Well the fairytale is over, after 6 weeks of winning games things came crashing to an end as a Ravens trounced our Dolphins 38-6. I actually knew it was a great possibility the Dolphins would lose that game but my hope was that they would at least represent themselves well enough that in a loss they still had gained some respect by NOT GETTING BLOWN OUT! If it were a close game we could say that this team was legitimate /for real but after being blown out in the manner and way they were Sunday questions must be asked who these Dolphins are.
Well it is quite obvious they are not ready for primetime as the Ravens (a legitimate contender) exposed this Dolphins team weakness in all three phases of the game. Many say a win’s a win and a loss is a loss but that’s just not true it does matter how you win and how you lose and that’s the crux of where this Dolphins team lie their just not ready yet.
The truth is this team has been just getting by against both good and bad opponents in their six game win streak, they really did not have one game that they dominated and won convincingly, they’ve had to struggle for every win against some not-so-good teams and they did manage to get by some good teams. But they’ve never been able to dominate and that’s where we currently are as a team.
The Dolphins are not a bad team they’re just not one of the better teams in the league right now. They are truly an emerging team that still has quite a way to go to become a true contender. They appear to be better coached than what we have had in a while but still lacking sufficient talent in some key areas on the team that they really need upgrades as was exposed in Sunday’s loss. I see this team as a team that is on the rise despite the devastating loss Sunday.
I have no doubt that we finally found the right head coach for this team he’s the youngest head coach in the league he has experience and has worked with some of the better coaches and teams and has worked with some top talent in the league. He has started to change the culture in Miami and that alone is the beginning signs that they are headed in the right direction.
But no matter how much experience and knowledge a coach has there are still certain factors that need to be in place for teams to become a true playoff/ Super Bowl contender and there are too many holes on this Dolphins roster right now to put them as a legitimate contender, don’t get me wrong I would still love to see them make the playoffs, making the playoffs would still be very good start for Adam Gase our first-year rookie head coach. The fact is he’s already won just by the manner in which he has change the culture down here in South Florida.
I started the season projecting a 9-7 season and the six game win streak gave us all some hope that we had a legitimate playoff contender. Maybe many of us are putting too much pressure on this team when we should just be happy that at least they have ALREADY surpassed last year’s 6-10 season and have a legitimate chance to have a winning record (9-7) for the first time in seven seasons.
Like I said I am not giving up hope that they make the playoffs this year but I am keeping things in perspective that we have a hell of a lot to be happy about this team and the direction they are headed. And maybe rather than ruin what they have been able to accomplish with this team in year one of Adam Gase’s tenure so far by putting too much on their plate let’s enjoy the rest of the season and where the arrow is pointing for the Dolphins in the future.
This is not a playoff or bust season.
Miami is officially in the driver’s seat and control their own destiny towards the playoffs, they are in 6th place in the AFC playoff race and if they win out they are in the playoffs. Now it might be a little unrealistic to think they will win out the remainder of their games but winning 3 of their last 5 games is possible.
What a long way they have come from the 1-4 start of the season. Miami is one of the hottest teams in the league and their schedule is still somewhat favorable to making the playoffs. Now many of us are still traumatized by the Joe Philbin era when just needing to win one of their last two games against the Bills on the road and the Jets at home the Dolphins tanked and we lost both badly. That was the last time we had a shot at the playoffs until now and it’s hard to not have that feeling that this is just too good to be true.
Why is their legitimate reason to believe this time things will be different? Beside the obvious Adam Gase is the coach now and not Joe Philbin, this team is utilizing all of the talent as they have won in just about anyway you can. Sometimes it’s not been pretty but the outcome has been the same they have found a way to win.
There is also reason for concern as they allowed a game that they should have put away, up 31-14 AT HOME against a tanking 49ers team but still had to have a game saving play at the end of the game to prevent a potential loss and at least a tie and overtime.
I will focus on the glass being half full and explain why we have real hope.
This is not the Dolphins of recent mediocrity and dysfunction. Miami has accomplished something that I complained they have failed to do in a couple of key factors that to me separates the good teams from the bad or mediocre teams.
