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Dolphins season defined by mediocrity

BALTIMORE MD - NOVEMBER 7:  Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins coaches against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 7 2010 in Baltimore Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Dolphins 26-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE MD - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins coaches against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 7 2010 in Baltimore Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Dolphins 26-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
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If you've been a member of our community for long enough, then you know that I try to usually look at this team in a positive light. I tend to look at this team through my aqua and orange colored glasses more often than not - some might say even a bit too often.

So I'm going to give fair warning to every Dolphins fan that is reading this. If you are looking for a more positive spin on this Dolphins team, then I suggest you stop reading. What I'm about to tell you may hurt. But if you're looking simply for some straight up honesty and candor, you've come to the right place today.

Last week, wide receiver Brandon Marshall told the media that Miami's game against the Ravens would be a "defining moment on what type of team we’re going to be for the rest of this season."

After the game on Sunday, Marshall made a very obvious observation.

"I think it's obvious right now we can't beat the great teams. We can't beat the good teams."

That, my fellow Dolphin fans, is just a nicer way of saying that this team can be defined with one word: mediocre. defines the term mediocre as "of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate." I'd say that sums up the 2010 Miami Dolphins pretty accurately.

But after three offseasons under this regime, shouldn't the Dolphins be further along than they are? And exactly what's next for this team?

Those are two questions I've been pondering since Miami's loss in Baltimore on Sunday.

A season under fire

It's getting real late real quick for the Dolphins here in 2010. These next three games will determine whether or not the Dolphins will be playing meaningful football in December or if we're going to have to sit through a meaningless final month of the season - something I really didn't even consider as a possibility entering the season back in September.

Whether or not the Dolphins rally and make these final eight games matter, though, I fully expect the 2010 season to be Dan Henning's final season as offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. His play-calling at times this year has been quite questionable - to put it mildly. I've been disappointed with the offense's ability to make in-game adjustments to counter what opposing defenses have been doing. And more importantly, the safety net of Bill Parcells is no longer really there for Henning.

There was an interesting quote from Tony Sparano on Monday, too. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but here's what he said when asked about getting away from running the football.

"If you told me from the beginning of the game that we'd end up with 17 rushing attempts yesterday I'd thought you were nuts," said Sparano. "But that's just the way the game went unfortunately, it's the way the game ended up going."

Maybe I'm just hearing what I want to from this. What I take from this, though, is that Sparano - like us Dolphin fans - was surprised and unhappy that Dan Henning decided to stray from running the football on Sunday.

Regardless, Henning came to Miami as a favor, really, to Parcells - his good friend. With Parcells no longer involved in the day-to-day activities in Miami, there's a good chance Henning sits down with Sparano and Jeff Ireland after the season and makes a gracious exit, heading towards retirement - and not a moment too soon.

Chad Henne has been the other hot topic since Sunday's game. And I admit that I'm one of those who just doesn't know anymore what to think about him. I'm not ready to bench him, though, because I don't believe that simply inserting Chad Pennington or Tyler Thigpen fixes all of the problems with this team.

Like I said, I really don't know anymore if Henne is indeed the long-term solution at the quarterback position. But I feel he should at least have these final eight games to show that he is.

No identity

The Dolphins are a team that wants everyone to believe they are tough. That's how the Dolphins would like to identify themselves - as a tough, physical football team. Well I'm not buying that crap anymore.

The only three teams that the Dolphins have faced that really are among the toughest, most physical teams in the league (Jets, Steelers, Ravens) have all handed the Dolphins losses.

After the thorough beating that the Ravens put on the Dolphins, Karlos Dansby decided to take a minute to call out the team that had just dominated his team.

"Offensive line was soft, fullbacks were soft, f****** quarterback was soft, " said Dansby. "Whole offensive scheme was f****** soft. That’s the most disappointing part about [the loss]."

If the Ravens were "soft" then I'd hate to hear how he'd classify his team's performance.

So enough is enough with this "tough, physical team" garbage. The Dolphins are very much like the schoolyard bully who picks on those younger kids. Then when the school's real bully shows up - the kid who is the same size as the wanna-be bully - he either runs away with his tail between his legs or he gets beat down.


Bill Parcells once famously said, "You are what your record says you are."

The Dolphins sit here midway through the season with a 4-4 record - the perfect example of mediocrity. Not good. Not bad. Mediocre. also defines mediocre as "rather poor or inferior."

Well if the shoe fits...