Miami Dolphins: Growing Pains

I have never been a fan of moral victories. As Herm Edwards(who I love) once said:

“You play to win the game!”

Even in a hard-fought game like the Miami Dolphins played against the Seattle Seahawks that moral victory ring hollow. I know they are tough to beat at CenturyLink Field. I understand they were favored by, what, ten points. Losing a close game 12-10 just tells me that we should have won. The Dolphins let them up off the mat.

Mistakes were made. An incredibly bad drop by Kenny Stills. A blocked field goal. Ill-timed penalties. You simply cannot have that on the road against a team like the Seahawks.

That is not to say there are not positives to take from a close loss. There are always things to learn from.

We learned that at least for one game this Dolphins team is not going to be bullied by physical teams.

We learned that the secondary is not the horrible black hole of sucking some fans feared it would be. In fact I thought rookie Xavian Howard looked very good in his first game(especially considering he missed most of the preseason).

We learned that first time head coach Adam Gase has some stones. While some criticized his going for it on fourth and one instead of kicking the field goal I applaud him for it. That is the kind of playcall that changes a teams culture. And next time(and there will be a next time) they will get that first down.

There will be growing pains, there always are. But these first tentative steps were promising.

Now the hard part. Going cross-country to face the Patriots in Foxboro. Things do not get any easier. Time to see what they learned.

Time to grow.




Miami Dolphins: Replacing ‘The Don’

Every team, when around long enough, has its legends. Those members of it history without which you could not tell the story of the franchise. Their names are spoken with a sense of reverence.

These men, they cast pretty big shadows.

Every single time a linebacker wanders into the Miami Dolphins training camp the questions come. Is this the next Zach? This speaks to the desire for the overachieving, undersized giant of a man Zach Thomas was for years down in south Florida. Drafted in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft he was an instant fan favorite. Even though the Dolphins have a long history of impressive linebackers Zach’s star shined a little bit brighter.

‘The greatest pure passer in the history of the game’. That is how I describe one Dan Marino. Honestly I do not think that title will be taken any time soon. With a flick of the wrist Marino rewrote the record books in a time when you could actually hit the quarterback, never mind mugging the wide receivers. Ryan Tannehill is the latest quarterback to try and fill his shoes. I do not think anyone could ever replace him.

Then you come to ‘The Don’. Don Shula’s shadow is the longest. As it should be. Winningest coach in NFL history. Perfect season. He won games with a staunch defense, power running and a conservative passing game. Then he turned around and won on the golden arm of Marino.

Bum Phillips once said of Shula, “He can take his’n and beat your’n and take your’n and beat his’n.”

So once again the Dolphins looked to find a new coach, more importantly they looked to find the next ‘Don’.

On January 9th, 2015 the Dolphins made Adam Gase their new head coach. Last season he was the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.

Adam Gase will never be Don Shula. That is asking far too much. If he won ten games a season he would need 35 years to break Shula’s NFL record 347 wins.

What Gase can be is very good. While he only has 3 years experience as a coordinator he has an extraordinary amount of experience for a 37-yr old. He started his career as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban. Thing is Saban was not the coach at Alabama at the time, he was not coaching LSU either. He was an assistant for Saban way back in Michigan State. Gase was also the only assistant Saban took with him to his next stop. Gase has impressed at every stop of the way. He has called plays, developed quarterbacks and worked with some of the best in the league(Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler).

His first job in Miami will be figuring out whether Ryan Tannehill should be the quarterback going forward.

He is not the ‘Don’ but I believe he is up to the task.