clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami Dolphins: Good Offseason Starts With Losses in Final Two Games

New, comments

It's tough to root against the Dolphins, but in order for the best results to happen this offseason, Miami must lose or play poorly in their final two games. Let me explain....

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Never in my life have I rooted for the Miami Dolphins to lose a football game. Never in my life have I wanted to trade the glory of a victory for the offseason perks of a loss.

I was even against the "Suck for Luck" campaign of 2011 in which a large portion of fans wanted the Dolphins to tank their season after an 0-7 start with the hopes of landing Andrew Luck.

However, this shortsighted policy of mine may be renounced for 2014's finish. I just don't see any good that can come for the Dolphins by achieving victories in the two remaining games of the season.

As loyal fans, you never want to see your team lose. But as Dolphins fans, you really want your team to be out of the pit of mediocrity that it's been residing in since the retirement of Dan Marino.

In order for the Dolphins to finally climb the NFL's mountain of elites, they'll need a new head coach.

There have been rumors that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is not considering making a change at head coach and that he will keep Philbin for another season if Philbin were achieve his first winning season as the Dolphins head coach. I, like the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, think that this is a bluff by Ross, that he has learned from his past mistakes of being to eager in landing a big name coach/player and is playing this one cool.

But what if he's not? What if Ross really isn't considering a change? Well, this is the exact, and only, reason why I want the Dolphins to lose. To give Ross a bit more incentive.

I've been a Joe Philbin defender in the past. Philbin is well-respected in the league and supposedly supported in the Dolphins locker room. I've wanted to believe that he would be the offensive mind he was advertised to be and that he would take Miami to the next level.

But it's not going to happen. This team will never be more than average with Philbin at the helm because of the standard's that Philbin has set for his team and a lack of a winning mentality.

Philbin simply asks for his team to be competitive. In nearly every press conference, whether pre-game, post-game or post-practice, Philbin will always give a mention of his team's competitiveness, as that's his bar for excellence.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be competitive in the NFL. Everyone in the NFL must be ready to compete at their highest level for 60 minutes on Sunday. I'm saying that being competitive in the NFL is a given. Being competitive in a league where everyone is talented and everyone is getting paid should be taken for granted. Really, it should.

Being better than the other team mentally and physically.

Sustaining high-energy and intensity throughout the game.

Winning.

These are the standards that should be set in a professional football organization.

The Dolphins are a consistently bad team in crunch time. If you do you're job bad, is it your fault or your bosses fault? Well, if you're boss sets the standard of "doing your best" then it's nobodies fault... until you both get fired.

But let's revisit the first sentence on that team from another angle and dive deeper in.

Philbin's teams are consistently bad in crunch time, as I stated. The Philbin-led Dolphins are 4-4 the last two years in December, both years where the Dolphins had an opportunity to make the playoffs if they hadn't folded in crunch time.

That stat is skewed a bit as the Dolphins won three straight early-December games in 2013 to quality opponents before folding in embarrassing losses to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, losses in which Miami's offense put up only seven combined points.

Since those three straight December wins in 2013, the Dolphins have been 1-4 in December. Miami's offense averaged 9.8 points per game and the defense allowed 24.2 points per game in those contests.

In 2013, the Dolphins record in games decided in the fourth quarter or overtime was 5-4. In 2014, that number regressed to 2-3. The Dolphins had far less opportunities at winning games decided in the fourth quarter because the team has tended to fail to put together two good halves of football in games in 2014. Three out of the last four Dolphins games have featured the Dolphins being ripped apart in the second half and eventually beaten.

Philbin admitted to being "queasy" at the end of the Green Bay game. A game that ended in a last-second touchdown pass by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Is that the type of mentality you should have in that situation when leading a pack of 53 men?

I've stated on Twitter that you could make a pretty good argument to bring Philbin back (depending on what happens in the final two games of the season).

Injuries have depleted the Dolphins this year. Miami has 12 players currently on the Reserve/Injured list, five of which were key players for the Dolphins. Despite this, Philbin's team has an opportunity to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2008 by winning the final two games of the season.

If Philbin was able to produce a winning record this year, that would mean he improved in the win column by one game in each of his seasons in Miami. Based on that pace the Dolphins will likely be in line for playoff contention next year.

Despite that argument, Philbin would not be back if I was Stephen Ross.

Philbin's teams, in my opinion, lack a killer instinct and the ability to close games. They don't know how to win and frankly they're a bit soft. Could they learn? Yes. Is it guaranteed? Well, nothing in this game is guaranteed, but if you're wagering on whether Philbin or a new head coach could implement a winning mentality into this team faster, I'd go with the latter.

It's tough to predict what will happen in the Dolphins final two games of the season, and the corresponding offseason, but there's no doubt the events of the former will effect the latter. It's for this reason that I, for the first time, will not be rooting for the Dolphins to pull off a victory.

Do we (or more importantly, Ross) want to gamble on another 8-8 season from "Queasy Joe", or hand this talented group of players to a new head coach, such as Jim Harbaugh or Gary Kubiak, and see where they can take the franchise?