It’s hard to imagine who is more relieved that the 2017 season is finally over: Miami Dolphins players, coaches or the fans. I’m going to say probably the players since they have to work the hardest. You knew pretty much from the start that this just wasn’t their year. As optimistic as many of us were when Gase was able to convince Jay Cutler to sign with the team, we probably weren’t realistic in our expectations for Miami, myself included. While regular starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s supporters insist that the team would have been substantially better had he been available, the only two games I think he could have changed the outcomes of were against Oakland and Tampa Bay. The home game against Buffalo wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would seem to indicate; after taking a commanding lead, the Bills were content to let the Dolphins have the short, underneath throws, knowing that Miami probably wouldn’t have enough time to mount a comeback. The successful onside kick at the end provided the only real suspense the game would have after halftime. But there is nothing wrong with believing that your favorite team would have been much better had its starting quarterback been playing. With or without Tanny, the 2017 Dolphins weren’t going anywhere, and it’s probably just as well that he didn’t play. Having had what will have been about eighteen months to get himself healthy, and with Miami’s front office determined to upgrade the personnel on offense, he could really come on strong next season. I thought David Fales played very well in the season finale, so the Dolphins may be a lot better off at the quarterback position than people think.
Meanwhile, the on again, off again status of WR Jarvis Landry is beginning to take on a decidedly soap opera type feel. A couple of weeks ago, he seemed like a lock to be re-signed, but that was before another generous helping of the in-game histrionics for which he has become known. Once a player gets a reputation for being thin-skinned, and easy to provoke, opposing players are going to try that much harder to provoke him. Fifteen or twenty years from now, when he looks back on his career, he’ll always remember that he missed out on a thousand yard receiving season because he lost his cool and got thrown out of a game. Of course, if he weren’t averaging a paltry 8.81 yards per reception, he would have broken a thousand yards almost a month earlier. Then again, if Adam Gase hadn’t called so many of those ridiculous screen passes to Landry, many of which lost yardage, he would have had a higher per catch average. The latest Dolphins offensive-coordinator-in-name-only, assuming Gase continues to call the offensive plays next season, is Dowell Loggains, formerly of the Bears. Unfortunately, Loggains too often resembled Kenny Loggins the past couple of years in Chicago, providing easy listening music for opposing defenses, instead of hard rock. Here’s to hoping ‘Loghead’ fares better with the Dolphins, since he apparently won’t be calling the plays.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, barring a miracle, the Patriots appear poised to win their sixth Super Bowl next month. Let’s be honest, folks; the very instant that the officials took that touchdown pass away from Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, in their game against New England, it was all but a foregone conclusion that the Pats were going to win it all again. Which AFC team is going to go into Gillette Stadium and knock off New England in January? That’s right, none of them. Which NFC team could make it that far, and then still have enough left to send the Pats home as losers? Only the Saints. New Orleans is the only team out there that might be able to prevent another bitter end to the NFL season for Dolphin fans. Trouble is, the Saints are the fourth-seeded team in the NFC playoffs, meaning that they’ll have their work cut out for them just getting to the big dance. So, it looks like six for them and sick for us. Am I happy about that? No. Is that how it is? Yes. I just wanted to give you a ‘heads up’, so that hopefully nobody gets blindsided by it when it happens. Plus, now I’ll have to skip the game again like I did three years ago when they played Seattle. To me, it makes no sense to sit through a three and a half hour football game when you know before it even starts who’s going to win. That’s why I skipped it three years ago and I’m going to skip it again this year. Sorry to be bringing this up, but it certainly looks like that’s where it’s going.