The Miami Dolphins will play the Baltimore Ravens today in about two hours. Both teams are 4-7. What exactly are the Dolphins playing for?
With the post-season nothing more than a mathematical anamoly, the Dolphins will take the field looking to get out of the 2015 season. An enormous forgettable blunder for a team celebrating 50 years of football.
So with nothing to play for but mathematical probabilities, what are the Dolphins playing for, exactly?
The Dolphins players or most of them have said they want Dan Campbell back next year but they have hardly shown a willingness to play above and beyond for him. Miami has been flat or flattened since their late October win over the Texans. Miami is 3-4 since Campbell took over. Two of those wins came against the Texans and Titans when the Texans had yet to decide to play this year. The other game came against Philadelphia and required a big comeback. Not exactly a glowing show from a team that says they want to play for his return.
At some point losing takes a toll. It has in Miami and players are growing tired of the same old same. At some point, pride in yourself has to take over. It has for Ndamukong Suh who has taken ownership of the defense. Other players need to do the same. Pride can win you games and can be enough to mentally prepare a person to play. It takes an all around effort though and when not everyone is playing the same way, it will eventually degrade a team further.
O.k. so the Dolphins are not playing to lose to increase their draft positioning. If only a team could and not be chasticized for it. I’m not sure I would. The only difference between 6-10 and 10-6 is about 10 draft slots maybe more. The point is that while fans may start hoping for draft positioning, players won’t.
This is a very real situation for many players in the NFL. The season is lost and it’s a matter of getting to the end of it without getting hurt in the process. This is extremely important to players with impending free agency. An injury now when the season is lost, can cost a player millions and possibly their careers. It has to be in the backs of many players’ minds who are looking to escape Miami for the hopes of a greener pasteur somewhere else. Unfortunately when players start to play not to get hurt, they tend to get hurt.