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Assessing The Dolphins: Fifty Shades Of Gray

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

So, what do the Miami Dolphins have, as a team, as a roster, as a front office and ultimately as an organization? Are they the beleaguered, woebegone franchise that hasn’t been relevant for many years and will they continue to be a rudderless ship, or are they a young team on the rise that will be contending for division and conference titles within another couple of seasons?

Before we can answer that question, the team needs to develop enough depth on it’s roster that a few injuries don’t derail its season the way did in 2017 and ‘18. They need to have a guy at QB who can actually win games if the starting quarterback goes down for any length of time. They need to have a plan to rebuild their offensive line that consists of more than just signing guys off the street who have been cut by multiple teams. They need to have a plan at defensive tackle that consists of more than just signing guys who have been cut by multiple teams. The opener and the Vice President of Football Operations need to have enough backbone to sit down with the head coach and tell him that he’s trying to wear too many hats.

There has been much debate over the past few weeks about whether the Dolphins could, or more importantly, should, make the playoffs. I think everyone knows how I feel about that one. Just in case anybody missed the first three or four times I’ve talked about this subject, let me reiterate my position here: any football team that is 29th in total offense and 29th in total defense simply doesn’t belong in the postseason, period. If the National Football League consisted of a hundred teams and the Dolphins were 29th, you could make a very strong case that they belonged in the playoffs. In a 32 team league, not so much. Now, I know there are a lot of fans who are paying good money for tickets, some of whom have to go to the additional expense of flying in from out of state just to see the games, and I don’t want them to go home disappointed. But, as I’m sure you also remember all too well, the joyride of the 2016 season, which included a thrilling overtime victory at Buffalo in late December, may have set this franchise back five years. They were humiliated on national television by the Pittsburgh Steelers in their very first playoff game and worse still, virtually their entire draft in 2017 was a complete and utter washout. If the Dolphins had forfeited their entire collection of draft picks that year, and simply used the money allocated for signing them on a couple of free agents, they might not be much worse off than they are today. That’s what the 2016 season, and the improbable winning streak the team went on that year got us.

Here’s how I see things shaking out for the Dolphins this off-season: the front office will remain as is and the only major change to the coaching staff will come in the firing of defensive coordinator Matt Burke and presumably most of his position coaches. If head coach Adam Gase decides to relegate the play calling duties to someone else, it will be because he makes that decision of his own accord, not because of any pressure from above. Whomever the Dolphins decide to add at quarterback next year, they will probably arrive via free agency or a modest trade here or there, and none of them will be drafted higher than the third round. I’m sure there will be plenty of spirited debates between the “Tannehill is a great warrior who should be allowed to finish out his contract in Miami” crowd and the “Tannehill has been the most coddled QB in football for years, and only QB in football who hasn’t had any competition because the coaches didn’t want to hurt his feelings” segment of the fan base. Enjoy the game, everybody.