Dolphins fan, I am sorry. I apologize for the current state of our beloved franchise and football team. I know none of us are at fault, but sometimes it feels like it’s something we did. We either didn’t cheer hard enough, or get to the stadium early enough, or wear the right socks. I don’t know, but what I do know is that this era of ambiguity in which we are currently stuck, needs to be resolved.
Allow me to be clear: a team being at 4-4 is not a death sentence by any means, neither is the talent—yes, there is still significant talent on this team—that is present in Davie. No, I am not attempting to paint a picture of the sky falling, or a reason for fans to stop supporting their team. All I am saying is that it is okay to be frustrated, confused, and shell-shocked.
After all, are there many other fanbases that have gone through what we have the past 5-10 years? The turnstile offensive lines, the recent injuries to prominent players, the inability to find consistency in any unit or player not named Denney?
The answer to that depressing question is likely no; not many fanbases like that exist. And yet, we are still here. We are still wearing our aqua and orange proudly, and we still love our Fins. So for those of us that are with the team through thick and thin (literally thin…as in we don’t have enough healthy players to fill out our roster), allow me to give you my opinion of how we get out of this era of ambiguity.
Go on Twitter and search “Fire Gase” as soon as you finish reading this sentence, and then come back to finish the article. Did you do it? Okay. What you likely found was about 3,536 tweets on how Gase needs to go and on how Ross is making a mistake by continuously trusting in the Head Coach.
I empathize with the fans that share that opinion, but I simply don’t agree with them. If you want to get out of ambiguity, the first step is to not create more if it. See, firing your coach is not an answer to the questions, it is solely another question being added to the pile.
If you want consistency, you need to start somewhere; and no, the owner doesn’t count. So then you get to be the judge, from the following members of the organization, who do you keep for consistency: Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum, or Chris Grier? To me, the answer is a resounding vote for Adam Gase. You do not keep Gase because of what he’s done, but rather because of what he can do.
It’s the same philosophy of not paying a free agent for the back of his baseball card, but for what he will bring to you in the future. Gase can and will be successful in this league, my hope is that he does so while wearing aqua and orange.
You want to be better? First step is consistency, and the first choice there is Adam Gase.
Invest in the quarterback
I could write a twenty page article, with the winning lotto numbers, the cure for illnesses around the world, and the location of the Holy Grail…and yet this is the section that would get the most engagements and views. Quarterback talk…yikes…this should be fun. The following are a few opinions that I believe to be true:
1. Miami needs to draft a quarterback in either the 2019 or 2020 Draft. This opinion is controversial, but really shouldn’t be. Even over the offseason, and even with the belief that a healthy Ryan Tannehill is a franchise quarterback, Miami should always be investing and searching for the next Dan Marino. The issue? Miami has had so many holes in their roster, that they cannot be blamed for not always going quarterback.
With that being said, that excuse will not fly over the next few years; Gase needs to draft a prospect, and he needs to do it soon. I love that they were able to sign Falk for this year—I clamored for him during the draft—but he’s not becoming Marino.
2. Ryan Tannehill has 11, 10, 9…8 games to earn himself a spot on the 2019 roster. Allow me to re-iterate something I previously stated: Ryan Tannehill, when healthy, is a franchise quarterback in this league, and you can win with him. With that being said, he may be winning on another team. Miami would be foolish to detach from Tannehill without a clear successor—and no, trading for Carr is not the answer—but due to injury, lack of support, a begruntled fanbase, and football being about business $$$ more so than solely football, Tannehill’s time in Miami may be coming to an end.
For some fans, there is nothing Tannehill can do this season that will keep him on this roster; I don’t agree. He has 8 games to show that he is what many believe he is, and show Gase that he is worthy of the starting job heading into next year.
3. No single quarterback, not even Dan Marino is fixing this team as currently playing. If this was a Ryan Tannehill article, the bots would now tell me that this point is all about excuses and covering for him…blah blah blah. But here is the truth, regardless of who is back there, Miami will not win meaningful football games until the people in Davie figure out how to pass protect, run block, and win the battle in the trenches.
Also, your defense shouldn’t be giving up 27+ points a game. Oh, and you probably shouldn’t have your quarterback be the leading rusher; like Tannehill was during that 3-0 start. This is the franchise that ruined—as in never allowed for Super Bowl success—the best quarterback of all-time in Dan Marino…so it’s somewhat hard to blame any quarterback for their failures when they come here.
I don’t know if it is Ryan Tannehill (my guess), or a draft prospect, or a free agent who starts Week 1 in 2019…but I do know that they won’t be successful without support. Support which Miami hasn’t provided a quarterback of theirs in a very very long time.
In sum: keep drafting until you find Dan Marino, Ryan Tannehill may still be the guy but he needs to show it, and whenever you figure out the QB position, also remember that the other guys on the team should be competent too.
Develop an identity
My most significant gripe with this franchise is their inability to develop a true identity throughout the years following the early 2000’s. Make no mistake, this comes from some of the things discussed above such as lack of consistency and a revolving door at quarterback prior to Tannehill and during his injuries, but it also comes from continuously resetting prematurely.
This is eerily close to my first point that discussed the need for consistency, but is slightly different. The first one had to do with football ops, but this one is about the organization.
From marketing, to stadium management, to public relations, to football operations, the Miami Dolphins need to choose a path (e.g. rebuilding versus going for it) and stick to it. They are continuously in this cycle of 9-7, 8-8, or early elimination in the playoffs, and that cycle does not lend itself to success. Here’s a scary thought to many, but is likely true: you know those pesky Miami Marlins that operate in Little Havana, the franchise run by Derek Jeter, the same franchise that the national media killed all last year? Well those “little guys” in Little Havana currently have a proven plan to success, and are implementing at a high level as we speak.
That plan has many, possibly including myself, confident that they’re likely the best suited South Florida team to take the next step and bring consistent winning to South Florida. If you give me an offer on season tickets to either the Fins for the next five years or the Fish; my answer is the Fish 10 out of 10 times. Think about that for a few seconds…ponder that reality, and then realize that you can’t really even debate it much…because at least they have an identity and a plan. What identity do our beloved Fins have?
The Dolphins will eventually have answers to their current state of ambiguity, it will happen. If you want it to happen slightly quicker than Brock Osweiler trying to run out of the pocket, then let’s hope that they find their consistency, resolve their quarterback situation, and learn that they need to develop an identity.
We will always be wearing our aqua and orange. We will always be cheering for our team. But we will also be asking ourselves why? Why the ambiguity? Why the inconsistency? My hope? That we get the answers sooner rather than later.
This story as written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
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