It's been a while since I've sat down just to write an opinion. Usually, I am trying to keep up with all the moves, rumors, and news coming out of Davie, and I lose the time to just sit back and enjoy the Miami Dolphins. With the team not playing today thanks to a Monday Night Football match up with the New Orleans Saints, I get the opportunity this morning.
If you have been around the Phinsider, you probably already know this, but I try very hard to be even-keel. I don't get too high and I don't get too low (most of the time) about the Dolphins. I believe that stability it important in a franchise, which is a large part of the reason that I have been called a zombie with not wanting to see Jeff Ireland fired. I think if you are constantly turning over the people who make the decisions, and set the direction, for the franchise, then you will never find success because you are always changing the path to that success. I'm not against firing someone when it's time, however, as I thought Tony Sparano had to go when he was relieved of his head coaching responsibilities.
I don't see my role on the Phinsider as the person to make declarative statements. I would rather throw out ideas and let you, as fans of the Dolphins, debate the point.
But, I'm making a declarative statement this morning.
This Miami Dolphins team is fun!
I don't care if you think Ireland is the worst GM in the league, or the best. I don't care if you think Bill Parcells is on par with Nick Saban as the worst decision makers this team has had. I don't care if you hated Wayne Huizenga, but believe he was a better owner than Stephen Ross.
I don't care if you don't understand why the team drafted Dion Jordan. Or Sean Smith. Or Jake Long. Or anyone.
This Miami Dolphins team is fun!
Sure, they are 3-0 in a very young NFL season, with 13 games left to decide the eventual 2013 fate of the team, but, based on what we have seen this year, there are going to be some really enjoyable moments along the way. And, whether you hate or love Ireland, whether you think Joe Philbin should have been made the head coach or not, you have to admit, those two seem to be working really well together.
This team looks like they have their franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. Last year, all we heard were complaints about the lack of talent at wide receiver, despite Brian Hartline hitting 1,000 yards. So, this year, they added Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, and Dustin Keller. Unfortunately, Keller got hurt, but that doesn't change the fact that they went out to get him, making this team that much more explosive. And, what has happened since Keller was lost for the year? Charles Clay, Dion Sims, and Michael Egnew - yes, Egnew - have stepped up their games and are looking good out of the position everyone was worried about as Keller was removed from the field on a cart.
Before the season, we all worried about the depth of the team. They only had four wide receivers on the roster. When was the last time you thought a fifth wide receiver would make a difference for the team? If the defense suffered any injuries, especially to the secondary or Cameron Wake, the season would be lost. Dimitri Patterson has missed the last three games, and Nolan Carroll has stepped up. Wake missed nearly all of the Atlanta Falcons game, and Derrick Shelby, Olivier Vernon, and Dion Jordan stepped up.
Maybe, just maybe, there is more depth to this team than we all thought. Yes, I know that, if Wake is out for an extended period of time, it could be trouble, but at least we know the other players are able to come in and, while they didn't get a sack, they were able to put pressure on Matt Ryan, and have an impact on the team.
Don't take my optimism about the depth on the team as a sign that I think everything is right, but I also realize that no one can have a Pro Bowl caliber player sitting on the bench just in case (well, other than the Dolphins keeping defensive tackle Randy Starks as the third DT).
There are a lot of people who are frustrated by the lack of deep balls to Mike Wallace streaking down the sideline. Why? Who cares if they are looking for the go route. Defenses are game planning to keep Wallace out of the offense. Good. Let them. Because, who is going to be able to stop Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Michael Egnew, Lamar Miller, and Daniel Thomas? Oh, and Marcus Thigpen. This offense has so many weapons that, when a defense focuses on Wallace, someone else is going to be open. And, three wins in three games proves that is an effective plan.
The defense is clearly looking for the takeaways. Brent Grimes is busy shutting down receivers. Nolan Carroll is working to prove he is a starting caliber cornerback. Jimmy Wilson is filling in where needed, at cornerback or safety. Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler are proving themselves worthy of the release of Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett.
Before the season, we all looked at the Dolphins' first five games as the toughest portion of their schedule. Before their bye week, the Dolphins will have faced three 2012 playoff teams, plus the rejuvenated Saints and including the defending Super Bowl Champions in the Baltimore Ravens. They will have played three road games. We all though 1-4 was probable, with 2-4 possible, and a huge success.
The Dolphins are 3-0. At worst, at the bye week, Miami is 3-2. More likely, they could be 4-1, or even 5-0. Think about that. This Dolphins team is going to be at least a winning team when they hit the bye week, when just a month ago, 1-4 was expected.
Miami is going to make plenty of mistakes. Tannehill is still just a second year quarterback. Wallace and Gibson are still working their way into a new offense. The offense line is still a development project, but they aren't the disaster we were all told they would be, either. The defense is dealing with a lot of injuries, not to mention all the new players, and younger players are having to play more snaps than they expected.
The 11-5 Dolphins season in 2008 did not start off as well as this year has. If the Dolphins win tomorrow night, they will reach a 4-0 record for the first time since mid-way through Dan Marino's career.
Whatever happens the rest of this year, one thing should be certain. This Dolphins teams is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
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