The Miami Dolphins lost by 20 at the Houston Texans. They started a rookie quarterback that had a grand total of 19 starts in college. They started a rookie right tackle that is learning a new position. They ran a new offense, and a new defense. They have a new head coach who was coaching his first ever regular season game as a head coach, at any level. They traded away their best receiver and didn’t replace him with anyone of his talent level. They played against a team that many are picking to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Despite all this, many fans were expecting more, and I can only wonder why.
This team is clearly rebuilding from the ground up. The team has to get players that fit their new schemes, and teach them how to play in it. That is going to be a lengthy process. The team is also going young and building for the future, free agents over 26 years old aren’t going to be signed. Veteran players that have been borderline starters are going to be replaced by younger players who may have more upside. Lower your expectations and realize this process is going to be filled with frustrating moments, plays, and games.
It didn’t take long for the fan base to call for Ireland’s head on a platter again. It didn’t take long for judgements to be made about Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill. This team is horrible, we have wasted another year in the rebuilding process and filled the roster with young guys that can’t play instead of making a move for a big name player either through a trade or free agency. Believe me, I understand the frustration, I have been a fan of the Miami Dolphins since I can remember. I have seen this team win a Super Bowl, I’m longing for a title as much as the next guy. I want to see a winner too, but I realize that it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
When Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland decided to get rid of Tony Sparano and hire Joe Philbin, a change in philosophy and culture was made. The players that fit that philosophy just don’t fit this one. Ground and pound football is being replaced with a complex system that relies on timing and mismatches. Player are no longer judged on if they fit the prototype size and mentality like they were under Parcells. The players are being judged on different qualities than they were before, that’s why most don’t fit and you are seeing a lot of roster turnover.
There is one thing that was very telling to me when Philbin was hired, and it’s becomming more and more evident that the direction of this team was explained when Philbin was hired, most of what has happened since then should be much of a surprise. This team was going to be built through the draft. It was going to be developed through coaching and teaching. This team was going to be built for the long haul.
Those things seemed to go unnoticed by most. Now it’s evident why very many big name free agents weren’t signed. It’s evident now why no one from Green Bay came to Miami. That happened with the last regime remember? Dallas Cowboys East worked good for 1 season, and that was because Chad Pennington became available and was able to stay healthy for 1 season. That plan wasn’t going to work long term, and I think Parcells and Ireland knew that. However, Ireland couldn’t do anything about it until Parcells left. Parcells left the team once he knew the future wasn’t pretty with the roster.
Say what you will, but this staff and front office knows this is going to be a rebuilding year. Winning isn’t expected, IMPROVEMENT is. Compare how this team looks in week 10 compared to week 1. See how the young players are developing, then make judgements. See how the team used their 10 draft picks during the 2013 draft, then make judgements. See how the team spends the nearly $40 million in cap space next offseason, then make judgements.