First lets look at a key factor in the making of a top NFL team. Their home record. This 2016 Adam Gase Dolphins team have won 5 of their 6 home games to date and have the best home record in the division and tied for 2nd with 3 other teams. The Seattle Seahawks have the best home record in the NFL 5-0. Miami shares a 5-1 home record with Houston, Dallas, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. All of these teams with 5 win home records are in the playoff hunt. 3 are division leaders.
The next thing is the Division record the fact is if you win your Division you are automatically in the playoffs. Miami is 2-1 in the division and with 3 of their last 5 games against division opponents winning just 1 more will get them at .500 in the division. They will most likely not win the division this year as the Patriots are 3-1 in the division and also have a 2 game lead in the win/loss column at 9-2. The goal next year is to provide a legitimate challenge to New England for the division.
For now it has been truly fun watching this Dolphins team play and scrap for these past six games and WIN! I know some will never be satisfied no matter what as they will complain about ALMOST losing a game they won.
I on the other hand had as much fun being teased in the win over San Francisco as I was nervous, frustrated and finally elated with that win and this entire season because we have won already if you factor in pre-season predictions for our Dolphins.
NFL Conference Standing To Date:
Yes Jim Mora that is exactly what I’m talking about PLAYOFFS!
I know it’s taboo for the Dolphin players and coaches to even think about it but I’m already on board. I feel this team has an excellent shot to make the playoffs far exceeding my 9 – 7 projections for the season as this team is on a roll.
Already riding a 5 game winning streak coming off a two-game road trip to the West Coast that brought their first two Road wins of the season there is only one team that is hotter than Miami right now the Dallas Cowboys winners of 10 in a row. ( The Giants also have a 5 game winning streak )
The Dolphins will need to win at least 4 more games to make the playoffs so let’s look at the last six games of the season to see if they could potentially win 10 games and possibly make the playoffs.
Miami has six games remaining three on the road and three at home the easiest way to the playoffs would be to win the remainder of their home games against San Francisco, Arizona & New England and steal one road game against either the Ravens the Jets or the Bills.
Miami’s playing smart ball right now and not thinking past their next opponent so the 49ers come to Miami this Sunday on a nine game losing streak and not playing really good ball with that being said On Any Given Sunday we know any team could win but the odds are Miami should win this game bringing their win total to seven games this season. Advantage Miami.
After Sunday’s game they go to Baltimore to play the Ravens that game will be a very difficult game to win as the Ravens are a very good team but it’s not impossible and as soon as we get these games out of the way the less they will have their backs up against the wall the final four games. Advantage Baltimore.
The next game will be at home against the Arizona Cardinals a team that last year was just a game away from making it to the Super Bowl to now having a disappointing season but still too dangerous to overlook this will be a very hard-fought game but somehow they managed to pull it out in the end Advantage Miami.
Miami goes back on the road this time against one of their division opponents as the rest of the season will be against division opponents first up the New York Jets a team that is reeling but as we all know no matter how good or bad a division opponent might be all that goes out the window when you play them this will be another hard-fought game one that will be contentious hard-hitting and tough the type of games that former head coach Joe Philbin would have lost but under coach Gase I expect them to pull off this win and sweep of the Jets. Advantage Miami
Miami next head to Buffalo play the Bills another very tough hard-nosed team that will be very difficult to beat on their home turf I do not expect Miami to sweep Buffalo but would love for that to be the case I just do not see that happening this year Buffalo will find a way to win this game leaving Miami one opportunity to make the playoffs as they head home for the final game of the season. Advantage Buffalo
Miami heads home play the New England Patriots in a game that has significance for the Dolphins playoff hopes this is actually a win-win for the Dolphin how you say?
I look at this as a great opportunity to begin a legitimate rivalry with the Patriots because if Miami should lose this game against the Patriots and be put out of the playoff this team will spend the rest of the offseason to find ways to pay New England back
Coach Adam Gase and the players will stew over this for quite a while and look forward to the next season as we all will after such an exciting season.
On the other hand should Miami win this game it will be the beginning of the change of power in the AFC East and the Dolphins will have shown New England they are truly a legitimate contender in our division starting next year.
