With all that has played out for the miami dolphins this year.... 6 road wins 7 home losses.....QB controversy.....dead in the water offense...top 5 defense. I have asked myself a few questions about the team as whole.
#1. Are the dolphins as bad as they are playing?
#2. Did the "tri-fecta" experiment make this team better than it was prior to '08?
#3. Are the dolphins "just a few pieces" away from being a serious contender?
#4. what is holding this team back more, lack of talent or lack of coaching?
#5 what are some realistic options, for the dolphins moving forward?
my thoughts after the jump....
1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, 6-5, 6-6, 7-6, 7-7, 7-8.......
The results of the Miami Dolphins games this year go to show just how mediocre this team is. As it stands right now thay cant even claim mediocrity unless they beat the Patriots.....in Foxboro..... in January.
What has lead to the demise of this team? You could agure that they had a tough schedule this year with games againts teams like the Pats, Jets, Steelers, Green Bay, Chicago and Baltimore. i would respond to that with "but what about the home games against teams like Cleveland, Buffalo, Detriot?"
A "middle of the road team" would atleast win those home games, with the play-offs on the line.
You could argue that Miami has lost several "key" players to injury and IR this year. i would challenge that, by saying "above average" teams play through the losses and come out shinning. the Steelers played the first 4 games this year without their starting QB and won 3 of 4. now they have earned a playoff spot.
You could try and say "opposing teams know what the dolphins offense is going to do". My answer to that would be "Playoff caliber teams succeed even if their oppoenants know whats coming" for example, how much have the patriots changed their offense the last 10 years........not much, everyone know whats coming, they just can't stop it.
Excuses can come from all over the field but the reality is....the dolphins are just underachieving. In 2007 the Dolphins lost 15 games and I saw more passion from that team, than i have seen so far from this years team.
---The Tri-fecta Experiment ---
New life was breathed into the dolphins at the end of the 2007 season, when Bill Pacells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano arrived in Miami and were affectionatly dubbed "the trifecta". Three season have since passed and we ask ourselves did it work? here's some facts : In the three years before "the Trifecta" arrived miami's record was 16-32 with 9 wins the most in one season. In the three years since "the Trifecta's" arrival miami's record is 26-22, with 11 wins the most in any one season. (assuming the win in NE next week). those numbers show a 10 win improvement, or approximately 3 more wins per season. Undoubtably improvement is showing. With many dolphin fans calling for the heads of the 2 remaining members of the "Trifecta", lets keep those numbers in mind.
---A few more pieces---
Many Dolphins fans have said, with just 1 more piece or 1 better player, we would be contenders! lets re-live some moments from this season:
week 4: MIA vs NE, Chad Henne completes 30 of 44 passes for 308 yards 2 td's and 4 ints, Miami loses 41-14
week 8: MIA vs Baltimore, the dolphins defense gives up 146 yards rushing 266 through the air. they lose 26-10
week 10: MIA vs CHI, the miami ground attack tallies 39 yards on 13 attempts. Miami lost 16-0
week 15: MIA vs BUF, DC$ misses all 4 field goal attempts. Dolphins lose 17-14
I think miami has a strong foundation... but, unfortunatley, we are more than just "a few pieces away"
---whats holding us back?---
some say our QB play....some will say our OL isnt good enough...a lot of people have said it's the play calling and still others blame our woes on the FO. I honestly cant decide if any of these points are more valid than the others. I do think that they are all intertwined in 1 big Cluster-fudge of a mess. do i think we need to clear house and give up on the prgress we have made these last few years....absolutly not! I believe that the organizatioins need to gently kick Mr. Henning in the rear and get him out of the coach's box. With the additions of such starters as Jake Long, Devon Bess, Brian Hartline, Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby, Cameron Wake, Vontea Davis, Sean Smith, Koa Misi, Paul Soliai, Lousaka Polite and Dan Carpenter. I belive Jeff Ireland has done a fine job infusing youth and talent to a team that didnt have much before he got here, has he missed one some players too? sure he has, Henne doesn't seem to be the answer, Pat White and Patrick Turner were mistakes, passing on Dez Bryant and Matt Ryan were blown opportunities but everyone, no matter how good, misses on some picks.
I would really like to see Tony Sparano go back to school and learn that 7 is better than 3. that time-outs are a usefull tool when applied properly and playing to keep it close hasnt worked, but with all that said, i think he has what it takes to be a much better head coach than he has been, and he deserves more time to prove it. In 1 season Mike Nolan has coached this defense to be one of the best and I cant wait to see what he can do with another offseason.
---Realistic options moving forward---
Here is where, you as the reader, are put to task. In your repies, leave some REALISTIC options for our Dolphins, some tweeks or overhauls that you think could make the Miami Dolphins better team in the seasons to come.
thanks for your time and i hope you enjoyed.
not to be cliche but "its always darkest before the dawn"
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!