It’s Week 4, and we’re back again with the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider answers 5 quick questions about the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins:
The stat line doesn't look great for Jay Cutler through the first two games. How much of that do you attribute to rust, him not knowing the playbook, or him just not being a good NFL Quarterback? That is, do you expect a different Jay Cutler to show up against the Saints, even if the Saints didn't have a terrible defense?
Oh, you probably want a little bit more than that. The problem is, I do not know at this point. Head coach Adam Gase has called the offense "garbage" at this point of the season, and since he is an offensive coach, and the offensive play caller, that is pretty damning. It seems like everything is just off. Cutler will short-hop a pass. The next play, a receiver will drop an easy catch. Then the offensive line will suddenly forget how to block, so running back Jay Ajayi or Cutler are being pulled down in the backfield.
Cutler has looked good at times, but he has also looked rusty. Maybe he gets better this week and the offense gets more in sync. Maybe he is someone who can lead the Dolphins toward the playoffs, but at this point, it all seems like a wait-and-see.
The Saints' weakness and depth (or lack thereof) on the offensive line has been well-documented. How has the Dolphins defensive line looked thus far, and do you expect them to take advantage of the Saints injuries at Tackle?
Ndamukong Suh has looked like Ndamukong Suh, creating havoc in the middle of the line of scrimmage. Cameron Wake picked up his first sack of the season last week. Andre Branch, William Hayes, and Charles Harris have all looked good and have made some impact plays. The defensive line has not been as dominant as hoped early in the year, but they are ready to break out.
Reshad Jones looks to be rounding back into Pro Bowl form. What other defensive player do the Saints need to account for?
Suh and Wake are obvious. Kiko Alonso is the one solid at linebacker that the team has had this year. After the weird AWOL/suspension for Lawrence Timmons, there is no telling what he could be if he plays. The secondary is the biggest question mark thus far, with Xavien Howard and Byron Maxwell having good moments and bad moments. The secondary appears to be playing too soft early this season, which could be bad with a quarterback like Drew Brees teeing off on them.
Which player that Saints fans might not have heard of do you expect to make a big impact on the game on both sides of the ball?
Kenny Stills and Stephone Anthony? Just kidding, though I would expect Stills to have an impact. Anthony probably will not play, though he may find some rotational time if his ankle is ready. Let's see, a real answer? Probably William Hayes or Charles Harris on defense. Both defensive ends are rotating into the game and doing well. They may not be sack machines yet, but they are playing well. On offense, I expect to see more of Anthony Fasano at tight end this week, both as an extra blocker and as a guy who leaks out into check down opportunities.
Predictions for the game? Final score?
At this point, I have no idea. This could be a blow out by the Saints, of it could be a close game with the Dolphins squeaking out a win. I guess I will be optimistic and say 27-24 Dolphins - because why not?
Thank-you, Kevin, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Kevin and the work his guys are doing over at The Phinsider. You can follow them on Twitter @ThePhinsider, and as always, you can follow me @dunnellz.