Praise for the Miami Dolphins

In a departure, somewhat, from our typical weekly analysis of what the Dolphins should be doing to improve, I’m going to treat us all to a more favorable article today on the good things that Miami has accomplished this year.

We have to start, first and foremost, with the fact that we’re in the playoffs.  One of only 12 teams with a chance to win the Super Bowl.   More important than that, and more impressive, is that we wrapped up a playoff berth with a week to spare.   There’s no need to dissect a million tiebreaking scenarios in Week 17 and pray for a dozen different cards to fall in place.  We’re in, and we got it early.

10 games ago, we are all but counted out, including by myself.   If you told me that we’d make the playoffs, I would have assumed that it was some miracle of tiebreakers and that Baltimore and Denver and the Bills and Cincy all suffered massive injuries to key players…but none of that was true.   There were no miracles or bizarre tiebreaker rules or injuries to the other teams; instead, it was the Dolphins going on a tear and winning 9 out of 10.

In the pre-season, I remember one commenter saying that the Dolphins might not know what they have until October, after the brutal schedule we had to begin the season.  He was correct.

The emergence of Jay Ajayi certainly helped.  Three different games with 200+ yards rushing helped establish a strong running game for the Dolphins.   Lamar Miller was a 1,000-yard rusher too, but doesn’t it feel different with Ajayi?

Kenny Stills emerged as a deep-ball threat.  Despite dropping an easy, game-changing TD in Seattle in Week 1, he’s more than made up for it.  He gives the opponent something to think about, and no opposing defense can afford to ignore Stills to concentrate on Landry.   Both Stills and Ajayi are dangerous playmakers.

Another incredible aspect of this successful season was a strong draft.  Laremy Tunsil has been steady.   Every offensive draft pick who suited up regularly scored a touchdown.  Jakeem Grant.  Leonte Caroo.  Kenyan Drake.   Combine that with a couple of guys from last year’s draft (DeVante Parker and Ajayi), and we have a steady flow of producers at the skill positions. The Dolphins have finally turned a corner in getting value from their picks and getting guys who earn a paycheck.

All teams deal with injuries, but the way the Dolphins have dealt with them this year has been incredible.  Losing several starters at key positions has not slowed Miami down at all.  The backups have been exemplary replacements, if not even better than the guys they replaced.   I think the media makes the fans worry about certain injuries, but the players and coaches aren’t as phased by it all.   Oh no!  Mike Pouncey’s hip is sore for the 500th week in a row!  We’re doomed.   Uh, no.  In steps Anthony Steen to fill in well enough to get us by, and then all of a sudden Kraig Urbick proves to be even better.  Koa Misi and Reshad Jones and Ryan Tannehill, and others…all the fill-ins have done outstanding work in their absence.

It’s been remarkable that the Dolphins are winning all the close games.   All the late rallies belong to the Dolphins.   They overcome errors.   They don’t give up after blown assignments or dropped passes or turnovers. They persevere.

The path to greater success looks intimidating.  Games against powerhouses like New England and Pittsburgh and Kansas City loom on the horizon.   But the Dolphins have proven that they can play with the big boys,  And even if things don’t go their way, it certainly looks better for future seasons.  With some tough new linebackers next year, we’ll really have something to build on.

 

 

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. We played 1 “big boy” on the road and got crushed. It was an important game for both teams. The teams we beat were creampuffs and we needed to pull a few of those out our ass to win,which we would not have done in previous seasons. How soul-crushing would it have been to their psyche had they lost to Cleveland? would they have recovered and won so many games? Doubtful. We got quite a few breaks and 2nd chances this season and most went our way. We lose Sunday because it’s basically a meaningless game since the Chefs will beat the Bolts. I just hope we don’t have any major injuries because Ii think we have a chance against the Steelers. Imagine if DoorMatt gets injured-how bad that would be for the team,and worse yet,for Jay, because the doctors will have to surgically remove his face from DoorMatt’s uniform pants before they can treat his injury.

