You’ve heard the old saying, “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Well, for many, many years now, the Miami Dolphins have mostly been neither lucky, nor good. When the team has been good enough to make the playoffs, they’ve been demolished in the first round by teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s a bit of bad luck.
And then there are other seasons – namely the past two – where they’ve been just good enough... to miss the playoffs by a single game. That’s more bad luck for the Miami Dolphins and their fans.
Then there are the seasons where they’ve been bad and had high draft picks as a result. Surely they would have found the right players at the top of the draft to turn their bad luck around. Try again – no such luck so far. We’ll see if recent high draft picks like Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland and others can turn that luck around soon.
But if you dig deeper and take a look at some recent developments within the Miami Dolphins organization, you may just find a modicum of unintended good luck that owner, Stephen Ross, stumbled upon while doing his best buffoon impression – which might be no impression at all.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you now know that Stephen Ross had every intention of bringing Tom Brady and/or Sean Payton to South Florida to play and coach the Dolphins, respectively. We will never know just how close those moves came to happening, nor will we ever be able to say if that would have delivered Miami another Lombardi Trophy – a trophy that has eluded the franchise for fifty years. What we do know, however, is that Ross’ dream combination of Brady/Payton did not come to fruition, and in fact, the only tangible result of that dream was a ONE POINT FIVE MILLION DOLLAR fine and the stripping of 1st and 3rd round draft picks from the Dolphins.
The loss of draft picks – high draft picks – stings. It really does. But if you take that out of the equation, did the Dolphins actually get lucky by “missing out” on Tom Brady and Sean Payton?
Mike McDaniel was hired to replace the disgruntled Brian Flores as head coach of the Miami Dolphins after an extensive search this past offseason. McDaniel’s intelligence is very apparent the moment the coach opens his mouth. He’s able – and willing – to explain his offensive strategies with a coolness and confidence that would have never happened under the old regime. McDaniel has also injected the Dolphins with a life and energy that has media members around the league absolutely buzzing. His players are raving about the young head ball coach as well. While admitting that he has never won a game as a head coach in the National Football League, one has to agree that Mike McDaniel sure has been impressive so far.
If Sean Payton had been hired to coach the Dolphins, we would have missed out on all of the positives that Mike McDaniel has brought to South Florida so far – and all of the positives that he will bring in the future.
Then there’s the polarizing quarterback in Miami – Tua Tagovailoa.
Plenty of fans love Tua Tagovailoa. Plenty of fans don’t. Tua’s first two seasons in the NFL haven’t gone as well as many Dolphins fans would have hoped. While watching Joe Burrow lead his team to the Super Bowl and Justin Herbert put up video game numbers in Los Angeles, we have watched Tua fall short of the same types of success both of his draft mates have achieved with their respective teams. Yes, Tua has a winning record as starting QB for the Dolphins, but a lot of folks would attribute those victories to the stout Miami defense (although Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jacoby Brissett played with the same defenses and neither had winning records as starting QBs of the Dolphins).
However, something feels different this offseason. Tua Tagovailoa finally has the support of his head coach which, in turn, has allowed his teammates to rally around the young quarterback. Speaking of teammates, the Miami Dolphins have finally surrounded Tua with offensive weaponry that would rival the biggest military arsenals the world has ever seen. All-Pro wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. Cedrick Wilson was brought in after he was very productive for the Dallas Cowboys. Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert were added to bolster the running backs room, while Terron Armstead and Connor Williams were brought in to help those backs find better running lanes and to keep Tua upright and give him more time to find his weapons streaking open downfield.
Those additions, combined with the support of his coaching staff, have allowed QB1 to get his confidence back. There is a certain swagger with Tua Tagovailoa that has been prevalent this offseason – a swag that had been missing from Tua’s step since suffering a severe hip injury during his final year of college ball at Alabama.
Did Miami finally luck out and find the coach/QB combination that will lead this franchise back to the glory of yesteryear? Only time will tell, but maybe this team won’t need luck going forward. Maybe this squad will just be a damn good football team. If Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa continue the trajectory that they’ve started on since the beginning of OTAs, we will be very happy with the results that come along with just being good – with or without luck. No Tom Brady? No Sean Payton? No problem.
What are your expectations for the Miami Dolphins this year? Do you think Mike McDaniel is the man for the job, or would you have preferred for Miami to have acquried Sean Payton? Do you wish Tom Brady was the quarterback for the Dolphins, or do you think that Tua Tagovailoa will finally show why he was drafted #5 overall just a little over two years ago? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!