemen laughing and smiling as we were getting beat 45 to 17. It infuriated me to say this least. In fact, the entire Tampa experience – seeing how valued the Bucs posted their SB win, seeing how the team valued the fans in return, the atmosphere – all of it prompted me to start examining how the culture in Miami was so NOT that of a winning team. So I ranted online about how the fan experience in Miami was terrible, insisting that if the fans are winning, the team is winning, and vice versa. Dolphins fans ran with my little rant, sharing the same sentiments virally. Masses of dolphins fans all fired up, threatening to cancel their season tickets, ranting to any Miami Dolphins employee that would listen, bombarding their inboxes – and you know what, something changed right around that time. Rumor has it the players ultimately convened and decided to right the ship. Whether or not it’s true, I don’t know, I’m just a fan with limited inside knowledge, but SOMETHING changed. Just my opinion, but I will say since the fan experience improved, we’ve been on a winning streak ever since.

MARC: I think most young teams in many sports have more dramatic up and down swings in a season because the players are learning new things at a higher level against better competition. Miami Dolphins are young on the field and in the coaching staff. I think the young coaches learning their young players’ strengths and weaknesses and adjusting their tasks to fit the players’ strengths best is the biggest reason for this year’s turn around.

A fascinating start giving a range of answers, and it’s ideal because what is great about this franchise is that very little get’s leaked out of it, so in that vein, I don’t think we will ever know the one reason. Now the diplomatic summary of these suggestions would be that it was a combination of all of the above. But I find that really hard to believe. For all that to happen and come together, simultaneously in one week and take us from 7 straight defeats to 5 straight wins is too dramatic for me to believe.

Much is made of this “Team Meeting” that has been constantly talked about. The one where Coach Flores allegedly announced they would start playing “A different brand of football”. That I feel seems to be the turning point. Since then we have seen an elevation of rookies, more trust in the younger players to deliver, we have seen Vets like Christian Wilkins, Xavien Howard and Duke Riley start to push their involvement, take responsibility and have an impact.

I don’t know what went on in that meeting, and MAN do I wish we were the focus of an All or Nothing for this episode. But whatever happened in that room and during that week redefined this season and potentially this franchise.


So much was made of Chris Grier’s draft selection reach and misses whilst we were on our way to 1-7. But when I look at the 2021 class, maybe he has redeemed himself somewhat. The jury is still out on Hunter Long, with him inactive often. But it’s well known that TEs tend to take a few seasons to reach star player heights so we need to allow him that time. Liam Eichenberg has had a rough start on a weak offensive line and whilst he has undoubtedly been part of the problem, he has had very little in terms of leadership and veteran example to follow. But look who was taken before them and we have to be excited.

So in this topic, pick a rookie who is most impressing you and tell me why.

KADEEM: Jevon Holland. From Day 1. I have a Holland 22 jersey which is already wrong given that he switched to No 8. But Holland is a mean dude and he’s remarkable he fell to the second round. He started off a bit slow as he got used to the NFL and its pace. But he’s a difference-maker and I’ve seen people try and play down what he’s doing at the moment. He’s what Minkah Fitzpatrick wishes he was and Holland is playing lights out at the moment. The scary thing? He’s not even started to scratch the surface of what he will do in Miami in this league.

ALLIE: What an amazing draft class we have before us! No one can fault Coach Flores and Grier for these recent acquisitions. We’re watching these young guys blossom before our eyes; Holland and Phillips are straight killing it, there’s no denying that! But for me, the standout is our first-rounder, Waddle baby, Waddle baby! Wow, this dude is quickly becoming everything we hoped he would be. On paper, we knew the Tua and Waddle duo would be fire. But to see our expectations come to fruition is the next level. They look confident together. They’re moving the ball. We’re waddling all the way to the end zone and I’m loving it. I love that the friendship Waddle shares with Tua is translating to on-field success!

MARC: While I think it is obvious to most fans Waddle has been our most consistent Rookie from week 1 to week 13 and might even warrant ROY, my favorite rookie to watch has been Jaelan Phillips at DE. I really enjoy watching a strong pass rush and Jaelan’s play opposite of Emmanual Ogbah has been getting better and better every week so my pick is Jaelan Phillips. It’s really early in his career but I can see a young Jason Taylor brewing and we all know his HoF career.

You guys are perfect haha! Each one of you chose a different name from our three star rookies, I promise each reader that it wasn’t planned that way. Although it does put me in the difficult position of having to have the deciding vote here. Eeek.

