The Miami Dolphins played the best game they have played in two seasons. A ten loss streak, the longest in the NFL was put to an end. It dated back to the final weeks of the 2010 season. They did in in high fashion and in all three areas of the game. Defense kept the Kansas City Chiefs to three points while the offense, led by Matt Moore who posted a 147 QB rating exploded for 31 points and at times appeared to be able to move the ball at will. Most surprising was their use of the TE position, something Dolphins fans haven’t seen in a very long time.
And yet, fans apparently all bubbly over the victory. You can thank a man named Andrew Luck for that.
It’s obvious, mores so today, that good QB play wins football games. Moore didn’t play like Moore yesterday, he played like a savvy veteran. He made quick reads and used his legs to get out of what little trouble he was in. Something he can thank his offensive line for. That QB rating was the highest since Marino’s rookie year and he only did it one time. Alas, fans realize that Moore is not the future of this franchise. He is too erratic and while it was promising to see the teams future back-up play well, the reality still exists. The Miami Dolphins need a franchise QB so that games like yesterday’s are the norm and not the exception.
I was all set this morning to talk about the great play of Charles Clay and how just maybe Jeff Ireland hit a homer with this kid. I was ready to toss accolades to Karlos Dansby for taking on the role of leader of that defense and Brandon Marshall for remembering how to catch. The list goes on, Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano, Marc Columbo, Jake Long, on and on and on again. It was that kind of total team effort. Then I cam across a poll on the Palm Beach Post that took me by surprise.
39% of those responding said “Damnit, we blew our chances for Luck”. And that’s when I realized that Miami Dolphins fans want so much more from this team than 1 win out of 8 tries. We will conduct our own poll on page two and ask you the same question the PBP did. You can check out their poll here.
16 quarterbacks have started behind center for the Miami Dolphins since Dan Marino retired. Some bigger names that come with serious head shaking. Like Jamar Fletcher over Drew Brees which is mentionable because the second go around it was a 2nd round pick and Dante’ Culpepper over Drew Brews. Remember the high 2nd rounder for A.J. Feely who is backing up Sam Bradford in St. Louis today? The oft concussed Trent Green and who could forget the Pat White pick. You could point to Dave Wannstedt but he only used one draft pick in his entire tenure on a QB. A 6th rounder on Josh Heuple. It’s no wonder that Dolphins fans are so stressed about finding a QB.
Yesterday proved that a good QB, as I stated above makes the difference. If yesterdays game doesn’t make you buy into that notion, then take a look at the team leading the “Suck for Luck” brigade. The Indianapolis Colts who were playoff contenders prior to the season until they lost Peyton Manning. Secretly many fans are likely thinking, “o.k. we got our one win, we won’t be the second team to finish a season winless. Now let’s lose out”. It’s not going to happen. This team found themselves yesterday and they will build upon it.
Forget about a mid-season coaching change, not going to happen. With Washington and John Beck, a name I left off the above list of former starters, presents a big opportunity to turn one win into two wins. Buffalo comes to town the following week and those games can always go either way. The Raiders are also making a trip to Miami. Suddenly, the Dolphins could find themselves picking around 10 to 15.
It’s easy to look at Andrew Luck as the savior. No one in the college ranks has had this much buzz about him since Manning himself came out for the draft. He has the pedigree, the lineage, he has the big time school who runs an NFL style offense. He is a leader and he calls his own plays most of the time. He shoulders his team and doesn’t quit. He also hasn’t officially declared for the draft and rumors still run rampant that he could hold the team with the first pick hostage for a trade to where he wants to go. So yes, the Dolphins could have ended with the number 1 overall and still had no “Luck”.
Which is why now, that the Dolphins have slid a bit on that “Suck for Luck” scale other names will pop up. Matt Barkely who isn’t as seasoned as Luck plays very good football and almost beat Stanford two weeks ago on his shoulders. Landry Jones who led his Oklahoma St. team to a big victory of rival Texas A&M last weekend. Some may view them as concellation prizes but the top guy isn’t always the best NFL player. The good news for Miami fans wanting a big time first round drafted QB is this. Barkley and Jones should be there for Miami in the top of the draft.
Consider that it’s unlikely Indy would take either QB if they hold the number 1 pick and Luck doesn’t declare for the draft. St. Louis would likely not target one of them over Sam Bradford. The same could be said for Arizona taking one of them over Kevin Kolb who they invested so much in. Denver would likely take one for sure but they have three wins as does Washington. Jacksonville invested high last year in Blaine Gabbert so they are out of the picture leaving Minnesota who is now starting their rookie Christian Ponder and Seattle who desperately needs a QB as well.
So the math is there. Luck is the prize that everyone who lands near the top will covet but not everyone will need to invest so highly in Barkley or Jones. It’s not a bad position to be in for the Dolphins. Furthermore, there will be a lot less stress on one of the other two not names Luck to succeed immediately. The fact that the Palm Beach Post poll favors the “Damn we lose Luck” option by 9% over “it’s about time” is more indicative of the frustrations Miami Dolphins fans have felt for the better part of 15 years. They want to see change. Real change. Change that brings in a new attitude, drive, desire, and yes, a new franchise QB that is pulled off the top of the list and not the bottom or middle.
A win was great but it doesn’t cure the last 15 years of having also rans and never were’s running the offense. It doesn’t instill confidence that once again the Dolphins could miss out on a top QB simply because they win a few extra games. It’s funny, I always have maintained that unless you are competing for a playoff birth at the end of the season, the only difference between missing the playoffs and the first pick in the draft is about 20 draft slots. Meaning unless you are fighting for a playoff spot in week 17 finishing eliminated weeks before instead, you’re better off having that top pick and getting the cream instead of what’s left.
Over the last few weeks I have been asked whether or not I was on that “Suck for Luck” train. My assertion has been this. I can not root against the Dolphins or root for them to lose, but under no circumstance will I root for them to win when they don’t play like they care. For 7 weeks this team played like they didn’t care so I was indifferent to them losing. I would rather them lose and get in line for the top pick then win by three in a game that the other team simply sucked more in. Yesterday it was really easy to cheer on the Dolphins because not one of those players played with anything less than a complete desire to win. It could have been a tough game, it wasn’t. I hope we see more of that from them this year.
Earlier I said we would host our own poll using the same vernacular as the the Palm Beach Post. So here you go. ”What are you’re feelings on the Dolphins win?”