There are times when I’ll have a thought (rare as it may be), and I’ll start to think of ways to articulate it in this space. I’ll go through a couple of options, figure out what I want to say, then begin writing. Other times, I’ll have an idea, then see a fellow reporter describe exactly what was going through my head probably better than I could.
That was the case this morning with this column by Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He begins discussing the fact that the Miami Dolphins home opener won’t be a sellout (amazing), and then morphs into a few other points. The most salient of which is this, noted “to give the new coach and the new quarterback some time to get their feet under them,” Hyde wrote.
“This team is rebuilding.”
Yes. Thank you. The Dolphins are rebuilding. It’s about time somebody said it. It’s time the team said it, is honest about it, and approached it head on. It’s important for the fans to know, the city to know, talk radio to know… and for the players and coaches to know. The Dolphins will be bad this year, quite bad. Admitting you are in a rebuilding phase does some important things for some important people.
Coach Joe Philbin was put in a difficult situation. Hired for a plum job in the NFL, yes. But given little talent. No receivers, a rookie quarterback who is talented but not quite ready, an offensive line that struggles and a skilled but non-traditional back in Reggie Bush. The goal, always, is to win as soon as possible, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Informing the public they are rebuilding — building for the future, not this year — will ease the burden off Philbin. If it comes down to it, perhaps he’ll avoid short-sighted decisions to grab an extra win. He’ll think for the future.
For Tannehill, the pressure will be immense. He’ll get hit a lot, it’ll be ugly, and he’ll be the posterchild for the franchise’s losing. That’s how it is with QBs. Being up-front about where you are as a franchise will make life easier for him. First of all, it’ll mean you don’t need to play him all the time. Wins this year aren’t essential, so allowing him to watch some may help his development. Matt Moore isn’t a guy you can really win with, but he’s totally average and mediocre. Since you are rebuilding anyway, give Moore some starts midseason to allow Tannehill to breathe and maybe things will slow down.
For the fans, the obvious admission will put into perspective what they’ve been watching, anyway. Fans aren’t dumb. They know this team isn’t good. Shoot, they’ve seen Hard Knocks, and it was obvious there. Will that put butts in the seats? I don’t know. But believing the team is bad now and there isn’t much hope for the future hasn’t worked. Maybe admitting that eyes are on the future will. At the least, a franchise that is now being transparent needs to be in this sense.
The signs are obvious. A rookie QB who isn’t quite ready is starting. Vontae Davis, a talented but inconsistent corner, was traded for draft picks. GM Jeff Ireland’s refusal to go find a veteran receiver, choosing to groom your own after the Chad Johnson failure. It all points to one thing — rebuilding. The fact that they are young helps that, too. They should only get younger.
It’s time for the Dolphins to be honest about where they are. At least their season will make sense.