I’m going to pick the obvious too. You can’t argue that Holland and Phillips have been standouts in their position from their class, both fans above made compelling cases for them as their play tape did. But the difference for me is this. Holland has been fantastic, all year, but is in a DB group with Howard, Rowe, and Byron Jones. Phillips has grown all year and is now producing week in and week out, no question, but he has been in a DLine group with Ogbah, Wilkins, Sieler, and Butler. The veteran presence for both of those guys has been plentiful and regular.

But then look at Waddle. His veteran examples in the WR room are who? Parker and Fuller have been finding new ways each week to avoid playing snaps. Albert Wilson has been a significant disappointment in terms of an impact considering his level of experience in that room. Granted Mack Hollins is emerging as a real leader but Jaylon Waddle has not had that elite guidance on the field with him the way the other two rookies have, and yet he is called on drive after drive after drive and he delivers game after game.

Stud. Baller. Elite.


So from the rookies who we talk about and hype up week after week, to the guys who don’t get near enough credit. Who do you think is having a really solid season and yet is not being talked about nearly enough…

KADEEM: I feel like everyone is getting the credit they deserve at the moment. Someone like Mack Hollins is rightfully being praised after going from a special teams ace to a legit starter at WR. But you have to look at someone like Christian Wilkins who continues to thrive on this D line and everyone is talking about Jalaen Phillips and who can blame them? Wilkins got a lot of stick early on in the season but for me, he and the rest of the interior defensive line have really shown up the past few weeks and it’s not just on the field. Wilkins has an infectious personality and he is tasked with getting the locker room hyped. Whenever a Miami Dolphins player makes a play, he’s usually the first guy to go and congratulate them and that type of love for your teammates is genuine – I hope he’s a Dolphin for life.

ALLIE: Tua of course! This poor guy is always under the microscope, and that’s natural with quarterbacks, but with Tua it’s almost like the media have been waiting for him to fail. Now that the Watson elephant is out of the room, it seems Tua is finally letting loose and showing what he can do. His passer ratings have been amazing week after week; we’re finally seeing some chemistry with Gesicki, Waddle, Hollins, etc. We’ve seen some gradual improvement with the offensive line, and Tua is taking fewer sacks and getting the ball into the hands of receivers much more quickly now. He’s starting to get some credit in the media, but he’ll need to continually shake off the haters. His lack of playing time due to injury has been to his detriment, but if he can stay healthy, the remaining games will be very telling about the type of quarterback he is.

MARC: Well I mentioned a man in the last topic that is very underrated in the league and rarely spoken about but he’s been a favorite to watch for 3 years now. Emmanual Ogbah at DE has been playing at Pro Bowl level for 2 years in a row and again playing very well in 2021. His sack numbers are down this year but his pressures and broken plays stats are all on the same pace. Fins Up Emmanual!!!

Ah see now I’m going to go down a different route. I’m not going down the line of our principal players, but rather the supporting cast who have held their own and contributed from under the radar and deserve recognition.

See for me, for every Tua hater in the fanbase and media, there is a fan willing to defend him with everything they’ve got. Also, Emmanuel Ogbah would be near the top of every Dolfan’s priority list for the coming off-season, in the terms of resigning him. So in that respect, I would say they stay away from my “most underrated” list.

I’m going for names like Justin Coleman, who yes, had some horrendous moments during our worst weeks, but so did every member of our roster. Yet who has cleaned up his game no end since the turnaround and has been a lovely piece of our DB room since then. I also want to mention Adam Butler, not a starter and not a star on our newly fierce DLine, but he regularly is at the top end of our snap count list and while he rarely makes stand-out plays, he also rarely makes mistakes. His consistency allows the star names the freedom to make their star plays and should not be underestimated. Similar can be said for Brandon Jones. His play at Safety may not be as stand out as Howard at CB or the rookie Holland, but he is showing he could be a cornerstone of our defense for a long time to come.

But the name I am going to plump for is Durham Smythe. Again, not a star player, but someone who is absolutely becoming dependable and key for our offensive drives in this upturn in form. In a scheme that relies on Tua making consistent, short passes regularly, Smythe has become a key target. He has already had the most yards of any season in his career and we have games still to go. He is often seen supporting his OLine and in a TE room which sees TE1 Mike Gesicki playing more like a WR than a TE, Smythe offers us a true TE option and he is finding his role and performing it to a consistently solid level. I see you #81, keep producing sir.


