Miami Dolphins outlook: Let's Put the Past Behind Us...

USA TODAY Sports

or in front of you for the next few minutes AND THEN behind you.

It's no secret that the Miami Dolphins have seen better times. Fans have greeted each of the last 10 seasons with some form of hope, only to see those hopes crushed under the weight of unrealistic expectations. Like a moth to a flame we keep coming back, eager to see the promises we have been sold come to fruition.

There is no great mystery as to what the formula for NFL success is made of. The game and the strategies that lie within have evolved over the years, but if you are going to build a consistent winner you need to have a defense that can stop other teams, and offense that can score with some regularity and a good deal of luck in the schedule making and injury department.

Several factors have played into the Dolphins decade long irrelevance . A personnel department that refuses to see the writing on the wall when it comes to drafting and free agency. An offense with no identity. A series of poor coaching hires. And an overall lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball. It's been the perfect storm of poor decision making. A veritable "Sharknado" of ineptitude.

Going into this season, it appears that the current powers that be have learned a few things. Our defense was good, but not great, our offense was terrible but not horrible and our luck could have been a little better (thanks DC$!). There's reason to believe that the problems were addressed, and we now have playmakers on both offense and defense. Whether or not the additions of Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson on offense translate into a better statistical performance remains to be seen. It all hinges on the arm of Ryan Tannehill and the ability of the offensive line to keep him upright. I feel more confident in the additions on the defensive side of the ball. Brent Grimes is a proven play-maker. His success isn't predicated upon the ability of any other players. Sure he'll be helped by an above average pass-rush (which we do have), but he's been a pro-bowler before on a less than stellar defense. Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler are much faster than their predecessors. Dion Jordan will provide depth, speed and athleticism to an already intimidating front four.

The Table below shows the Dolphins' NFL rank on Defense and Offense for the past ten years, and their corresponding record.

Year Yards Allowed Points Allowed Yards Per Game Points Per Game Record
2012 21st 7th 27th 27th 7-9
2011 15th 6th 22nd 20th 6-10
2010 6th 14th 21st 30th 7-9
2009 22nd 25th 17th 15th 7-9
2008 15th 9th 12th 21st 11-5
2007 23rd 30th 28th 26th 1-15
2006 4th 5th 20th 29th 6-10
2005 18th 15th 14th 16th 9-7
2004 8th 20th 29th 28th 4-12
2003 10th 3rd 24th 17th 10-6
2002 3rd 4th 15th 12th 9-7

This portrays the one of the most stunning visages of mediocrity I have ever seen. We shall call it the complacency index. I've always felt like that 2002 team could have won the super bowl that season, but that's a whole separate discussion and that was over 10 years ago now. Aside from a few impressive defensive seasons, the Dolphins of the past decade plus have been the harbingers of underwhelming performances. Let's hope the change in offseason philosophy results in W's and more inspired performances on offense AND defense.

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