It is a hard thing for NFL owners, coaches, players, and even fans to admit. It is also a reality the Miami Dolphins are facing. This is not the year. Next year probably won’t be either. Like it or not, the Dolphins are “rebuilding.” They need to face that fact and approach the upcoming NFL draft and 2012 season accordingly. No “quick fix” future hall of fame quarterback has signed on. The only true play maker at wide receiver is gone. Defensive fixtures have gotten a year older. It’s time to face reality and use 2012 to build for the future. Here are one man’s suggestions:
Find a Star. I don’t mean a “star player.” The Dolphins arguably have a few of those. Reggie Bush can be electric and was surprisingly durable and productive last season. Cameron Wake is an explosive pass rusher. Jake Long is as one of the top two or three left tackles in the league. I mean a “star” in the sense that the sun is a star. The Dolphins need someone, or something, that the “whole thing” revolves around. The Steelers and Ravens have their defense. The Patriots have a hall of fame quarterback-coach combination. Even the Jets have their soap opera identity. Truly great teams have someone or something that immediately pops into your mind when you think of them. Patriots…Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Steelers/Ravens….black and blue defense. Quick—what do you think of when someone says “Dolphins”? There’s no clear answer. There needs to be one.
Find a Quarterback. No kidding right? This has been on the list since Dan Marino called it a career in 2000. But have the Dolphins really made the effort to truly find a quarterback, or have they just gone out and gotten a guy they hoped might be the guy? Is Matt Moore capable of leading the Dolphins to a Super Bowl? If the Dolphin brass thinks so, by all means give him the chance. If they don’t think so (I don’t), don’t waste precious practice and game repetitions to try and go from being a 6 win team to being an 8 or 9 win team with Moore under center. Sign a talented guy who has not yet, but still might, have the light go on. Vince Young? Matt Leinart? Add your quarterback of choice from the draft. Maybe Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill in round one, maybe another guy in round two of three. Then let them all have a chance. Don’t stop until you find a quarterback who can legitimately be “the guy.” As soon as one guy proves he can’t be the guy, move on.
Be Patient. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has already asked fans to be patient. What he meant by it was to forgive him for not building a winner faster and for striking out on almost every conceivable manner this off season. Still, if the Dolphins are truly going to win, and win big, they have to be patient. They must hang on to draft picks like they are gold (they are), and acquire more when possible. Don’t reach—if Tannehill is not the guy, pass on him. Make every pick count by adding talented contributors. When you are weak everywhere, you have the advantage of being able to take the proverbial “best player available.” The Dolphins should set the draft board for value, then stick to it like Gospel. If the opportunity to trade down for value presents itself, take it.
The Dolphins are more than a “tweak” away from contention. It’s time to recognize that, and build accordingly.