It’s a pretty corny premise for a blog I agree, but tis the season to drop the cool guy routine and just have fun. I’m a Miami Dolphin’s fan and typically at around this time of year, there isn’t to much, substantial, to get that excited about when it comes to the Dolphins. Normally at this point, the Dolphins are, technically, “in the hunt” but with a team we all know is futile. This year is a little different and y’all know it. This team actually has a legit chance to make the playoffs regardless of what you’re thinking right now.
And that’s the point of Thanksgiving; to gather round with people that at times annoy and upset you and eat some bird. Even though you may, currently, be mad at the Dolphins and think they’re just going to disappoint you, you know you want them in your life. If you’re reading this, the Dolphins are a big part of our lives and yeah, they frustrate the hell out of us. That’s what families do, but they mean well. The Dolphins don’t mean to hurt us. They just do what they do and we need to support them even though there’s times where they are indefensible. It’s that unconditional love that makes them our extended family.
Being a fan of this team has me thankful for a few individuals things that have made this year fun to be a fan of the Dolphins. Here’s what I’m thankful for.
Brian Flores’ and Chris Grier’s Vision
22 months ago, Brian Flores, another coordinator from the Patriots, was hired by the Dolphins to be their head coach. When he got here, he and GM Chris Grier had a vision on how to rebuild a franchise that new nothing but a few cool moments and tons of losing. They decided that everything about the team had to be torn down. They got rid of talented, high draft pick players for more high draft picks with the idea that the 2019 season didn’t matter in terms of winning a Lombardi trophy. They knew they needed a franchise quarterback and even though they ended up winning five games despite not caring if they won more than one, they got their man with the 5th overall pick.
Flores and Grier also had a plan for what they wanted to do in free agency. That plan, besides, Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy, was to bring in a bunch of middle of the road, sort of underachieving, cheap players that would give the team depth. Emmanuel Ogbah, who’s been a stud, Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras, Shaq Lawson have been more than serviceable.
This duo’s vision turned a team that was 2-9 at this point last year to a 6-4 team that’s right on the outside of the playoffs. Sure, there have been instances this year that have had all of us yelling at our TVs in pure disgust. But that happens every year. This team, because of this vision, has set the Dolphins up for the next half dozen years and potentially more.
All Those Draft Picks
Miami is set up as good as any team can be for the future. The reason for this is that Grier and company hoodwinked the, extremely hoodwinkable Texans into trading for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills for a pair of 1sts and a 2nd rounder. One of those 1sts and the 2nd will be for next year’s draft.
With all the wheeling and dealing, the Dolphins will, likely, have two picks within the first 14 or so picks in next year’s draft. That’s insane considering the Dolphins might be a playoff team. It’s also nice that the Texans are a bad team thus making their 1st rounder that much better.
No telling where the Dolphins will go in the draft. There’s a few positions, wide receiver, linebacker and more linemen that they can address with all those picks. Regardless of what they do, it’s nice knowing that they will have no shortage of top talent, yes unproven talent, but top talent none the less, at their disposal when they begin the 2021 season.
Jason Sander’s Leg
I know that the rest of Jason Sander’s body is important as well, but his leg is what I’m most thankful for. Sanders has been the most reliable member of this Dolphin’s team. He’s 23/24 in FGs and 24/24 in XPs. He was perfect for a while until a certain blogger for The Phinsider dubbed him Mr. Perfect. After that blemish, Sanders knocked in two FGs last week.
He’s been great all year, but his clutchness was on full display in Arizona. He drilled a career long 56 yarder before the half and then a 50 yarder to give the lead for good with three minutes left. No more am I worried about 45 yarders. Thank you Jason Sander’s leg.
Zane Gonzalez’s Leg
Another leg that I’m thankful. I must be hungry for that turkey(get it? That was a real funny joke that I tied in here.) I’m thankful that Arizona’s kicker, Zane Gonzalez, was some how short from 49 yards against Miami. If he makes that kick, a kick that every kicker in the NFL, college, and in many high schools can make, Miami might not be 6-4. Thank you Zane and thank you for having massive stage fright.
Easily the most controversial item to be thankful for based off how we, currently feel. I bet after the Cardinals game, all you folks out there who are cursing him up and down right now were all about him saying that he did stuff only a handful of guys can do. That’s how fans work and it’s not surprising just a tad disappointing.
I’m on record saying that I fully believe that Tua will be the franchise quarterback that the Dolphins have yearned for 20+ years. Just because he threw for only 83 yards, got sacked six times, held on to the ball to long, missed open receivers, and was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick in last week’s game doesn’t make think that much different about him. It was his 4th game. Yeah, I know that Justin Herbert has looked excellent, when he’s not playing Miami, but that guy has a much better offensive supporting cast along with a defense that makes him have many more opportunities to throw than Tua. Tua’s defense has been stout and has made impact plays where they have scored or got real close to scoring thus leading Tua to not have as gawdy stats as Herbert.
He had his roughest game as a Dolphins last Sunday and has to show he can adjust his play in a week when Miami travels to take on the winless Jets on Sunday. Tua is talented enough to adjust and I think Chan Gailey is as well. At least I hope they are.
Xavien Howard’s Ability to Keep Getting INTs
Man alive, is Howard good. X-Man has had the most INTs since 2017 and he’s missed somewhere around 16 games. Imagine if he played in all those games? We might be talking about the possibility of Howard making the hall. He’s tied for the lead in the NFL with six INTs. His work with getting his hands on so many passes I wish rubbed off on Byron Jones. His time will come but for now it’s Xavien Howard is the best player on the team and it’s not, particularly, close.
That There’s Six More Games to Change the Mood of This Team
Were getting to that point in the year where fantasy playoffs are close to start. It also means that the season is winding down and we can, realistically, start talking about playoff positioning. Once again, the Dolphins find themselves, firmly, “in the hunt.”
I realize that many are saying that the Dolphins have such an uphill battle to get into the playoffs. Do people not realize that other teams lose games and that teams that look like sure things right now can go on a major skid? It happens pretty much every year. Outside of Pittsburgh and Kansas City, no other team, in the AFC, is definite to make it.
Miami has a decent schedule where they can win games. The next two are against the winless Jets and the probably the Brandon Allen led Bengals. Then it’s KC, New England, Las Vegas and the Bills. I would say that the Dolphins, absolutely, need to get to 10 wins. It wouldn’t shock me if nine wins netted the last playoff seed, but 10 wins seems like the magic number for right now.
Miami can do this. Would it really surprise anyone to see Miami at 8-4 after the next two weeks heading into a very tough game against the Chiefs that is at home, by the way? Those games against the Raiders and Patriots are going to beyond huge.
This Season Being Fun
This leads to me the last item that I’m thankful for being a Miami Dolphin’s fan. Being a fan of this team, right now, is fun. Think about it. With how crazy and upside down the world is right now, we get to watch meaningful Miami Dolphin’s football, when the game doesn’t get postponed due to the as fore mentioned upside down world every week and we get to watch a Miami Dolphin’s team that is interesting, and winning. 6-4 is winning football and this team has a chance to make post season play after a season where they only won five games. Not many at all had that happening.
You’re mad right now about one loss to the Broncos. Would you rather be the Lions, Bears, 49ers, Jets, Bengals, Patriots, Chargers, Jaguars, Falcons, Panthers, or anyone in the NFC East right now? Those teams have so many more question marks in terms of who their coach or quarterback or both will be next year that it should make you feel good that the Dolphins have that figured out next year and for years to come. Those teams are where the Dolphins, usually, are at. Just hoping that things bounce their way. Like any team, the Dolphins are in need of some luck when it comes to draft picks and free agency, but they don’t need as much of it compared to all those teams.
And who knows, the Dolphins could figure some things out over the next few games, get into the playoffs and do some damage. That happens often enough. Did anyone think the 1996 Jaguars would make the AFC championship game or that any of the Giant’s teams would win the Super Bowl? The answer is no.
So today when you’re breaking bread, safely, with friends and families some of whom you don’t, entirely, enjoy, think about that it’s not bad that they are in your life. And while you’re at it, think about how unexpected and fun of a year the Dolphins have given you knowing full well that there’s still a lot of football to played and that anything can happen.
From all of us at The Phinsider, have a wonderful holiday. Be safe, be smart and Fins Up
Follow me @2ndSatSports