With training camp just days away, as a veteran Miami Dolphin fan (DF), I am slow to adjust to this feeling of optimism going into this new season. Having spent the post Dan Marino era hoping on a weekly basis that the Dolphins would be able to compete, my expectations are understandably slow to amend. DFs have just wanted to find a QB who can make this team competitive once again so that we can go into Week 13 with a pitcher full of confidence that it will not be the last game of the season.
We Dolphins fans (DFs) have been through a lot these past few years. We had to put up with Bill Parcells, with his old school approach to football, who never seemed all that interested in the team. He seemed more interested in letting Jeff Ireland and Tony Sporano handle the team while Parcells’ name takes the headlines. Thanks a lot, Parcells. You try out your “old football” in a league that is changing right in front of us all, your method fails, and you leave. So Parcells rides off into the sunset on his golf cart, leaving his boy Ireland behind to pick up the pieces with a coach whose only real skill seemed to be keeping track of how many plays each of his players had during the season; thanks for that Sparano. In the wake of both of those jokers, Miami was left with a GM with a massive target on his back and a really lousy starting point.
Don’t misunderstand; as any veteran DF, I am loyal to the core, however, it would be a relief not to hear about Tom Brady every day and get “The Sanchize” off the front page of AFC East blogs. I would like to boast about my team; to once again feel satisfaction as a fan of a team in the playoff hunt.
While many DFs wanted Ireland to disappear with the rest of the Parcells group, I think Ireland has really turned this roster around with good drafting and good free agent signings. Most importantly, Ireland brought in the current head coach, Joe Philbin. On paper, the current roster gives me great excitement going into this season. The offense has depth at RB, speed and skill at WR, a TE that can run the seam and a QB with a hot wife (they seem to do well in the AFC East…the QBs I mean). The defense has a beast of a D-Line, new LBs, solid secondary, and a history of being tough. Unless of course it is third and 25, then they seem to have a problem getting stops, but we don’t need to get into that here.
While the roster gives DFs new excitement, we should get our confidence and optimism from our Head Coach. As DFs we know what poor coaching looks like. We have seen our fair share of bad and sub par coaches in recent years. I grew up in the days of Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher, and Don Shula pacing the sidelines for their teams year after year. We all know what stability looks like and what it sounds like, and Philbin brings both. Philbin makes me believe in the player development of this team again. Philbin appears to be a man in control of everything, yet with some fun hidden away just to remind his players that he is a good guy who is here to win games.
So with Training Camp drawing closer, I am not just excited, but optimistic. The only thing I would enjoy more than seeing the New England Patriots go down in a blaze of agony, the New York Jets implode from the inside, or the Buffalo Bills being easy wins this season, would be seeing the Dolphins bring the hammer and win! The Dolphins have all the right elements to win this division and possibly even make a run in the playoffs. For the first time in many years, as a DF, I feel like winning is possible and my feelings are not backed by empty hope; they are backed by confidence in a team I am once again proud to call my own.