This will be a very hard-fought game between two very good teams one team that has dominated the division for years will be up against a young upstart resurgent Miami Dolphins team.
The Dolphins will pull this one out so Advantage Miami and the final record for the season 10 – 6 will get them into the playoffs stay tuned.
From day one Adam Gase has been extremely supportive if not overly protective of his QB and it looks like it’s paying dividends.
After 4 years of relative futility for many (numbers must lie) despite Tannehill really playing good football on many ocations he has been called out derided and roasted by the fans and media alike.
Even when things were not going well for his team Adam Gase never publicly overly criticized his young QB.
Even though Tannehill will still have his haters he has started to win over many doubters. Fans and media alike!
After 4 years in the hands of the much long forgotten Joe Philbin, Adam Gase has gotten Ryan Tannehill to look more like the real deal in just 6 months under his protective wings.
Now as I said it is way too early proclaim Ryan a franchise QB but he is starting to look a lot better in many areas that even I began to question if he can be taught. Things like pocket presence, deep ball accuracy, and winning games in the fourth quarter.
Even though we need many more games before we get overly excited about what we are witnessing the fact that this guy with the reputation of being a QB wispherer has turned Tannehill into what many of us think our QB should look like in such a short time together is nothing short of remarkable!
Adam Gase says he took the Dolphins job because of and not despite of Ryan Tannehill. So far he has proven to be right and took time to let the local media know it by taking his shot at their past misdeeds towards his QB.
Talk about mind games! What has that done to his locker room? And in particular his QB?
Coach Gase’s star continues on a upward trek to the heavens while taking a load off the heavy hearts of many a bitter, frustrated and still not sold Dol-Fans, who are still waiting for the bottom to drop out or the wheels to come off, just not 100% on board but peeking with one eye.
Adam Gase is winning over even the most disenchanted Dolphins fans as who is going to argue with the kind of success he is having in such a short span deapite not having his ideal personell?
In a day and age where people are so negative, cut throat, back stabbing, finger pointing while riding that bus ready to run over anybody. It is nice to see a Coach especially a young first time head coach have not only his fellow coaches backs but the back of the one player he needs to rebuild his confidence trust and reputation.
That is exactly what Adam Gase is doing and all signs point to it paying off big time.
Ryan Tannehill can finally relax and play with confidence because he knows he has a coach who finally have his back in words and deeds.
It was just a matter of when not if with our offensive line. When healthy the starters are one of the best lines in the league there is no greater evidence than their 10-1 record as a starting unit. That’s the problem they rarely stay healthy as a unit.
Brandon Albert one of the best at his position is always injured and his health issues have made him unreliable every season he’s been in Miami.
For a second time this season he will miss some time due to injury. The fortunate thing was this past NFL draft when Miami snagged a top rated OT in Laremy Tunsil who has played well at his new position LG but is slated to be the future at LT will slide over and man the LT spot and should do well.
Now losing Albert has been compounded by the news that our second most injured pro-bowl Center Mike Pouncey has reinjured his hip again in practice as status is up in the air.(Update He is out for Sunday vs the Rams)
The good news is the last time the Dolphins had to patch the line Adam Gase finally realized what we fans knew all along is that backup offensive linemen Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas was just not good enough to be on our roster. After a disastrous outing against the Tennessee Titans coach Gase finally seen enough and cut both players.
So we do not have to worry about them coming into the game this time but that don’t mean we have no worries as the designation of backup means you are not good enough to be the starter. Miami will most likely have 8 year veteran Kraig Urbik move in as Guard to fill the LG spot manned by Tunsil and have Anthony Steen take over the center position if Pouncey can not play.
There is never a good time to have to go to your backups especially considering how good this team has played of late and even more concerning is going against one of the best fronts in the game by the Los Angeles Rams.
As I said earlier you have to play the hand you’re dealt and so Miami has no other choice but to go into this game and play as best they can, now I think this makes it even more of an edge towards our opponent but at least we know we are not relying on Thomas and Turner to protect Ryan Tannehill.