With the Miami Dolphins all but eliminated from the playoffs, there are mixed reactions around the locker room with some players already resigned to the fact that the team will miss the playoffs while others are still holding out a tiny sliver of hope that they will sneak in.
Ryan Tannehill is one of the ones who has resigned himself to the fact that they’ll miss the playoffs and this will be third time in his three year career that the Dolphins have fallen short. Tannehill said it has been a number of things that all came together in a perfect storm.
“We just haven’t played up to our potential. We haven’t played well. If you look at the last two games, we had opportunities. We started the games well and then, in the second half, as a full team, we didn’t play well. It’s not one side of the ball or the other, it’s the total team. And you can’t win when you do that,” he said. “It’s tough. It’s tough to know we had opportunities. It was in our hands and we didn’t play up to our standard. That’s tough.”
Jarvis Landry said that the team has had its fair share of up and downs throughout the season but said that they have a great football team and are definitely a playoff team. However, he wasn’t putting it on the coaches as he said that his trust has never wavered in them and he, along with others, appreciate the trust they have in them. Spoken like a true rookie who knows he has plenty of years left in the NFL, he said that there’s always next year if they don’t make the playoffs.
Mike Wallace is still holding out hope to make the playoffs, pointing towards the San Diego Chargers last season when everyone though they were out of it until everything went their way. However, he admits that he wishes they were in a better position and it hurts more so because they were in control of their own destiny. If they don’t make the playoffs, like the vast majority expect, Wallace said that it will come down to them just not playing enough.
“If we aren’t in the playoffs, I’m not going to say we didn’t maximize our talent, but I don’t feel like we played well enough. Because maximizing our talent, I would say would be on our coaches, but I think it’s on the players. We lost that game. Our coaches aren’t out there. I don’t think we played up to our potential, but as far as maximizing talent, if you would say that, then it would be on the coaches. I don’t think it’s the coaches’ fault, I think it’s our fault. I don’t think we’ve played up to our potential throughout our football games. I don’t think we’ve played a full 60 minutes except maybe two or three times. We’re selling ourselves short, the players not the coaches.”
Wallace is one to believe that you are what your record says you are. While Joe Philbin has been talking about how they are a few plays away from winning a few more games, Wallace said that every team in the NFL can come up with many scenarios of how they could be undefeated.
“There’s not one team I don’t think in the NFL that would come up here and tell you that would not have 15 scenarios for you to where they could be 14-0 or 15-0, one play away, two plays away, but that’s every team. Every team is going to have a game where it is going to be, ‘If we would have made this play, this would have happened or that would have happened,’ but you are what you are. There’s no way around it.”
When looking around the league, especially at the NFC South, it might be frustrating for the Dolphins to sit at a possible 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs. However, players understood that sometimes, that’s how it shakes out in the end.
“We all know (the system) before going into the year, so it’s not like this was new,” Mike Wallace said. “We all know the rules. We all know how it goes. Maybe it might be a little disappointing, but we all know how it goes. It is what it is. The system just didn’t start yesterday. It didn’t just start this year. The system has been in place for years and years. We all know the rules going in. No excuses for nobody.”
Like Wallace, Jared Odrick wasn’t making any excuses for not making the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
“In high school, we finished 6-4 and 7-3 and I didn’t make it to the playoffs and a 7-3 team usually makes it to the playoffs. But it’s the way things are, life is not fair and you’ve learned many lessons before getting here that stuff is not fair. But that doesn’t mean that you should work any less or that you shouldn’t expect more from yourself. The thing is, that’s that conference, and it’s not us. I guess I take it as, when I used to complain to my mom, ‘Well, Jimmy’s mom is letting him stay out until 9’ and she’d say, ‘am I Jimmy’s mom?’ So no, we have to abide by the rules that are placed on us and we have to win the amount of games that will get us to the playoffs in our conference.”
The players have been preaching that there is still plenty to play for, it will be interesting to see what happens when they get into the game on Sunday and the hits start coming in hard. Will they continue to fight or will they go into self-preserve mode in an effort to save their body for next year? We’ll start finding out in just a few days.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs