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Let’s Not Take Our Eye Off The Ball

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Miami Dolphins Introduce Brian Flores Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have competed another draft, and the stage is set for another exciting training camp and regular season for Dolphin Nation. Miami grabbed a stud defensive lineman in round one, in Clemson’s Christian Wilkins and traded for one Joshua Ballinger Lippincott Rosen, he of the Arizona Cardinals a season ago. For those of you who were disappointed that Miami didn’t trade down from thirteen, which they reportedly nearly did, with Philadelphia, there’s no use crying over spilt Wilk. To those of you who think we gave up too much for ‘Rosehead’, you didn’t really think we were going to get him for nothing, did you? I thought Grier did a masterful job of trading down before giving Arizona the third to last pick in round two for Rosen.

That’s the good news. Now, I have some even better news for you, although it may well be construed as my being negative. The Dolphins are still going to lose twelve games this year, and that’s a very good thing. I keep being told that quarterback is the most important position on the field for any NFL team, yet now that we have a real chance to get one of the top two picks in the purportedly QB rich 2020 draft, we’re trying to debate our way to six to eight wins this season? You’re kidding, right? We’re attempting to debate and philosophize our way to six or more wins in two different ways, which I want to discuss here. First, we’re placing too much emphasis on Miami’s present quarterback situation; if Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen represent a substantial upgrade from the Ryan Tannehill/Brock Osweiler platoon from a year ago, the Dolphins will win more games, right? Not necessarily. For one thing, we only have 3/5 of a starting NFL caliber offensive line, and that situation doesn’t figure to get appreciably better as the year progresses. The Dolphins won’t be able to run or throw if their linemen can’t block anybody. Then there is the free agency and trade ravaged defense, which, outside of a stud rookie and some great players in the secondary, still won’t be able to stop anybody. The Dolphins are going to get time of possessioned to death this year, and the defense will be sucking wind mightily by halftime of every game.

The other assumption that we’re making, and this is a problem for us year in and year out, is that coaching is going to give us the needed advantage we need to notch those extra wins. Let me put this as bluntly as I can: the single biggest reason for the Dolphins’ middle-of-the-pack performance over the two decades since Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson left the team is not having enough good players, period. It can’t just be coaching, because all NFL teams run the same plays, and they employ essentially the same coaches; when a head coach inevitably gets fired, his staff is generally shown the door along with him, and shortly thereafter, every guy on his staff is working for another team. Blaming coaching for the performance of bad players is, in my opinion, a monumental cop out. Sort of like blaming the offensive line, before they let their starting left guard and right tackle walk, for bad quarterback play.

Make no mistake -- the single most important ingredient of this full on rebuild is a huge pile of losses this season. A huge pile, as in, twelve. That’s the magic number I’m going to point to as the requisite number of losses needed to get the first or second overall pick next April. Why? So we can finally acquire that elusive franchise quarterback everyone keeps saying (and I believe you) we have to have. In the overall scheme of things, Josh Rosen changes absolutely nothing. We have a cheap QB with potentially high upside, to compete for playing time, but he’s not going to make the Dolphins front office go another direction other than quarterback with their first round pick next year. I was pretty much neutral on the team acquiring him; I wasn’t praying nightly for his arrival but I also wasn’t upset that they got him, especially for as little compensation as they gave up. I really could see the Cardinals hanging on to Rosen. After all, they have a history of using players at multiple positions; they drafted quarterback/punter Tom Tupa in 1988, and with that impressive proboscis Rosen has, all he would have had to do in Phoenix was paint his nose yellow and he could double as the team’s mascot during the TV timeouts. Hey, having a big nose doesn’t mean you can’t play football; Namath had an oversized schnozz, and he did alright.

So here we are; we’ve got a guy who should be a game changing defensive lineman, another guy, via trade who should give us some insurance in case Fitzpatrick gets injured or plays poorly, and no other draft choices among the top 75 picks. Let’s keep our collective eye on what’s really important here: lots and lots of losses this upcoming season. All that separates us from being able to walk up to the podium next April with a card bearing the name of our next great quarterback is twelve losses in our sixteen game schedule this year. For once, let’s not try to debate, hope, wish or cajole our way out of that. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.