MP: Perhaps I'm being an alarmist, but it seems Trent Green's performance this preseason isn't what we're used to, especially his 45.5 percent completion percentage. Is this a chemistry issue with the receivers or is there something more at work here?
AP: I wouldn't put too much stock in Green's preseason numbers, and that's because of a variety of reasons. For one, he spent the first half of the opener running for his life behind what looked like a bad college offensive line (see question 3). For another, the Dolphins have been extremely vanilla so far in the preseason, unveiling very little of what is expected to be a wide playbook. That said, the jury obviously is still out on Green because of his 2006 performance, but it's difficult to imagine him giving the Dolphins worse quarterbacking than what they got from Daunte Culpepper and Joey Harrington last season.
MP: > What's the Ronnie Brown situation? Is there a situation? I've heard the Dolphins aren't happy with him right now. Is that a fact or just message board scuttlebutt? Plus, how has he looked this season?
AP: The Ronnie Brown situation is very interesting and can be interpreted a couple of different ways. Basically, Cam Cameron said there was no guarantee that Brown would be the starting running back and that he would play the best player at the position. What made those comments even more surprising was that they came a couple of days after Brown had a tremendous preseason performance against Kansas City. For some reason, a lot was made of Brown being caught from behind at the end of a 20-some-yard run against Kansas City when he had bounced off a tackler at the line and the DB had the angle on him. That was absurd. The truth is Brown can be a good, maybe even very good, running back. But whether he'll ever be a Pro Bowl kind of guy is debatable. Backup Jesse Chatman has looked very good, just the way he looked when he backed up LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego in 2004. Would Cameron actually start Chatman over Brown? It's pretty difficult to fathom, so the thinking is he's just trying to light a fire under Brown.
AP: Well, Mormino was demoted to the second team after he looked overmatched in the preseason opener against Jacksonville. In his place is veteran Chris Liwienski, a journeyman who was signed as a free agent in the offseason. The Dolphins clearly could use an upgrade there and definitely would look at Pete Kendall if his situation with the Jets leads to his release. As for Satele, he also looked mediocre against Jacksonville, but he looked like he rebounded pretty well against Kansas City. He has the look of a pretty good player, although I'm concerned how he'll hold up against big, physical defensive tackles.
MP: How far is Joey Porter going to be behind once he gets back on the field?
AP: The defense is run by Dom Capers and is pretty similar to what the Steelers did during Porter's time there, so the idea that he'll have a lot of catching up to do in terms of the scheme is a non-issue. Of course, it might take him a couple of weeks to get back to 100 percent physically and in tip-top football shape, but Porter's readiness early in the season isn't a massive issue for this defense.
AP: Will Allen actually has been in the league for a while now, so I'm not sure I would call him a young corner. He's pretty good in coverage, but always has had problems coming up with interceptions. As for Travis Daniels, he has looked very good in camp and in the preseason after battling an ankle injury for pretty much all of the 2006 season. Of those two, I would expect Daniels to get more attention, although I'm not sure either is a guy who is going to grab many headlines.
MP: How is the transition to head coach Cam Cameron? What's different about the Dolphins this season and how has Cameron changed the culture?
AP: Cam Cameron is a much nicer, more pleasant fellow than Nick Satan ... er, Saban ... but the reality is he does a lot of things in similar ways. He's very guarded in dealing with the media, much like Saban, and is very organized, the way Saban was. The biggest change under Cameron is a less military-like atmosphere, something the players very much enjoy. That includes a remodeled, much more player-friendly locker room and an approach with players where the coach isn't constantly in their face. Nose tackle Keith Traylor, for one, said he wouldn't have returned for a 17th season had Saban not left because he got tired of being talked down to. On the field, Cameron's arrival means there'll be a lot more originality on offense, and the defense under Dom Capers will be similar except that players now won't be concerned about making mistakes and can go for more things.