In the NFL, players and coaches move fast. Either they make it almost immediately, or they are moving on as the team hopes someone else can make a difference. Fans can be even more ruthless, declaring a player a bust as soon as they do not make an immediate impact on the roster. Unfortunately, there are times where a player needs more time to develop, but he just does not have that kind of time.
The 30-day challenge here on The Phinsider is a way to get to know some of our community members and their thoughts on the Dolphins. We are asking a question every day for 30 days, with the goal of getting all of our readers involved in the discussion. If you haven’t ever posted a comment on the site before - now would be a great time to get in here and join us.
Today’s question is, what player in Dolphins history never had a fair chance? That could be because of a coaching change and a good player just did not fit the new system. It could be a player who fans just could not get behind, even though he was actually pretty good. It could be a player who was allowed to leave before he hit his prime.
Choosing who it is, is up to you.
For my answer, I’m going to go with a player the fan base could never get behind. In five seasons with the Dolphins, quarterback Jay Fiedler tallied a 36-23 record, throwing for 11,040 yards, 66 touchdowns, 63 interceptions, and a 76.8 passer rating. Fiedler’s biggest issue was following Dan Marino as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback. Fans wanted the man who replaced Marino to be Marino, and Fielder was not that.
Miami won the AFC East in 2000, Fielder’s first season as the starter, then won the Wildcard game in which they played that season - the last time the team has won a playoff game. They claimed a Wildcard berth in 2001, finishing both 2000 and 2001 with 11-5 records. In 2002, Miami missed the playoffs, but finished 9-7; they missed the playoffs again in 2003 with a 10-6 record.
Fiedler was replaced after a 4-12 season in 2004, with Fielder going 1-6 in seven starts.
Between Fiedler and current starter Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins have run through a gambit of quarterbacks: A.J. Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, and Matt Moore. Pennington was the only one of the group to get Miami into the playoffs when they won the AFC East in 2008. Tannehill (with three starts by Moore) ended that drought this past year with a Wildcard berth.
Fiedler frustrated fans throughout the five seasons he was in Miami. He always seemed to throw an interception at the worst possible time. However, he was really not as bad as fans thought. He just never had a fair chance, because he was not Marino.
Your turn. What Miami Dolphins player never had a fair chance to succeed?