There has been so much talk around our coaching this year. Whether it be play calling or offensive line development it always seems to come back to one man, the head coach, Brian Flores. He has come in for a lot of stick during this season, some probably justified, others probably exaggerated. He comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree which historically promises a lot yet ends up delivering underwhelmingly little. So are we going to see the same from him too? Where do you think he and his staff stand now?

KADEEM: It’s was easy, to pile on Coach Flores at 1-7. We all expected a better start. He’s got some decisions wrong, like not going with more experienced heads at OC, and probably needs to bring in a new offensive line coach. But Coach Flo is my guy, he’s someone who you want to play for and you want to succeed. He didn’t become a bad head coach overnight and those people who called for his head have no patience. This is someone who should have been coach of the year last season and had Miami made the playoffs he would have been. He’s still learning as a HC but Miami would be foolish to part ways with him now in the middle of a rebuild.

ALLIE: I don’t believe Coach Flores is on the chopping block, nor do I want him to be. Earlier in the season it definitely appeared he had lost the locker room. We couldn’t even beat the worst teams in the NFL. We weren’t seeing the same fire from him as we had in the past. It was concerning, yet somehow the team is turning this season around. Flo is a young coach, a defensive-minded one at that. Many of the coaches are young and inexperienced as well. But with any job, there is a learning curve. The only way to get better is to stay the course, remain consistent, and keep learning from one’s mistakes. I believe what the Miami Dolphins need most right now is consistency, not only with players but also within in the coaching staff. Give Coach Flores time to figure this team out, to grow them into something great.

MARC: I really like Brian Flores and think he’s a great YOUNG coach. I think his biggest mistake was trusting all young players to get better without the influence of veteran talent teaching the young players on the field while things are happening. Mack Hollins said, “Players learn/absorb more info during a game from talking to the other players playing during the game, not the coaches”. I think cutting the veterans that best relayed that info was B Flo’s biggest mistake and why it took so long to get the team on track.

I think you’re all right in terms of him being young in his career and his successful traits outweigh the areas he is weak in. I also would stick with him without too much hesitation as I believe the consistency argument is a strong one. Plus he has shown during THIS season alone, he is learning from his mistakes and able to make changes that can have an impact.

Yet on the other side, I really don’t think that the Co-Offensive Coordinator experiment has worked, and in recent weeks it seems like we have improved when Godsey seems to be #1 and Studdesville #2 in that relationship. I believe that will be evaluated at the end of the season. Also, we are aggressively in need of a change at OLine coach, that is so clear. Anyone arguing against that is missing some of the most obvious issues on our plate. But that brings less consistency and so my arguments are conflicted.

This brings me to Coach Flores’ kryptonite. His ability to build an offensive staff. The reason is unclear, could it be a lack of knowledge? Could it be a lack of knowing what he wants from his offense? Could it be his ego and desire not to have any other dominant or outside voices in his coaching rooms? There are arguments for them all, but I believe that Coach Flores has earned the chance to be in Miami next year but he has decisions to make on the offensive staff, the same decisions he had to make in previous offseasons, and he will have to start getting them right soon if we are to make the most out of our offensive potential.


What can we say about this guy that hasn’t already been said… wow!! This man is in the media and fanbase’s eyes and in some cases their cross-hairs, every single week. His situation needs no introduction, all I want to know is where you stand on our current QB1…

KADEEM: I’m a defense guy. I want my team to play complementary football. I don’t need my QB to throw for 5 TDs a game and put up 400 yards in the air. I need my QB to look after the ball, get it to his playmakers and to not make stupid decisions and that’s why I’m a Tua stan. For me is great, still has plenty of upside and while he may not be as flashy as the others, I truly believe he is the QB THIS Miami team needs for the next 10 years so I stand behind Tua 100%. If for whatever reason he leaves Miami, I will support him wherever he goes and back him to succeed.

ALLIE: Tua is my quarterback until he’s not our quarterback. He’s trained for this his entire life. Anyone who doesn’t believe that can go watch the documentary that aired last year. Watch how he was conditioned from a young age, to not only be great, but to be the BEST. Watch the last few games, even go back to his college tape; the dude is undoubtedly talented. What stands out most to me is that he actually CARES. He is bothered when things don’t go as planned. We haven’t had a reliable offensive line in ages and it’s been tough to watch Tua scrambling for his life play after play. Giving him the tools to succeed in this system was the primary objective of the last draft and needs to remain a focus. Miami fans are always cynical when it comes to our quarterbacks, and rightfully so! Just look at how many quarterbacks we’ve been through since Marino. It’s embarrassing; yet, it feels different with Tua – so let’s see this through.

