We all search for one specific reason our team will succeed or fail. To some it is the quarterback, while others will say it is the coaching staff. Yet others will tell you it is the defense as a whole, or that we will live and die by the legs of a star running back. What if I told you it was all of these things, and none of these things at the same time? You would probably call me crazy, and ask how I come up with this hypothesis.
The answer sounds like it comes as a quote straight out of Assassins Creed, where all is permitted (anyone who has ever played any of this popular game series can remember the cornerstone phrase uttered throughout the series).
The answer in fact is right in front of us on every play. Every practice, every game shows the importance of this secret strength building exercise, though if we blink, we just might miss it. In fact, we often do not even think twice about it as it happens right before our very eyes.
This secret weapon in the arms caches of successful teams is connection. Something our current head coach brings in spades. Watch as he communicates with everyone and everything around him. It is an ability to relate on even the smallest of details which encourages growth and a bond with any and all people that cross his path. It is a cycle of both learning and understanding that has been lacking from the team ever since Jimmy Johnson left the building. An ability to learn more even when you thought you knew everything there was to know about a subject.
It is as apparent from the ownership on down as it is invisible and understated. Dolphins owners Stephen Ross learned this through trial and error, as did vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier. While it seems to be something brought into the fold by Adam Gase, it is also something he continues to try and learn through trial and error, even though he knows the importance of the skill from a team building standpoint.
It is a skill that is relied upon in every aspect. Without it you have a disconnect that shows up in lapses of communication, wrong routes run, a fumble, an interception, or even in the form of incomplete passes. After all, what is an incomplete pass other than the failed connection of a quarterback and wide receiver? What is a fumble other than the lack of a connection between a player and either another, or a lapse of connection with the football and security?
An offensive line suffers without a complete understanding of how each piece plays a part in the protection. Spending time on the JUGS machine trying to better learn how to catch passes helps, but cannot make up for the mental connection between two players that form both commitment, and a bond that lets people say they trust the other completely to get the job done.
A team is nothing other than 53 people trying to form connections on the football field at any given time. Of course I fail to include the coaching staff as that number varies from team to team, but one cannot state that there seems to be a connection between Gase and the players that was not so evident when Joe Philbin was running the Dolphins. This is why I have faith our team will continue to do improbable things even as the media tries to scrutinize every little move the team as a whole or individual standpoint makes.