The Psychosis Of The Miami Dolphins

There’s much irony in the Miami Dolphins falling out of playoff contention by means of the Buffalo Bills because of 4 missed field goals by Dan Carpenter after all he’s done this season.  To say that Carpenter is the reason the Fins lost to the Bills is unfair.  The faulty play calling of Dan Henning once again, a poor first half by Chad Henne and a missing running game (which I said would be the key to the Dolphins winning on Sunday) are the culprits.  Losing at home again, putting the Dolphins at 1-6 this season when in Miami, is further from ironic and brings up the question of the Dolphins mental psychosis and basic mental toughness.

After years of watching the Dolphins, I started to notice game trends throughout the season in the 1990’s.   One trend was that the Dolphins couldn’t win in cold weather, ever, or late in the season.  Another trend was the Dolphins couldn’t finish out 4th quarters after holding a lead.  These trends continued over an 18-year span.  Besides the losing trend, those particular trends have since been broken.

This year the Dolphins can’t win at home but can win on the road.  On top of that, there’s the individual psyche of Henne, which is frailer than glass since he was benched a month back.  Just take a look at Henne’s stats before and after the Tennessee Titans game.  The same thing can be said for a Miami running game that has gone from first to last within seasons.  Henning’s psyche, on the other hand, is more like that of a drunken stepfather who beats his children.

Henning coaching Henne, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and an out-of-synch Miami offense, speaks louder than any numbers could suggest and is no coincidence.  The way Henning coaches his players, speaks to his players and most importantly throws his players under the bus to the media, is exposing mental frailties that all human beings possess.  Instead of building his player’s morale and mental toughness, Henning’s lack of, what seems to be human empathy for error, is causing a lack of mental toughness to win over physical and athletic toughness.  It reminds me of the Geico commercial where the drill sergeant is trying to be a therapist; clearly doesn’t work.  All these things taken into consideration have come together and formed a full-fledged organizational psyche failure on both sides of the ball.

Breaking trends for the Miami Dolphins can be difficult.  Back in the early 90’s when cold weather games couldn’t be won and blown leads were lost in the 4th quarters of games, all started to generate traction during game commentating and thereafter in the media.  Maybe it was a brief mention in passing that the Dolphins didn’t play their best ball in cold weather that started it all.  That slowly escalated into the Dolphins can’t win cold weather games period.  Same goes for the way they blew big leads for losses in the 4th.  Eventually these statistical facts got into the heads of the Dolphin players through coaches or media nonsense and caused mental erosion to their apparent frail psyches and there wasn’t a coach that could fix it because the coaches were all affected too.  It’s nothing uncommon in individual sports athletes, but it’s quite unusual when a whole organization experiences it a mental breakdown.

Frailty over the years has been a way of life for the Dolphins.  That changed when Tony Sparano, but particularly Bill Parcells, came to the organization, which has since ceased all to exist.  All of that mental toughness may have left when Parcells did.  One thing it proves is that Sparano isn’t mentally tough and neither are the players.  Maybe Sparano’s job security worries are spilling over into the locker room.  Does the Miami organization need a hype team?  I think they need a serious psychological staff on call.

At this point, it looks like Chad Henne will likely take a seat next season and Dan Henning will “retire.”  There is no certainty to whether or not Brown or Williams will remain in Miami either.  Sparano is likely to stay for at least one more year.  A curious observation to look for is if the Dolphins continue losing at home and winning on the road.  If that remains the case, you might see that trend escalate into seasons to come for the Fins.  If Henne plays at all or if Brown and Williams stay and perform beyond this years numbers, then I would point the finger at Henning for ego destabilizing.  If all trends continue, a full coaching organization sweep is likely necessary to nip this in the bud.  One trend that hasn’t been erased since the 70’s is the losing.

You can follow me for more Miami Dolphins chatter on twitter at brokenheartboy0.

Topics: Buffalo Bills, Chad Henne, Dan Henning, Miami Dolphins, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown

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  • Donnyfry

    This article is a perfect example why Mr. Ross needs to expend all resources to bring in Bill Cowher. He is more than a good coach. His players take on his attitude. He was a “bubble player” during his career, and coaches all players to play as if they may be cut at any minute. To say that this coaching staff has not been given a fair chance would be incorrect. Just look what happened to Cam Cameron. Tony Sparano may be a great O-line coach, but the fact that the O-line is probably the weakest unit on the team after 3 years shows Tony has no control of this team. If Cowher will listen to Ross, he needs to keep talking until Cowher signs. I’m sure Bill would be more than happy to keep Mike Nolan aboard, and he should be. We need a “light a fire under their seat” type of coach, and Sparano is not getting it done. If Cowher is brought in he will have a Division title within 2 seasons and the team will be a major player in the conference annually.

  • DolFan 316

    The giving up of 4th quarter leads has vanished because they didn’t do it this season??? Methinks you’re unfamiliar with the concept of sample size. They gave up the most 4th quarter points in the league in ’09 so that trend clearly didn’t vanish then.

    Here’s another trend for you–over a decade of ludicrously bad drafting.

