Take a deep breath in through your nose. Can you smell it? The freshly mowed grass, the newly drawn field lines, the helmets and pads of men tackling and colliding with each other. Football season is here, so you better buckle up, clear your calendar until January, schedule your fantasy football drafts, and get ready for some Miami Dolphins football!
Who can forget that the last we saw the Miami Dolphins playing a meaningful football game, they were a few games out of the AFC Wild Card playoff spot (again). The season seemed very promising with a 3-0 start, which was the teams best start since 2013, and the appearance that luck was finally on the side of the Fins began to show. However, the wheels fell off midseason, and the team could not recover, ending the 2018 season with three straight losses to close out the season with a 7-9 record. The losing record, lack of team discipline, and many other factors meant sweeping changes were on the horizon for the Dolphins organization, both on and off the field. Not many coaches and executives were retained during the offseason and many veteran players were to be released. The proverbial “team reset” was necessary.
The offseason saw the likes of many fan favorites and familiar faces be purged from the team roster and coaching staff including Cam Wake, Frank Gore, Ja’Wuan James, Ryan Tannehill, and Coach Darren Rizzi. Although they each had specific talents and qualities, the new coaching regime stuck to the plan of not retaining many veterans and pinching their free agent pennies.
The new Miami Dolphins regime, led by Chris Grier and Brian Flores, took an offseason approach with the team that had not been seen in a long while. Besides purging many veteran players, and replacing the majority of the coaching staff, the team focused on bringing in young, unknown and inexpensive players while planning for the upcoming years ahead by accumulating extra draft picks (12 for next seasons draft) and saving future capital ($120 million in Cap space next season).
The 2019 draft appears to have been a success, with the pickup of important pieces to fill the needs that were left behind by the purged player openings. In addition, the value that the team found with the pickup of Josh Rosen, a Top 10 pick in the prior year’s draft, for what ultimately turned out to be a fifth round draft pick in 2020, could be a sign that the ship may be turning in the right direction for the team’s front office. Obviously, a true assessment of this season’s draft won’t be made until the end of the 2019 season and future seasons.
So, with Dolphins Training Camp opening on July 25th and the team’s first preseason game a few weeks later on August 8th, what can Miami Dolphins fans expect? If you have read the national media’s take on the team, the expectation is somewhere between zero wins and 4 wins. However, the National media tends to not pay much attention to the Dolphins. They just know that the team has a new font office and coaching staff and an overhauled team, and therefore the team shouldn’t win many games.
However, just look to the North and the 2017 Buffalo Bills. Our AFC East nemesis overhauled their coaching staff that preseason, and purged many veteran players, similar to this season’s Miami Dolphins, and, although the expectations were for the Bills to win six games, the 2017 Bills team went on to win nine games and make it to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Many Dolphins fans believe too much of what they read and think this upcoming season will be a flop (and a few still believe that the team will be tanking .. HA). However, the majority of fans think that this season will be one of the most exciting seasons to watch in a long time. Some fans say it’s because of all of the fresh faces on the field and along the sidelines. Some fans say it’s because the team finally pulled the trigger on a full reset. Other fans say its because they like the new players that joined and are pleased with some of the players/coaches that left.
The 2019 Miami Dolphins are going to be an exciting team to watch this season because fans just don’t know what to expect. They just know it’s going to be new and different, which is something this team, and this town needs.
Take a whiff. That’s the smell of the new Miami Dolphins running out of the tunnels of Davie training camp and Hard Rock Stadium. And that’s the smell of optimism for a great football season! Can you smell it? Football is here!
See you at Camp!
This article was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
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