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Fasten Your Seat-belt For An Exciting Year

NFL: SEP 23 Raiders at Dolphins Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins, despite falling short in their efforts to qualify for postseason play for the second time in three years, were an exciting team in 2018. Now, they’re preparing to embark on what promises to be an equally exciting off-season. If you’re not one of the top eight to ten teams in the league, you can expect changes every year. If you’re one of the bottom five or six teams in the NFL, you can look forward to a lot of change every off-season.

I have mixed feelings about Adam Gase being fired this past week. Like a lot of folks, I believe he’ll be a pretty darn good coach someday. He just had too much on his plate in Miami, and he was apparently too insecure to delegate some responsibilities to the coaches he himself hired. Whether by fate or by design, he had coaches on his staff who weren’t good enough or established enough to succeed him in the event he was let go. It’s also not a good idea to tell your boss you don’t have time to talk to him when your performance hasn’t been very good lately. From what I understand, Gase’s relationship with Ross took a turn for the worse after the loss at Indianapolis the week of Thanksgiving.

Unlike a playoff run, which all too often comes to an abrupt end by about halftime of the first playoff game for Miami, a sub-par season that culminates in the head coach being fired and the front office reshuffled can create considerably more excitement that potentially can last a lot longer. As anyone who comes to this page knows by now, I firmly believe that one of the greatest sins a football team can commit is finishing at or near the .500 mark. Since the early 2000’s, the Dolphins have averaged about seven and a half wins per season. Coupled with their chronic inability to maximize their draft choices or come up with a vision for just what it is they want their team to be, mediocrity in Miami has been the one constant for South Florida’s NFL outpost.

When Stephen Ross said at his season ending press conference that going 3-13 might be necessary for the team to get where he wants it to be someday, I think a lot of people breathed a huge sigh of relief. When the status quo isn’t working, something has to change. I believe that Ross is one of the best owners in the league; his main problem is himself - his two biggest shortcomings are probably that he’s too nice and that he tries too hard. Unlike with previous head coaches Joe Philbin and Tony Sparano, he didn’t wait for a fourth year to jettison Gase, and I have to give him credit for that. He rightly saw the team going backward from a talent standpoint and that anytime you’re at or near the bottom of the league both offensively and defensively, you’re just not very good. Going all out with a bunch of thirty something veterans is something you do to try and win a title, or at least contend for one. It is not something you do just to squeak into the playoffs as the sixth seed, so that you have to face the top seeded team at their place and then get pounded into the turf.

The Dolphins have apparently decided on youth movement, and hopefully, younger, cheaper, hungrier players will form the foundation that they can add a few key free agents to in two or three years to try and make a run deep into the playoffs. It’s January, and that means everyone is 0-0. It’s a time for optimism. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the return to the Phinsider of a great treasure that was lost to us for a while. Greg, the Meyne man, also known as CT1361, has come back to the site. As I recall, he’s a guy that seemingly everyone wants to give the most grief to but misses the most when he’s not around. In most avenues of life, that’s a pretty good definition of respect. Welcome back, sir. Once again, it’s an exciting time to be a Dolphin fan, and if they do somehow manage to go 3-13, 4-12 or 5-11 during the 2019 NFL season, there will be even more reason for excitement next year. A heck of a lot more excitement than there would be by going 8-8, anyway.