It feels like a lifetime ago, but I think it was just 2003 when I walked into a Los Angeles sports bar and sat next to a bitter guy in a Dan Marino jersey to watch the Miami Dolphins game. He was bitching and moaning every chance he had about how much he hated the Dolphins quarterback, Jay Fiedler, and the coach, Dave Wannstedt. His hatred for them was so absolute, I had to ask, “If you don’t like the coach or the quarterback, then why are you rooting for the team?”
He couldn’t come up with a good answer.
Now a dozen years later I am the bitter man in the Dan Marino jersey without a good reason for why I should be rooting for the Dolphins every Sunday except for out of a sense of habit, and maybe a dose of self-hatred. We are now entering year four of the failed Ryan Tannehill/Joe Philbin experiment with no end in sight. Both the quarterback Tannehill and the coach Philbin have this past year been granted contract extensions, without a single winning season in their three forgettable years together.
If I’m forced to say something nice about quarterback Ryan Tannehill, it’s that he is tough. No matter how hard he gets hit he always gets back up for the next play. Unfortunately that next play is most likely a three yard pass when the Dolphins are eight yards away from a first down. You could blame coach Joe Philbin for his unimaginative play calling (a short screen pass followed by another short screen pass), but the times he would ask Tannehill to throw deep, the ball would end up far from the receiver’s grasp.
The only thing that gives idiots like me hope for the Dolphins to have a winning record this upcoming season for the first time since 2008 is the schedule. It’s as forgiving as you could hope for. Of the 16 games the Dolphins play, only five are against teams that made the playoffs last year, and four of those games are at home where theoretically the Dolphins should have more hope (though Dolphins owner Stephen Ross continues to ignore that by begging the league not to give the Dolphins early afternoon games, he kills Miami’s home field advantage where the South Florida heat has traditionally slowed down opponents not used to Florida’s oppressive humidity). Most positive about the schedule for the Dolphins is after November 29 in New York there are no cold weather games where for the last few years Dolphins playoff dreams have frozen into ice cube shaped tears.
But looking at the lack of talent on the Dolphin’s coaching staff and offense, it looks like more December tears are in our horizon. While our defense anchored by the addition of Ndamukong Suh should be powerful enough to keep the Dolphins respectable, there are no threats on offense in an era where teams are scoring a historic number of points.
Which leads to my prediction of 7 wins and 9 losses.
I can only imagine how angry that Los Angeles fan of the Dolphins is right now. With each passing year of Stephen Ross’s reign as owner those Jay Fiedler/Dave Wannstedt Dolphins teams feel like the glory years.