    1. Author

      Well, it depends on how you define big boys. I see your point, but at the same time, we won December games in Buffalo and in New Jersey. I thought we’d lose both, and the Dolphins shut me up. The Rams shut us out for 55 minutes, and all of a sudden we won that game? No, the Rams are not big boys. They stink. But it’s been years since any Dolphin team refused to give up like that game. There were plenty of games over the past 5 years or so when we fell behind, and you just knew it was over. Not this season. It’s refreshing to get that monkey off our backs.

      1. I agree-winning games in December,period. And even meaningful games to boot.
        8-8 in 2017 and possibly 9-7 if we catch as many breaks as we did this season.

  2. Good article it’s nice to read some good things about Miami this late in the season. But you did make one point that has me worried for next year. Miami did really really good in close games. If your into statistics and trends that usually means the Dolphins will regress back to the average win percentage in close games. By that I mean this year Miami is 8-2 in games decided by less than 7 points. Usually teams don’t have a win percentage that good in close games. So based on trends (look it up if you don’t believe me) Miami will prolly not win 10 games next year unless the team makes significant improvements.

    1. @Zach

      That is a straw argument using biased data. I don’t accept the premise to begin with and for me, after that, the entire discussion falls apart.

      Not that I am dismissing you because I’m not I too have heard this “Logic” bantered around by commentators most of whom work at ESPN but look they HATE Miami for some reason, (Probably because Marino and Shula kept someone they loved from being more successful then they thought they should be.) but it’s “FAKE” news.

      Ok, first the “Premise” is the Trends show Miami can’t win 10 games next year!

      For Miami haters, this is great news, for the Jet’s and Bills this is beyond great news, for Miami haters who are Jet’s or Bills fans this makes them absolutely ejaculate just contemplating the thought!

      Let’s be the Kill Joy, shall we?

      First of all what trends are they referring to?

      Miami’s own trend over the last decade? The NFL trend averaged out over the last decade?

      I have heard this argument both ways and it is equally erroneous either way you plug this in.

      Why? Because these trends don’t include really solid coaching changes!

      If you look at Miami over the last decade they had one good coach

      Chad Pennington! He took us to the playoffs and consequently broke the cycle.

      Now the proponents of this argument you’re talking about look at 2008 as the “off” year (the same way they are looking at this year) In 2007 Miami was 1-15 in 2008 they were 11-5 and in 2009 7-9 so you see they can not win 10 games next year because the “TRENDS” dictate they won’t.

      Go back to 1983 and let’s see how that “Trend” holds up

      1983 we went 12-4 so we should have been under 10 games in ’84 right?

      Nope 1984 14-2 then in 1985 12-4 again

      then we had 4 years under 10 wins followed by four years alternating over and under 10 games then Jimmy Johnson came to town and with the exception of his first year we went to the playoffs every year even if we didn’t have 10 wins.

      So five years we went to the playoffs (I lumped Wanstats first year with Jimmy’s last because let’s be honest – it was)

      So where is the trend?

      If we are strictly looking at Dolphins History we could be over 10 games this year and suck for four years

      or

      We can be over 10 games this year and under next year and then back over the following

      or

      We can be over 10 games this year and then make the playoffs the next five years

      All three scenarios are in the Dolphins not too distant past!

      So is there a “Trend”?

      The only trend I see is when we have good coaching (Shula, Johnson, Pennington) we go to the playoffs!

      Now lets us the argument that it’s based on Leauge tends and it gets even sillier.

      In 2003 the NE Patriots were 14-2 so the logic here is that NE couldn’t win 10 games in 04 right?

      NE hasn’t won fewer than 10 games since 2003

      Can you image that? So what’s the trend?

      Well it doesn’t hold water with the premise does it and why not? Great Coaching.

      Great Coaching beats the mediocrity of the trend they are talking about that the middle of the pack teams (Like Miami was in 2008) find themselves in.

      We now have a good coach and I think we have broken this “Trend”

      1. The only trend I’m talking about is a teams win percentage in close games. My point is Miami is winning a huge percentage of close games, some would say an unsustainable percentage. I’m not talking about any team history, or what the schedule looked like or anything. I’m just saying if Miami wants to continue to improve from year to year they should prolly avoid so many close games. Because odds are they won’t win 80% of them every year.

