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E-Mail Time: Why Dolphin fans need patience

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I recently received a great e-mail from a very knowledgable source and I thought I would share it with everyone. Hopefully, the thoughts of this person will calm many of you down. If nothing else, there's some really great information and great use statistics in the e-mail. Here it is:

This team needs more than just a new QB. The youth movement has started but you are not going to do it in a year. Do you really think Cam was going to ax JT and Zach after pro-bowl years? But, everyone is acting like he should have after our first 4 games. And, was everyone down on Cam after bringing in Joey Porter back during the first half of the year? NO. Only after the first 4 games, 50/50 hindsight is wonderful. Also, did JT start off on fire last year? NO.

Also, funny thing is that other writers are pointing to Trent Edwards up in Buffalo for a good reason to start John Beck. They point to his win over the Jets. Final Score 17-14. Now, tell me if I'm wrong, but didn't we score 28 with Trent Green against the Jets? Didn't we have 424 yds of total offense and they had only 256 total offensive yards but they won? Difference: special teams play, turnovers during crucial times and untimely penalties killing drives. How about Dallas, one of the top 5 teams in the NFL power rankings. We had these guys until the final 6 minutes. But, what happened? Again, turnovers and penalties, we couldn't finish.

Here are some interesting stats from 2006.

Interesting to note who had the most 1st downs per game last year:
(1) Indianapolis
(2) Dallas
(3) St. Louis
(4) New England
(5) New Orleans
(6) Pittsburgh
(7) San Diego

Look like all top playoff teams to me.

Compare this to points per game of the top 7 teams from 2006:
(1) San Diego
(2) Chicago
(3) Indianapolis
(4) Dallas
(5) New Orleans
(6) Philly
(7) New England

See a trend here?

Compare this to 3rd Down conversions top 7 teams:
(1) Indy
(2) Dallas
(3) New Orleans
(4) New York Jets
(5) San Diego
(6) Pitt
(7) New England

Now compare this to the least penalized teams of 2006:
(1) Denver
(2) New York Jets
(3) KC
(4) New Orleans
(5) Pitt
(6) Buffalo
(7) Cleveland

Notice no good true correlation between a good offensive team and penalties.

However, turnovers are a different story. Top 7 teams in fumbles last year (not interceptions):
(1) Oakland
(2) Cleveland
(3) Detroit
(4) San Fran
(5) Buffalo
(6) Green Bay
(7) New England

The key - avoid turnovers, have a high 3rd down conversion percentage and lots of first downs and you will put points on the board. And who had one of the top offenses in the NFL last year - San Diego where Cam came from. What have they done after he left? Not too good.

Here's some more interesting historical stats:

San Diego Chargers: pre Cam (2001) and then Cam's 5 yrs (2002-2006):

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Total yards 325 333 323 346 348 365
Points/Gm 20.8 20.8 19.6 27.9 26.1 30.8
1st downs/Gm 18.1 19.6 18.1 20.5 21.1 20.1
3rd down % 36% 37% 32% 47% 42% 43%

Notice: In Cam's first year (2002) the offense really didn't improve much. Then in 2003 they went down (Drew Brees I believe started -rookie), then in 2005 it went up and then in Rivers' first year as a starter (2006) they took off big time. This is how good teams typically develop. It takes time. Look at the jump in pts per game, 3rd down conversion and points in year 3.

Now let's look at the Dolphins from 2001 through 2007 so far:

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Total yards 301 288 311 275 325 310 327
Points/Gm 21.5 19.4 19.4 17.2 19.9 16.2 19.5
1st downs/Gm 16.4 16.6 16.6 16.7 17.1 17.6 19.8
3rd down % 41% 33% 33% 34% 35% 38% 36%

The Miami offense has been terrible for the past 6 years. Do fans really think that Cam is going to turn this team around in his first year? Get real, NO, not going to happen. It took 3 yrs at San Diego and in my opinion by 2009 this team will be competitive and by 2010 competing with the best. That is the realistic time frame that it will take this franchise to turn around. You can't take 6 years of crappy play and be great the next. It happens a few times and if we luck out 2008 could be great. But, the fans expectations need to be realistic and be show patience.

Here's the real test. During tough times the fans want the team to toughen up and win. Well, let's see if the fan base can toughen up and support the team during its down year and cheer them on when they are down. Let's see the fans supporting the team so when the good times come they can say "I was there during the bad times," always believing in them and supporting them. That's the test of a true fan.

This thing I do know. The best coaches in the NFL have always been the best teachers -Cam qualifies. He left SD and look what they are doing now. So far, our O line is better than expected and our O is coming along. Right now, injuries to our D is killing us, but younger players are getting experience. That's a good thing but comes at a cost of wins. They come hand in hand, just like a rookie QB.

I believe Cam will fix it, and he will make some mistakes in personnel like everyone else does. But eventually, even a 1-15 Dallas team came back and won 3 Super Bowls. It just took Johnson 3 years to get going and it took Cam 3 in San Diego. Relax. 4 games is nothing. After 3 yrs of crap, then you can start complaining. Until then, support the Dolphins, because I'm seeing improvement. The stats show it; just not in the W/L column right now. That will come.

When Marino took over, he took over a Super Bowl team; not a team that's been in the cellar for 6 years.

Now that's some great stuff!!

Thoughts below...