    • Nando Casinelli

      Not that the trend has entirely vanished, but it existed more frequently between those 18 years – huge leads that were blown in the 4th quarter. If you look back at those loses, it was consistent trend. This year we didn’t have one huge lead ever so they certainly couldn’t be blown.

  • Joe Y

    I admire this blog, but we’re verging on the ridiculous here. This team is very close–very, very close–to being a playoff team. The differentiator is a matter of a few field goals in ridiculously winnable games against Cleveland and today’s Buffalo game.

    Did no one here observe Chad Henne marching this team down the field in the 4th quarter? One TD, then a first and 10 at the 30, with only a field goal needed to tie it. Three plays to get five lousy yards for a sure thing. And what does the genius Henning do? Go into the Wildcat, when the Bills KNOW we’re not going to pass. If you’re going to run anyway, at least let Henne handoff the ball so the Buffalo DB’s have to play the pass (or have Ronnie throw the ball out of the WC.)

    Then, after only gaining a yard (and lucky to do that!)Albert Einstein Henning decides he wants to go for the TD instead of the safe FG, and had Henne fading way back and Henne knowing that if he’s sacked the game is lost, so has to get the ball out quickly….OMG it’s so F-ing crazy I can’t go on…

    Over and over again Henning does this crap. In the Cleveland game to. As soon as he gets within long FG range he calls every play he can think of that has a high-percentage chance of losing yeardage. THREE times he did that in this game alone, costing us NINE POINTS. If you ever have the time to go on the NFL.com website, go through a few games to see what Henning’s play calling when we get a first down on or within five yards of the opponents 30-yard line.

    Are we a Super Bowl contender? Not yet, but we’re far close than people think. If Sparano can’t control the offense, he has to go, but better to get a decent OC, repair O-line, get a new RB, and we’re in business.

    • Brian Miller

      Joe Y, do you think that a coaching change other than the OC might be in order here? I agree with you to a degree, we are not digressing but we are not getting anything from our offense at all. To me Sparano is failing by allowing it to continue. Injuries are one thing but even when we were healthy we didn’t generate anything offensively. So would changing the HC better utilize the talent we have on the field and get us to that next level or is Sparano the guy in your opinion?

      • Brent

        Brian and the guys, think about all this. The league is fragile with coaching. Bill Cowher lives in North Carolina and if he goes anywhere t will be to the soon to be vacant Panthers job. Sparano hasn’t had a chance to put his stamp on this team. Until Bill Parcells stepped away Tony had no say in what was going on with the team. This team is close and Sparano will have his first draft buy himself. We have to give him one chance to make it right without asking Bill for permission to do something. The players love playing for him and he is hard on the players. They like that and Sparano has been good for the team and will continue to be.

  • Antonio

    honestly, I’m just tired of it. I’m tired of watching this garbage week in and week out. This year was suppose to be such a great year. We got marshal, who was a absolute flop. Parcells, who ran away from a unfinished project like a pure a-hole. Henne who has grown into NOTHING we ever wanted. Brown and williams who use to destroy defenses, but are now garbage thanks to the shittiest o line ever. Like wtf guys?! The entire world knew half way through the season dan henning is costing us every single dam game yet he’s never removed from his position. Yet they will fire our special teams coach for ONE bad week while henning has f’d up the entire season….. Great job fins. Thnx for the 6 home losses. Shout out to the defense tho! They hold it down week in and week out…. I hope we go for mcnabb during the offseason. Maybe kevin kolb. Shit, ANYBODY…. I’m a loyal fin fan but I can only take this sorry ass gameplay for so long….. Another “maybe next year” season

  • daddymack

    Please not McNabb. He’s washed up now. Can’t even start for Washington. I don’t know what the answer is at QB for this team, but Henne is not it. I won’t mention Henning because he is too obvious, but some still think Henne may be the answer? Watch a few plays just before half of yesterday’s game. Buffalo stacked the blitz on Henne’s blind side, but the guy never once looked that way before the snap. As the play developed, Marshall was wide open 10+ yards down field with maybe one guy to beat. Henne looked ONLY to the right and had to scramble. can’t remember if he did get sacked or what, but it hurt any momentum the INT gave us moments before, leaving us to try a 60+ yard FG. That is the proof that Henne does not know how to read defenses, and cannot audible if he had the chance to do so. C’mon even if Henning is telling you not to do something, and you know he is wrong, you say to yourself F*ck him, I’m doing it my way to save my a*s.

  • kenny mcgee

    if they cant get cowher, they should bring in kubiak as the oc

  • Brent

    I agree with some of your points but it goes back to who is protecting the run game and who is protecting Henne. The thought that all this is the play calling of a man that has done it in this league for 30 years and been very successful is crazy. The Passing game and lack of protection is the key to the QB been scared in the pocket. Yes, a QB has to expect to get hit but not every other play. It makes the QB like a gun shy dog. The Running backs are both good enough to run in this league and with a consistent O-line that could happen also. The Dolphins didn’t need Brandon Marshall they need tough, 16 game starters on the O-line. Every team should be built the same way for success on the field. That success ONLY goes a where the O-line and D-lines take them. Miami MUST spend every possible draft pick and free agent money on O-line help. Until that day it doesn’t matter who you put back there they will not go anywhere.