Behind Enemy Lines: Dolphins II

Dolphin Digest editor Alain Poupart answers our questions on Nick Saban's tendency to be a control freak, the biggest positive/negative surprises of the Dolphins season and his prediction for the game against the New England Patriots. Be sure to read Part 1 for more inside scoop on the Dolphins.

10 QUESTIONS - Dolphins vs Patriots Part 2

DophinsDigest.com Editor Alain Poupart is this week's guest on 10 questions about the Dolphins.

Continued from Part 1

5) The Dolphins obviously took advantage of turnovers to defeat the Bears. How have the other wins come, did the Dolphins do something in particular to beat their opponents or was it some other factor that got them the wins?

Poupart: Oh, the defense is what won all those games, but it wasn't just turnovers (although that was the case against Chicago and Minnesota). The Dolphins also shut down a Kansas City offense that had been very hot with Damon Huard at quarterback. Against Detroit, the big story was Joey Harrington having a big day throwing the ball against his former team.

4) How do the media and the fans in Miami view Nick Saban? He has a reputation as a bit of a control freak from what we hear about up here. Is it accurate to say he runs a tight ship? And do you think his style of coaching helps/hinders the team’s progress?

Poupart: Did you say a "bit of a control freak"? "Tight ship"? Now, those are two massive understatements. He is all those things and more, and make sure to add very well organized. As far as how he's viewed, the media isn't crazy about him because he's not easy to deal with and sometimes doesn't talk about stuff that isn't as significant as he's making it sound -- for example, he refuses to divulge practice squad transactions even though everybody in the NFL has access to that information. The fans have cooled on him a little now that we're headed for a second consecutive playoff-less season under his watch, but there is a faction out there that still will give him the benefit of the doubt. Finally, a couple of things I do think don't help the Dolphins is the number of coaches on his staff (too many voices in players' heads) and his tough negotiating style (two first-round picks in two years signed late, and in this year's case that helped make Jason Allen pretty much useless on defense all season).

3) Biggest positive surprise of the season so far for the Dolphins?

Poupart: Given that the team has played far below expectations, there aren't a whole lot of possible answers there. I'll go with the play of the defensive line, only in the sense that it has maintained a very high level of play despite having a lot of age on it.

2) Biggest disappointment of the season for the Dolphins?

Poupart: That's a slam dunk. The Daunte Culpepper situation, which is only made worse when you look at what Drew Brees is doing in New Orleans and have to swallow that the Dolphins only went with Culpepper over Brees based on medical advice that Brees represented more of a risk.

1) Will Daunte Culpepper be in a Dolphins uniform next year?

Poupart: Absolutely. His contract doesn't really jump up until a couple of years down the road, so the Dolphins will definitely see what he can do once he's fully recovered from that knee injury. It will be a major letdown -- and a massive blow -- to this organization if he's not the starter next season.

Curiosity Questions:

Who will win and why?

Poupart: The Patriots because in the end Tom Brady will make the one play he needs to make. I'm sensing a game similar to last season at Dolphin Stadium when the Dolphins played the Pats tough all day but simply couldn't make the big stop at the end. Little has changed since then. The Dolphins are a decent team when they play up to par, but they're still not at a playoff level.

Dolphins record for the rest of the season?

Poupart: Lose to Pats, win at Buffalo, lose to Jets, lose at Colts. That's 1-3 and makes them 6-10.

Top 5 teams in the NFL right now?

Poupart:
1. San Diego
2. Indianapolis
3. Dallas
4. New England
5. Cincinnati

Look for Part 1 where Alain addressed the concern about the Dolphins defense, Joey Harrington's tendency to throw errant passes, Jason Taylor's pro bowl season and more.

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