The Dolphin's Season Theme: One Step Behind

In this fanpost, I'd like to point out a few glaring points about the Dolphins this season.  It seems like the theme of our season could be labeled "One Step Behind" due to the fact that several issues have caused us to be in that position.


1.) Injuries - This year we've had a long list of injuries and the loss of Ronnie Brown took away our dynamic duo.  We also had nagging injuries to Joey Porter and the loss of Ferguson took leadership out of our lineup.  Pennington's loss also didn't help but there's one aspect to this whole picture that gives me concern.  I don't agree with Sparano's policy of not allowing injured players to travel with the team or be on the team's sideline.  How many times would it have been beneficial to have Pennington on the sideline talking to Henne and sharing any insights that he saw about what the defense was doing?  How many times could Ferguson have been giving Soliai tips on what he saw the offense doing?  Many of our players this year that were injured were practically team captains and they were banished from the team even though they desperately wanted to help out in any way.  I'd take having Ronnie Brown on my sideline giving me positive feedback any day....


2A.) Coaching -Part 1 - After this year I'd have to say Dan Henning is ready to pass on the reigns to an up and coming Offensive Coordinator.  I say that because he is clearly unable to establish my next point, and that is our team identity.  I question the decisions to pass the ball on 1st and goal on the one yard line by Ricky Williams which ends up being intercepted and we end up losing the game by 3 points.  Too many times has our season come down to not executing plays that clearly have a low percentage of being executed.  I don't care what you see on game film, having your RB throw the ball when it's first and goal on the 1 sounds like "A DESPERATE TEAM WITHOUT AN IDENTITY" trying to get a highlight on ESPN.  Sadly it ended up being on our "low light" reel....


2B.) Coaching - Part 2 - Sparano is a good coach but I am sick and tired of the Dolphins "Playing to keep the game close."  Remember the phrase, "You play to win the game?"  Game managing is great but if we could figure out our "IDENTITY" and have people game planning for us rather than every week listening about how great the other teams TE or RB or QB is and how tough we need to practice to beat them. The Dolphins didn't seem to have any "SWAGGER" this year and it seems due to the fact that we actually have players that don't fit Dan Henning's Offensively Conservative Scheme with a splash of "Schizophrenia" mixed in.

When I read Patriots propaganda, what I see is a team stating "We are going to spread our offense out, throw a little run in, so TRY AND STOP US!" When I see the Dolphins play it's almost like they play so conservatively that we only win games by 3 points at the most it seems because we won't take any "CHANCES" until we are down by 27 points.  Even then we still punted on 4th and 4 when we had the ability to manage the clock in our favor.  By punting we officially lost the game!  We should have been able to convert the down without getting into 4th down territory but when your SEASON IS ON THE LINE, sometimes you need to go for it on 4th and 4 on our own 20.  It's better than going for it on 4th and 20 with only 30 seconds left on the clock, isn't it?




3.) Identity - With such a young team, it seems we are Bi-Polar or have a Multiple Personality Disorder because every week we see a different team take the field.  One week, we have no turnovers but our Defense can't tackle.  Next week we can tackle and our Defense looks amazing and suddenly our Offense can't catch and when they do catch they fumble the ball.  I am willing to bet that over this next off-season, these concerns will be addressed and shored up as a lot of it has to do with the injuries but I imagine next year we will have our share of more injuries as every team has to deal with them.  We have a strong arm and decent decision making in Henne who is working on his touch passes, it is now glaringly obvious we need a big strong WR or a couple of them like Duper and Clayton had.  Also, it looks like Sean Smith and Vontae Davis hit the "Rookie Wall" because these last couple games they have given up big plays and big yardage.  I expect next year to be different in the secondary, especially after we get rid of Gibril Wilson who dropped an interception that was tipped right to him.  I saw that being the straw that broke the camels back.


Thankfully we did develop some identity in that we are a tough team that is resilient and will never give up.  Sadly there is a low percentage of winning games when you allow teams to win games against you after being up by 3 touchdowns or lose games after coming back from a 21 point deficit.  No team completely fears you because they feel like they can win no matter how bad they start out.




4.) Schedule - We had the toughest schedule and if we can come out at 8-8, I still see that being a big accomplishment.  Although, I agree with Bill Parcells in that "you are what your record says you are." We could have been much more this year but like our pass rush, it seems we were always "ONE STEP BEHIND." I can't count how many times we were one step away from making that big sack for a fumble or a disruption of a big pass that ended up being a TD.  The same goes for our season, starting out 0-3, getting to 7-6 by beating the almighty Patriots, and then losing to 2 teams that are considered less of an opponent to be 7-8, under .500.   We have had 3 or 4 opportunities to have the Wildcard or even the AFC East Division title during this season and each Sunday we ended up playing like we didn't care.




5.) Conclusion - Posting this FanPost seems to be therapeutic, and after a season that makes you feel like the Dolphins organization is trying to weed out the true Dolphins fans and kill off all of the old Dolphins fans via heart attack, it seems like we all could use some "chilling out" and relaxation before a new season starts and the blood pressure begins rising some more... 


For this season, the only consolation we have left is trying to end the season at 8-8, which only leads me to the conclusion that this season's theme played out as "being one step behind" and I can only hope that next season our team works that much harder to gain the two steps that are needed so that that we are one step a head of all of our opponents.  This team needs to learn to FINISH and play to their STRENGTHS and develop an IDENTITY that strikes fear into every opponent.  We will add a few more pieces to our puzzle and soon will be SWEEPING the Patriots, Jets, and Bills when you combine a resilient team that has serious playmakers...


PS.) - Referees - We seriously have to have the worst officiating crews assigned to us every season because it seems like Rule changes occur during the next season because of how bad calls were against in the previous season.  I also put this with my gripe with the "Football Gods" who tend to spit on us from time to time due to our unbeaten run to the super bowl.  I have a feeling that next season, the "Football Gods" may show some mercy towards us for how badly they treated us this year.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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