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Can The Dolphins Run The Table, With Five More Losses?

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphin Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Well, well, well; for the first time in many a year, I'm feeling mighty fine about the prospects for my favorite team, the Miami Dolphins. They're on a streak which will someday be the stuff of legends among our children and grandchildren, a streak which we'll hopefully look back on in a few years as the turning point for this long-beleaguered franchise. We can stop running articles about playoff scenarios for the Dolphins; there aren't any. We can stop ruminating about whether they'll pull off a December like 2016, in which they reeled off three victories in their final five games to earn the sixth and final playoff berth in the AFC, or worse yet, a December like 2011, in which they won three of their last five, to effectively ruin their draft status for 2012.

Absolutely none of that is happening. Not a whit, a fraction or a fragment. The 2017 Miami Dolphins are dead in the water, and the only suspense remaining in this season is how thoroughly they will be humiliated over the final five weeks. Now, this is where it's going to be a little hard for some of you. If you call yourself a true fan, and I know that everyone here is, or you wouldn't be here, you should be praying nightly that your favorite team is beaten like a drum every single Sunday between now and the end of the year. I know there will be the invariable comments: "What does it matter where we're picking when T-bomb will screw it up anyway ?" , etc. Number one, Tannenbaum doesn't make the picks -- he just happens to be everyone's favorite scapegoat right now. But we'll argue that some other time. And understand, this is about much more than just draft capital; this is about how the Dolphins run their operation, from top to bottom. Nothing, but nothing dictates a complete and systemic overhaul like a ten game losing streak, or nine or ten, to close out a season, and I want to see some things done differently next year than they were this year.

I've got to tell you, it did my heart good to read in the Sun Sentinel on Tuesday morning that the 3-8 Denver Broncos, who historically have never played particularly well on the East Coast, are one point favorites over the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday. I spit out so much coffee laughing at that, I thought I'd have to go back and pay for another cup. In early 2009, when the nation was in the throes of the Great Recession, and the Dow Jones index was plummeting toward its low water mark of 6443, I spoke to a good friend of mine, Michael Santoli, who was then one of the editors at Barron's financial magazine. I asked him what we should make of all the carnage and gloom and doom that was being shouted across the front page of every publication in the country. I'll never forget his response. He told me that things were so bad that they weren't really bad anymore; they were so bad that they were actually good. With the equity markets having been pounded so savagely, for so long, they represented the buying opportunity of a lifetime. Of course, he was right. And so it is for the Dolphins. The hardest part -- and believe me, guys, I know it's hard -- is to disconnect ourselves emotionally from what's happening with the team on the field. I say don't worry about it, and rejoice when the Fins get hammered. Because I can most assuredly tell you, that 'hammered' is exactly what they're going to get. Sure, they might beat the Broncos on Sunday, but if they do, that's the last game they'll win in 2017.

One thing I do want to talk about is the way that the Ndamukong Suh signing has suddenly become one of the hippest, coolest and most fashionable moves to bash by Dolphin fans in recent weeks. I'm here to tell you that in no way, shape or form did Ndamukong Suh let the Miami Dolphins down; the Dolphins let Ndamukong Suh down, they let the team down and they let us, the fans down, when they effectively decided to use Suh -- and his fellow defensive linemate Cam Wake -- as Band-Aids for the defense, and then largely ignore that side of the ball after they acquired Suh. I believe that someday we'll look back at the Dolphins during this era and realize that if we'd just drafted defense with all those early round picks that we threw away on players like DeVante Parker, Leonte Carroo, Patrick Turner, Pat White, Jonathan Martin, etc, etc, we'd have one hell of a team today. Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars -- I guarantee you that's a team nobody wants to play right now. Why ? Because, win or lose, they're in every single game they play. The Jaguars don't get humiliated by scores of 20-0, 40-0 or 45-21 because even with a quarterback who couldn't hit the side of a barn with the football from twenty yards away half the time, they're competitive every single week. Have fun watching Jacksonville in some of those prime time games next year that our team stunk up this season because they're not going to be humiliated on the gridiron. That only happens to teams that refuse to draft defense. Teams like the Dolphins. What, you say? Miami just spent virtually all their 2017 draft picks on defense, and it didn't work. Too little, too late. They should have been doing that two or three years ago. Other teams' fans are excited about players like Dante Fowler, Jr and Justin Houston. We get excited by undrafted free agents that our team signed off the street, like Chase Allen. Who the hell is Chase Allen? Who the hell are Neville Hewitt and Mike Hull? They're guys who aren't good enough, guys that other teams didn't want, that's who they are. We get excited by the 'Nintendo Twins' at safety, Nate Allen, and T.J. McDonald. The guy Miami should take high in next year's first round is Alabama Free Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick; he could probably, almost by himself, get us two or three more wins next season. But the Dolphins will pass on him, just like they passed on another free safety, Earl Thomas, back in 2010. Why ? Because Fitzpatrick doesn't play offense.

I'm giving Dolphins head coach Adam Gase one more year, but only one. He's trying to do something that is very, very difficult to do, and that builds a winning franchise that's based on an 'offense first' philosophy, which is like trying to thread a needle underwater. Good luck with that. Joe Philbin couldn't do it, Tony Sparano couldn't do it and Cam Cameron couldn't do it, either. In sum, my goal for the Dolphins over the coming five weeks is to see Miami's run defense gashed, its pass defense slashed and its defense, in general, smashed, again and again, and again. The Dolphins currently rank 21st in the NFL in total defense. I'd like to see that number closer to 30th on New Years Day; that should make it a little bit harder for the front office to draft all offense in April. I've been purported in recent weeks to have an agenda. Do I have an agenda? Absolutely. I'm here to champion defensive football because defensive football is what wins championships.

Alright, comments. We've got comments! There were some good ones this week, many of them centering around WR Jarvis Landry. TVegas said, "Landry is the only one who can do anything on offense, yet he's the problem. What kind of conventional wisdom is that ?" Awesome. When someone asked whether we should keep Landry or DeVante Parker, Farorefox said, "How about neither. Parker is not a number one wide receiver and slot receivers are a dime a dozen". Good point. But I think my two favorite comments were courtesy of 'The Looch' (Collucim) and CT. First, The Looch asked, "So, we are going with Parker as the scapegoat for this disaster ?" CT responded with this little gem of wisdom: "If Cutler sucks, it's Cutler's fault. If Moore sucks, it's the Wide Receiver's fault. If Tannehill sucks it's the OL's fault. Or the play calling. Or the running backs. Or the defense. It's only the QB's fault in Miami if that QB is named Jay Cutler." Perfect, absolutely perfect, except for one minor detail, CT -- it's never, ever the defense's fault for anything bad that happens to the Dolphins, because our defense, just like Ryan Tannehill, is freaking awesome! Neither one of those units/positions needs any upgrading whatsoever. Finally, we've got a new guy, Kris Jensen, who, in his first week here on the Phinsider Board, had the vision to point out what so many of the rest of us have missed. He said, and I'm paraphrasing a little bit here, "It's more about Gase than it is about Tannenbaum, because Gase has control over the roster, and Tannenbaum, in effect, works for Gase." Well said, sir, glad to know you. Have a good week, everyone, and go Broncos!