        1. I typed up the first comment quickly at work so I didn’t do a good enough job explaining I am only talking about close games.

          1. @Zach

            Ok I can agree with you now! Hopefully in year two of gase’s system there will be more games like Pittsburgh where we win by two touchdowns and less games like Buffalo

            1. Not trying to be rude. But you mentioned a few times pennington was a coach he was a qb. And a damn good one at that. He got hurt then when healthy Henne took over and slid down slowly. So in desperation we put a recovered pennington back in and on the first play he got hurt again. We have suffered long enough this curse of terrible bad luck. Pennington took the offseason to recover sure to be back. Then got injured again playing basketball to the same rotator cuff during the off season. This ended his career. And the Philbin years followed.

              1. I know Pennington was a QB but he was also the clear leader of the 2008 team and was a far bigger influence over the results that year then any of the official coaches

                  1. Hey Dolphin Dave uhh Jay. How are things going on the Palm Beach Post board?

      2. Pennington was not the coach!! Sparano was but Bill Parcells was really in charge.

        1. @Jay

          No kidding guiness the point was those two idiots (Parcels and Saprano) had losing seasons before and after Pennington came in 2008 so I wrote (somewhat commicly) that Pennegton was the coach in 2008 but I will refrain from making infrances anymore since it’s obvious for you I’ll need to make it comprehendable to a 10 year old!

          Anything else in my post to comment on Jay or do you just troll through and pick some BS thing to make a rude comment on?

          1. Parcells is a HOFer, dude. Hardly an idiot like YOU ARE!

            And he engineered the biggest turnaround in NFL history in Miami. 1-15 to playoffs….IN ONE YEAR!!!

            1. @Jay

              Oh ok……. I remember Pennington coming to town and being the reason for that turnaround. I also remember us being very lucky that circumstances broke the way they did to send him to us.

              I don’t remember ANY of that due to Parcells HOF Guineas, as a matter of fact, I didn’t have my head up my @$$ like you and remember that parcels had basically retired when he took the Miami Job and our team sucked for all of his tenure with the exception of 2008.

              But now I know your head has been up your @$$ much longer than I had previously thought!

              That explains a lot!

            2. @Jay

              Here I’ll let Parcells in his own words tell you what an idiot you are!

              “In the book written in third-person by Nunyo Demasio, Parcells, the NFL’s most accomplished turnaround artist labeled his Dolphins tenure as one of his “rare failures” because he didn’t elevate the franchise to new heights.”

            3. @Jay

              Sparano, Ireland, Jake Long, Chad Henne, Pat White…… I think that I could go on all night…..

              need I say more?

  3. I believe what has helped is that the team has done a better job of coaching up the depth. In the past when a starter has went down they were done. Now they can bring in back ups and they don’t miss a beat…sound familiar? This allows them to keep winning. Who knows but if the entire team continues to improve especially with more knowledge in the system we may see a few more easier wins. This is the exact formula that the pats use and they don’t drop because the schedule looks harder do they?

    1. @Flyerfinfan

      I absolutely agree with you and I can not wait until these coaches get another off season under their belt and the players they want via free agency and the draft. It seems were in the infancy of a great culture turn around here.

  4. @ Brian M

    Don’t forget Gase is winning with Philbins players.

    BTW Matt Moore’s passer rating (113.9) is higher than Tom Brady’s, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers!!

  5. Brian (and anyone else),don’t respond and hopefully he’ll get the point.

    1. @Karma

      It’s so hard to resist he’s such an idiot most of the time. I mean anyone who watched last weeks Dolphins / Bills game and then saw the New England / jets (which Im sure Jay was watching with green face paint on) could never mistake Moore for Brady yet here is Jay making the case that Moore IS better then Brady!

      You can’t make this stuff up!

      1. Granted Moore has been playing great.

        1. I did not post this I would assume Jay posted it in my name!

          Moore played like crap the last game!

          1. We won IN SPITE of Moore last week.

      2. I know Brian. I try to resist and sadly I think be really believes the crap and lies he posts.

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