Let's face it, the Miami Dolphins have been losing way too long. It's frustrated all of us. It's made the fan base do things like boo their starting quarterback in training camp, fly banners over the stadium, organize protests, start hashtag campaigns on Twitter, and call each other names. It's been a rough time to be a Dolphins fan.
But, something feels like it has changed this offseason. In a time when every fan base feels like their team has a chance this year, around the Miami Dolphins organization, it feels a little brighter than usual. The team is making moves that have excited the fan base. There appears to be a plan in place, and it's one that, even from someone outside the organization, seems to be working - and seems to make sense.
In previous years, the Dolphins have struggled to connect to their fans, especially under Bill Parcells, who tightened up Davie to the point that transactions weren't even announced. It was rough to follow the team when there was no discernible plan, as from a fan's perspective. That doesn't mean there wasn't a plan - it just means we didn't see it.
Now, it appears the Dolphins have learned their lessons, and are making an effort to keep the fans informed. They are the only team who have been announcing free agent visits. They are talking to the fans. They are introducing players faster and having more media availability.
The team has used free agency to get younger, get faster, and get healthier. They have filled a large portion of their needs, and they have done it in a way to prevent a salary cap catastrophe this year, or in future years. There are still holes on the roster, most notably at cornerback, defensive end, and offensive line, but it's not something the team can't fill either in further along in free agency, on in the draft.
The team has around $15 million in salary cap space remaining, along with 11 draft picks in April.
The Dolphins have spent the offseason building weapons around second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, including signing free agent wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller. The team believes in Tannehill, and clearly are looking to put him in the best position to succeed.
Added into the free agency spending spree and the stock piling of draft picks, the team has also announced a change to the official logo. While the reactions to the new look are mixed, the fact that the team is trying to re-brand itself, at a time when the offseason moves are dramatic and, hopefully, effective, the Dolphins are clearly trying to shake the past decade of mediocrity.
The team is looking to re-image itself, while working toward returning to the top of the NFL standings. In the moves they are making, the fan base is starting to find hope. It will be a slow turn around for the fans, who have been disappointed too many times before, seeing hope rise with the drafting of players like John Beck and Chad Henne, but, ever so carefully, there is hope returning to the Miami fan base.
Only time will tell if the Dolphins are able to turn that hope into success. If they can, the fan base will come home.