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Dissension More Likely To Mold Future

Mutiny Shirt - Flagline.comThe Miami Dolphins have a problem.  No it is not the fact that they have filled the win column with exactly zero this year.  No, it is not the fact that they have a one year head coach who could be replaced at the conclusion of this year.  It’s Dissension.  Whereas a mutiny effects the now, it is dissension that is more likely to mold the immediate future of this franchise. 

Do you sit at home and laugh each year at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?  Laugh at the humiliation of their 0-14 season?  Each year.  Or do you only think about it when the likes of ESPN and the other media gurus’ bring it up?  More likely the latter.  0-16 is horrible by any means imaginable, but it is not the end of the world, and it really isn’t even rock bottom.

The Miami Dolphins problem is that there is now so much infighting amongst the team that if they were to pull  off one victory in their last 3 games, that, in and of itself would be a miracle. 

Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas have been the vocal and performance leaders on this team for 10 and 11 years respectively.  Yet when you talk to Zach, he speaks of coming back next year against the wishes of his wife who wants him to retire.  “I like it here“, he says.  Yet if you listen to Jason Taylor, the signs point precariously toward retirement or another NFL team if Cam Cameron is still around. 

Perhaps it is easier to be jovial when losing when your on IR or injured then if you were actually on the field playing.  When ZT was informed of the decision to place him on IR, he was professionally upset, he was angry, he was disappointed, he is a competitor.  How did he respond?  He told the coach that he had to be involved somehow with this team, his team, he left the room and came back in a Miami Dolphins Polo and whistle around his neck claiming to be a new assistant head coach.  That is leadership.  More importantly, that is professionalism.

I love Jason Taylor, and to this day I can say I jumped up and down the day we drafted him.  Now, although I can not fathom JT playing for someone else, it may be time to let him go.

As the dissension grows in the locker room toward chaos, Cameron has to find a way to right a ship that has already sunk.  New information out of Miami says that a player lobby may have been the reason for Cleo Lemon to be named starter in place of rookie John Beck, who for now, is the future of the team.

The problem is that John Beck needs time, and unfortunately his confidence has to be a little rattled, now, his own teammates are rallying around a guy who fumbled 4 times and threw two interceptions.  The team is split on who should be the quarterback and that will do nothing for this team next year when John Beck way before Cleo Lemon will line up to compete for the starters job next year.  This all boils down to “Best chance to win now” to quote Cameron.  The players finally believe that or rather they want that.  Instead of “playing” like a team and acting like a team, “best chance” is better than “no chance”.

As Monday mornings and Sunday afternoons have been replaced with joy over a victory with sound bites from disgruntled players and fans, you have to wonder what system it is that Cameron is trying to instill over there.  If you ask JT, it’s “team first“.  Apparently, that is a bad thing because he doesn’t seem to buy into it.

The worst part of dissension is that it filters through all faculties.  The coach, the GM, the assistant coaches, the players, the trainers, the owner, the office staff, and even secretaries.  Everyone has to be loyal to someone. 

Not all players are likely against Cameron, but none will step out and voice their opinions as that will only alienate the locker room further, so they bite their tongues or talk around the question.  There are some who do support the coach, we can not name names as they don’t openly do so, but as rumors fly as to what this player said negatively and this guy cursed out the coach, then someone is saying something…off the record.

Why is that on Sundays, you see LB Channing Crowder taking over the leadership role?  Because he wants it.  He drives for it.  Where he stands on the Cameron wagon is unknown, perhaps as a leader he knows to keep his opinions to himself.  He will be the next leader on the defense, if for no other reason than the fact he is taking it on.  That is not to say that JT is not anymore, but JT will not be in Miami 3 or 4 years from now at best.  At worst, his last game in Miami will be played against the Bengals in week 17.  Miami will need new leadership.

As it appears, the longer veterans are leading the charge, you of course immediately get pointed in the direction of Jason Taylor.  He is the active leader of the team.  His voice is the first heard in the post-game comments and as such, he is likely to be the one most misquoted.  Jason Taylor has earned the right to open his mouth, the question is should he?  That of course is a matter of opinion.

According to one report out of Miami, the ire toward Cam Cameron began back in training camp when Daunte Culpepper was released.  The surrounding treatment of Cpepp in the eyes of JT was wrong and that put JT on a collision course.  It was JT who had this to say over the choice of Cameron to bring in Trent Green:  “One more hit and his brain will be scrambled eggs.”  JT back backpedaled a little on the comment, but never fully explained his remarks or said they were taken out of context.  Comments that early on showed the signs of what was to come.

That has boiled over to verbal sparring over where the pre-game walk throughs are conducted, Taylor reportedly was swearing at the HC over not conducting them in the practice bubble like Nick Saban.  JT, who publicly liked Nick Saban, has said that Cameron has not made an effort to connect personally with him, taking a team first approach as mentioned earlier.

Jason Taylor by far is the sole person to blame for this debacle of a season, nor is Cam Cameron, or any other single player or member of the Miami Dolphins.  Bad decisions on the field, off the field, poor play, injuries, weather, bad breaks, worse luck, a butterfly in central Africa…everything and everyone can be blamed for this mess.  It is still a mess.

Next year likely will not bring brighter days and most fans will agree that under Cameron a 4 win season would be a success….if a change is made, that new coach depending on the level of his pedigree, may have more expected from him, or a hall pass for worse. 

The dissension that cripples this locker room and team will last further than one off-season.  Some players will face retirement questions, Taylor, Thomas, and Traylor.  Some will be free agents and may refuse to stay while other free agents may heed the advice of the internal strife and go elsewhere.  This is not a 3 game problem, this is an off-season that will fill more episodes of a day time soap opera than anyone cares to watch.  It is far from over.

How it is fixed is another problem.  So as we prepare to listen to Keith Traylor say yet again, “there are guys who are out here playing for reasons other than winning a football game”, I leave you today with a quote from the open mouthed Joey Porter as said on a Pittsburgh radio show, “The only day the players (Miami Dolphins) look forward to is Tuesdays.  It’s our day off and we get paid!”  Dissension?  Not in Miami.

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Tags: Cleo Lemon Jason Taylor John Beck Miami Dolphins Zach Thomas

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