In which we take a pathologically optimistic look at the rest of the season
GLASS HALF EMPTYThis is Steve Wyche’s take on or chances for the rest of the season. I take issue with a couple of things here (well, all of it really, but anyway…)
No team should feel better about being .500 than the Dolphins. So why half empty? The margin for error is slim, which isn't ideal for a rookie quarterback and team with so few playmakers. Prediction: Finishing 8-8 is best-case scenario.
One: No team should feel better about being .500 than the Dolphins: Why? Because we’re not good enough to have won three games? Because we’re lucky to still be "in the hunt?" Really no team should feel worse about being .500 because other than Houston and Baltimore no other team in the AFC has only lost one game in regulation.
Two: Finishing 8-8 is best-case scenario: The flaw in his logic is that the team and its fan base should see itself the same way as all the "experts" who forecast a 3 win season. So wow, we’ve won three – reality will set in and that’s it? "Well no, (pat on the head) you’re better than we thought, but don’t start to think you can win, because you’ll only be disappointed."
To finish 8-8 the Dolphins would have to lose 5 of their remaining 10 games…I’m a glass half full kinda guy so I’m wondering where those losses are going to come from? Let’s look at the rest of the way and see if we can shed a little light on Wyche’s thinking.
Oct 28 at Jets OK. We lost to these guys in OT four games ago. That would suggest the teams were pretty even. Since then, one team has improved and the other has…. What? Are we the Colts? Is Shonn Greeenne going to rush for 150 yds and 3 TDs on us? Are they going to ride Mark Sanchez and a wr corps that’s, even less well thought of than ours? Really? This looks like a win to me.
Nov 04 at Colts The Green Bay game was a mirage. It was an emotion-fuelled effort by a young, rebuilding team that has far more defensive weaknesses than we do. It has no running game to speak of and one quality receiver. Yes they have Luck, but not enough to beat us. Two wins.
Nov 11: Titans Will it be Hasselbeck or Locker? Does it matter? At this point the Titans have the worst defense in the AFC. They are giving up 34 points a game. If we win the previous two, the band wagon will be filling up for this one and Sun Life will be an inhospitable place to play. The defense shuts down CJ1L and Three straight wins.
Nov 15 Thursday Night in Buffalo Before everyone yells "trap!!!" let’s not forget that last year’s team, led by our current back-up quarterback, beat these guys twice. Let’s ask an NFL expert what he thinks:
They've gotten blown out in all three losses and haven't shown they can roll with the big boys. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't stopped throwing interceptions. Prediction: With Fitzpatrick's inconsistencies and land mines in the remaining schedule, the Bills will fall short again.
Hey look, we’re a land mine! Thank you Steve Wyche. Short turn-around weeks are where coaching really shows up (as are by-weeks ironically). Who is the better coaching staff: the current Dolphins or the Ex Dolphins (Gailey and Wannstedt)?
Four wins and we’re now on a serious roll. Good thing because here comes...
Nov 25: Seahawks The bad news is they are coming off a bye. The good news is we have 10 days rather than a week and thanks to the new CBA the prep time is almost equal. The even better news is we have them at home. The Seahawks are 1-3 on the road thus far. For all the yipping about how good their defense is Tom Brady still threw for almost 400 yds on them. Hot humid Miami afternoon, our run D vs Lynch and an inconsistent, ropey rookie QB. Their D against our, by that point fully-functional O. This is a game everyone is pointing to as a loss…if it is, that would give us 4. But that assumption is based on the same logic that had us as one of the worst teams in the NFL. We are going to win this. Write it down.
Dec 2: Patriots Fresh off the Seahawks You-know-who comes to town. I firmly believe we are going to spilt with the Pats and it makes sense to me that this is the one we take. At home, on a roll, and the Pats are coming off their rematch with the Jets and have a showdown with Houston the following week. I think we win, but if we don't it's our fourth loss of the season.
Dec. 9 @ 49rs. At which point reality comes crashing down. OK, my glass is half-full, but it's not half-full of tequila. I would love to believe that the Dolphins could travel across the country and blindside the 49rs but as much as I hope it happens, at this stage I don't believe it is going to happen. This is absolutely where we pick up our fourth (fifth) loss.
Dec 16: Jaguars Thank You! After that nasty three-game-stretch we get the Jags at home. Wouldn't it be ironic if, by that point they had given up on Gabbert and Henne was QB1 The Jags have the worst offense in the NFL right now and by this point they will have elevated their suckitude to epic levels. No way on earth we lose this game.
Dec 23: Return of the Bills An early Christmas gift. The Bills will have completely imploded by this point. Spiller will have been hurt and people will be talking about Williams like he's Hainsworth Lite. On the other hand the Dolphins will be in the hunt for a play-off berth and playing in front of a re-energized, packed stadium. We win, which will be our 10th or maybe even 11th win, which means even when...
Dec 30 @ Patriots rolls around the Phish are going to have a plus .500 record and be looking at at least a wild card spot.
As far as the AFC East is concerned it's now a 10-game season. Except that Wyche's argument that Tannehill and our offence are going to doom us to limited success at best, really doesn't hold water. The Dolphins are not a one-trick pony. The team has run the ball for over 250 yds and thrown the ball over 400 yds against two very good defences. They have also shut down a very good offence and won a game when neither their offence or their defence was outstanding. The rookie QB improves every week and is not limited by the usual rookie lack of experience in a system.
The real limits here are in Wyche's thinking, not The Dolphins.