1. A lot of talk before the draft was that Miami was drafting Ryan Tannehill too high with the 8th pick? How would you evaluate the pick after the first 11 games this season? Has he made a difference over Matt Moore?
First of all, one must take a look at all of the picks that were taken before Ryan Tannehill and the possibility of moving up. Since the Miami Dolphins took a proactive and transparent approach to their coaching search, there is a good chance that Tannehill was not their first choice given the many different offensive philosphies of the coaches they interviewed. When the Dolphins narrowed down their choices to Mike McCoy and Joe Philbin, many people assumed the Dolphins would make a concerted effort in changing the offense from more of a spread to something like West Coast. McCoy was a QB at Utah, but since he had so much success in changing the Offense from WC to Spread-Option, Zone Read, McCoy seemed like the better candidate. Then Philbin emerged out of the search essentially winning over the front office and ownership in Miami. However, it can be assumed that maybe there was a bit of a disagreement in who would be the coach. At least that's the picture the media started to paint.
2. How would you grade Joe Philbin in his first year as head coach?
Joe Philbin earns a B-. Personally I thought the Dolphins would flounder after the offense sputtered in the first half in Houston. I was pretty down on the team winning many games. Philbin had some hiccups early in the season with the calls to run the ball in Houston and Thomas fumbled or the untimely decision to call timeout versus the Jets before the Dolphins blocked the Jets FG in overtime. However, Philbin, week in week out sticks to his plan and is consistent with the players. Whether his moves have been unpopular, cutting Chad Johnson or benching Reggie Bush, he's earned the player's respect and he's shown that he can be a great coach in this league.
3. Is this game on Sunday a must-win for the Dolphins' playoff chances? Why or Why Not?
Every Dolfan wants to be in the playoffs so they can brag to their friends and family that the Dolphins are back. However, we all know that playoffs doesn't mean the Dolphins are back until they get there more consistently. This game isn't a must win for the playoffs, but rather a must win for the Dolphins to get respect in the league and to show they can close out a tough opponent like New England. It's a must win to see if Tannehill has what it takes to play against tough teams with great QBs. It's a must win because the defense needs to come up big for Jeff Ireland (who clearly erred in getting rid of Vontae Davis) gets to keep his job.
4. With the weather turning cold in the Northeast, does Miami have a great advantage hosting the Patriots at home in December?
Miami has very little advantage if the fans are not there to support them. 50,000 fans in a stadium that holds 70 thousand plus fans is not a home field advantage. However, it will be close to 80 degrees, but I have never seen the heat get to the Patriots. It's going to come down to who plays the best and who is the best conditioned to play football.
5. Who wins and why?
Dolphins could win, but I'd most likely and realistically say that the Dolphins will lose and hopefully it will be close. It's not unusual to expose any weakness that the Dolphins have by Bill Belichick himself. He is the master of identifying weaknesses and takes advantage of them. Not to mention Tom Brady is an excellent observer and master of reading coverages. Including the blitz. A lot of things have to go right for Miami and I just don't see it. However, we will see if Miami has bounced back from their past meeting and not turn the ball over and give Tannehill time to throw.