Is this going to be another tough year for Dolphins fans?
Alain Poupart: Sure looks that way. There actually was reason for hope as the season began both the offensive and defensive lines looked much improved. The only problem is the receiving corps is even worse than anyone expected -- and, believe me, expectations weren't high there -- and the secondary has regressed to a below-acceptable level. So the Dolphins offense can't function because there is no respect for the receivers and the defense can't stop a passing game. Sure, things could change, but it doesn't look good so far.
How big of an impact has Bill Parcells had on the franchise, and what's the next area you think he'll work on?
AP: Ah, the obligatory Parcells question. He's had a clear impact in that the focus of the rebuilding project was on getting bigger and stronger and building from the inside out. That's why so much attention was paid in the draft on both the offensive and defensive ilnes. The next order of business is upgrading the skill positions with receivers and defensive backs.
Is the move to sign Chad Pennington an opportunity, or just a temporary solution?
AP: It was a little of both. Pennington signed on Aug. 9, and at that time the Dolphins were staring at the reality of having to choose between Josh McCown, John Beck and Chad Henne. Of those three, Henne by far was the most impressive, but starting a rookie on opening day isn't ideal. The arrival of Pennington brought a new level of confidence to the team, but he's been badly hamstrung by the lack of playmakers at wide receiver. That said, Pennington merely is keeping the job until the Dolphins deem that Henne is ready to go because he's clearly the future at quarterback for the Dolphins.
Joey Porter said some things in the past between these teams, and is at it again this week. What is Joey Porter's role on the team? (is he a starter, leader, spokesperson ), and do you expect any fallout from his comments?
AP: Honestly, I think mid-week comments are the most overblown things in sports. Really, what did Porter say that was so inflammatory. He said Matt Cassel is not Tom Brady. Wow. Let's hang him for that. The whole thing is a joke, if you ask me. That said, Porter does have a habit of talking a whole lot, but I certainly wouldn't call him a spokesperson for the team. He just talks a lot. He's also got a lot of confidence and is never afraid to express it. There's nothing wrong with that. The only problem with Porter is he isn't making nearly enough big plays.
How are the team's Draft picks doing, and is there any of them we should keep an eye on?
AP: Eight of the team's nine picks wound up making the roster, and the most promising so far has been -- again -- Chad Henne. Third-round pick Kendall Langford also has done well. He is starting at left defensive end and has a sack in each of the first two games. Overall, it looks like it was a pretty good draft for the Dolphins.
Alain Poupart is the associate editor of Dolphin Digest. He has covered the Dolphins since 1983.