MARC: I’ll keep this one simple. Tua is 100% a franchise QB learning The NFL on the job behind a young OLine and young coaching staff. His injury history is the only thing to question but his skills and athletic ability are ELITE!!!

I love this! I am a Tua guy too. He is earning respect and earning wins. We are seeing him grow before our eyes and I’m with each of you that he is growing into a franchise QB. I just hope that will be with us. Allie alluded to our many mistakes at the QB position in recent history, drafting a guy like Tua and him going on to be THE guy for this team would be the dream scenario.

I believe he is getting there too. He has an OLine that contains 3 people at the top of the sacks allowed and pressures allowed charts. He is running a RPO offense with a RB group that has one of the worst pass-blocking stat lines. His top WRs are often injured and the ones that remain have put together the most dropped passes of any offense in the league. Some will call these excuses, but the stats back up that these are not excuses, but factual, proven reasons.

Yet amongst all that Tua is putting up top 10 passer ratings and his completion percentages are up there with the best of them. Imagine his stats if he had time to refine his reads, make bigger and more complicated throws, and had WRs who could catch them at merely a league-average rate. That’s a recipe for greater success.

Our man will take us to a winning season, I believe that. But we have to remember that DeShaun Watson-shaped shadow still looming over the Hard Rock. It may not be in the front of our minds right now, but he will be back on the market this off-season and our franchise has famously done a lot of work on bringing him to Miami. Has Tua done enough to put them off going back into those talks? Only our front office knows the answer to that question, but I for one sincerely hope he has earned their confidence.


So let’s wrap this up now. Where do we go from here? We sit on a bye week now, with 4 more games to come afterward. All potentially winnable, all potential slip-ups, two divisional, and all with the potential to change the perspective of this team and this franchise. How do you guys think we get on for the remainder of the season?

KADEEM: In the most Coach Flores way possible, I’m taking things one game at a time. I’m not thinking about the P word, I’m thinking and rest and recovery during the bye week and then getting onto the Jets game. Miami has shown that when they get too far ahead of themselves, they are brought crashing back to earth. So one game at a time, one practice session at a time, one day at a time. The rest of the season is irrelevant for me if we don’t take care of the here and now and prepare the right way.          

ALLIE: We’re in a great position to win out and slip into to the wildcard race. The Jets aren’t a concern. The Saints and Titans have been struggling as of late, and the Patriots never seem to fare well in Miami. I promise you, the fans, myself included, will be giving them hell at home in the last game. The Dolphins could make history after a 1-7 start and I’m here for it! FINS UP.

MARC: The Phillip Lyndsey addition will pay off Big Time. He might not be an ELITE RB but he is a selfless player willing to do any task to succeed. His blocking ability is top shelf and he’s a strong runner that sees the full field. All 4 games remaining in the regular season are winnable games and I predict they will win out and make the playoffs at 10-7. I think Waddle will win ROTY and continue to grow in this league. FINS UP FIN FANS!!!!

I’m on the fence here. I’m closer to Kadeem’s position I think. The energetic fanatic in me sees what Marc and Allie are saying and my excitement has me hoping and almost believing in that. But I am also under no illusion how hard that is going to be. It would involve us putting together a HISTORIC run and a 9 game winning streak. That is SIGNIFICANTLY hard to do with a title-challenging team, never mind one with the worst OLine in the league.

So for me, I do see us falling short but I do see us getting ourselves a winning record. I believe we will now end up 9-8 with Tua doing enough to earn his place at the front of our QB room without doing enough to take away the doubters. I believe this is the most realistic scenario that leaves us disappointed but with plenty of draft and free agency resources to be able to substantially build off that 9-8.

So that’s the realistic take, but of course, the fanatic side of me wants us to take it to the final game, into a shoot-out against New England in Miami, and for us to get ourselves into those playoffs by winning that game. Picture it, a divisional match-up of two historical rivals, Tua v Mac, Belichick v Flores, Master v Apprentice. The narrative writes itself.

Logic tells me it will be scenario A, whilst my enthusiastic supporter side dreams of scenario B. Either way, we sure want to see this BYE week to pass quickly and get back to beating on those Jets!!!