In the wake of the embarrassing series of events that has seemingly been dragging on since the Miami Dolphins‘ first loss of a season-ending losing streak, I thought it was important to provide you all with some perspective.
The Dolphins have finally hired a general manager after a nearly month-long search thar featured Miami being spurned by four potential replacements to Jeff Ireland. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross received a ton of criticism in these weeks as an owner who “knows nothing about football.”
If this is the case, put Ross is the same class as about 28 other NFL owners. There is a reason why owners hire these guys to run their teams. Ross hired Dennis Hickey after the well documented saga, ironically much to the disgust of the same Dolphins fans who wanted Ireland gone.
Even after these past few months, filled with disappointing defeats, both on and off the field, the Dolphins still sit as a team who is a good offensive line away from the playoffs. If you don’t believe that claim, look at the last two games of the season and the first game of the season against the Buffalo Bills.
The line was Swiss cheese in the two losses that ended the Dolphins’ season, and the Dolphins lost the first Bills game as a direct result of a sack/fumble that the Dolphins’ Tyson Clabo gave up to the Bills’ Mario Williams. The Bills recovered the ball in Dolphins’ territory late in the fourth quarter and kicked the game-winning field goal.
When you consider that the Dolphins were one win from the playoffs and that Miami had beaten four out of six AFC Playoffs teams, it really makes you realize that this team isn’t that far from greatness (or at least goodness). The Dolphins also beat the AFC East juggernaut New England Patriots last season. If that doesn’t show you growth from a young team, nothing will. The end of the season was discouraging, but the improvement cannot be ignored.
Retaining some key free agents, such as Brent Grimes, as well as adding offensive linemen who are athletic enough play in the zone blocking scheme that Miami has been trying to run with stationary blockers instead of men who can move will be key to having success in 2014. It is the first and most important major task of the new GM Hickey.
Half of the Dolphins’ wins came against playoff teams. The problem that Miami had in 2013 is that they played to the level of their competition, whether good or bad. If the Dolphins can add more consistency to a team that lived on streaks last season, then they will experience the playoffs for the first time since 2008.