Last week we got to see the Miami Dolphins on the field in action against the Chicago Bears. Like so many fans I too was excited to see them playing again. Ryan Tannehill led an impressive march down the field and despite a couple of hiccups in the form of holding calls he was able to connect with wide receiver Jarvis Landry for a touchdown in the endzone.
While I would have liked to see another series, the Dolphins chose to pull Tannehill off the field for the remainder of the game. But while excited, I also had to remember what this game was.
It was not an official “it counts for the season” game. While we, the public, watch the Dolphins play, these games are not for us. They’re for the coaches and team managers to evaluate the players in order to make some final roster moves that will ultimately be…the Miami Dolphins.
I think a lot of people tend to forget that at times. Yeah we hear them say, “Oh it’s just preseason, it doesn’t count for anything.” But then, they are screaming at their TV like it was a full-fledged game. I witnessed the same thing with the recent scrimmage.
I get that fans want some action. They want to see the Dolphins at work winning games. I totally get that. It’s been a long wait since the end of the Super Bowl (that the Dolphins weren’t in, but we won’t go there). But take a step back for a moment.
Last season’s 8-8 finish was discouraging, many of the games gut wrenching. I personally remember sitting at a game with the Kansas City Chiefs and smack texting a buddy of mine in Arkansas who grew up a Chiefs fan. As the game progressed I had to stop my texting and keep quiet as the game quickly and agonizingly got away from the Dolphins.
Fortunately for me, my friend didn’t retaliate. Had he done so, I would have deserved it. But while there is no question the fans were bummed out by last season, rest assured, nobody was more disappointed with the Dolphins than the Dolphins themselves.
Right now, the Dolphins are in a tough situation and they have been working hard and have made some moves during the off season. Most notably, Ndamukong Suh. They know we are closely watching and they are looking closely at a lot of things with this team. They have to look at reincorporating players coming off injuries with the team. They are looking to see how the rookies they have signed will fit in with the veterans. The list goes on and on.
We all know this, pre-season is a time of evaluation. The team has been working hard under the blistering Florida sun, I know because I have been there melting as well. After the first game, and loss, no cuts were made. But we are coming up on week two and this one will be the beginning of the team formation.
More watching and observing. While at training camp I have observed different combinations with hope players will be working even harder for their permanent spot because the next day they may not be there.
Now in week two, the Dolphins faced the Carolina Panthers. The boys spent much of the week in Carolina practicing with the Panthers. Having had the opportunity to observe the practices I am pretty excited at what I saw. I have to say though; I am pretty bummed at the injury to Louis Delmas.
His presence and leadership will be missed on the field. But I also have to move on with the thought that now other players need to step up. Walt Aikens is the one they are looking at to fill the void. Last night I saw his efforts as he made some pretty impressive hits. Ryan Tannehill did a great job leading (I use that word with purpose) the offense down the field. He was 12 of 15 for the night and at the end of his two series, he had (with my full confidence) my permission to end his night.
But as the game progressed and more and more first teamers left the playing field things started to quickly unravel. But that’s OK. Again, the games aren’t for us, they are for the team. The coaching staff needed to see that unraveling to see what areas they need to improve on.
So for our part, I get the excitement. But let’s give the team a chance as we sit and watch the final team slowly come into formation over the next few weeks. I think we as fans will be pleasantly surprised with the final results.
This column was written by Peter Thorpe. Follow him on Twitter: @PeterThorpePM
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