Sat, 28 Jan 2023

Mailbag: Week 13 Dolphins at 49ers

Miami Dolphins
03 Dec 2022, 07:05 GMT+10

Travis Wingfield

We've made it to December. The Dolphins haven't entered the final month of the calendar year with a winning percentage this high (.727) in over 20 years, and a win Sunday would match the 2001 team's 12-game start with a 9-3 mark. Before the game, your questions.

Each Thursday, we put out the call for questions on Twitter. We choose three every week to be answered on the mailbag, as well as three for Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield and three more here on the written mailbag.

Question from @Jeff_Ohara - The Dolphins will win if...

A: They score more points than the 49ers. Jokes aside, this is one of my favorite matchups in recent memory; not just from a Dolphins perspective, but football in general. Everything Miami does well, the Niners excel in the converse of that action, and vice versa.

Miami features the best passing attacking when throwing between the numbers. The Niners are the best at defending that area of the field. Both passing offenses get the ball out quick, but both sides have exceptional four-man pass rushes.

I think the team that can assert its will and get the game to follow their script will be victorious. Getting quarterback Jimmy Garappolo off his first and second read. Finding a way to influence linebacker Fred Warner and create false steps in that second level of the 49ers defense. It's going to be a challenge because the 49ers are talented and well-coached.

"They have a very good team, coached very well, and they play really hard," Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel said. "And what a wonderful opportunity for us to go on the road and play a team that you have to earn everything you get. And that's literally why we do it."

Question from @TuaOurSavior - Do you think this upcoming stretch will show us what this team is really about?

A: I think every game is an opportunity to prove what you're all about as a football team. Last week, the Dolphins came out of the gates with an intent to start fast. It put them in a position where they were able to remove the starting quarterback from the game prior to the fourth quarter. Each week in the NFL, from a media and coverage perspective, is a saga of its own. So, I think the narrative and perception around a team can always change regardless of the week.

Now, that said, if they can go out west and take care of business against a really good football team in their house, that would be among the most impressive wins of the season - something this team has proven it can do with wins over Baltimore and Buffalo earlier in the season, two teams with a combined record of 16-7.

"This is just great football between two teams that haven't lost in a minute and generally when you haven't lost in a minute, you don't want to feel that feeling, so there's a lot of incentive on both sides to make sure that they end up on top," McDaniel said. "And isn't that why we do football? That's why we follow it. That's why you guys report it. It's not because I say cool things or look cool. I promise you that."

Question from @Mia_Hurricanes - Has Jason Sanders worked out of his funk? Today's best kicker in the game has all been cut multiple times.

A: I'm not sure which kicker you're referring to. I would argue that distinction belongs to Justin Tucker who's been a Raven for life. You make a good point, though. Kickers have fluctuations and find grooves at various times.

Place kicking is such a fascinating job within the sports world. Every kicker at this level is exceptionally talented with the ability to put the ball wherever they want from seemingly impossible distances. Any kicker will tell you the biggest challenge occurs between the ears, and when it comes to Jason Sanders, that seems to be where he excels the most.

"He still has that mentality of just what we talked about earlier - that maybe it's the non-football mentality of he knows his skills, he knows his talent, he knows what he's been doing and he trusts in it, and he believes in it," Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman said of Sanders. "So a lot of that stuff doesn't bother him at least outwardly or nothing that we've talked about."

For more, check out the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield, available five days a week on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. The Twitter mailbag thread will go up every Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

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