Should the Dolphins rebuild?

Jan 9, 2016; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins executive vice president football operations Mike Tannenbaum addresses reporters during a press conference at Doctors Hospital Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins executive vice president football operations Mike Tannenbaum addresses reporters during a press conference at Doctors Hospital Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Dolphins finish the first quarter of the season with a record of 1-3, the annual question is again asked: “Should the team rebuild?”


Don’t Rebuild!!!

Fire him!!!!

Keep him!!!

It’s his fault!!!

He just needs more help!!!

The annual chorus of Dolphins fans begins again, this time in the fourth week of the season.  Perhaps we can petition the government to institute an annual floating holiday, where we get to stay home from work, and wallow in the misery of being a Dolphins fan.  We can call it “Rebuilding Debate Day”.

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I recommend that Rebuilding Debate Day be held on the Monday following the Dolphins prime time game of the year.  Why, you may ask? Because when the Dolphins play in prime time, they invariably play terribly in front of all your friends, families and coworkers.  And then those people text, call, and email you to ask if you’re ok.  And when you say yes, then they ask you why you continue to be a fan of the team.  And you don’t have a good answer.  You mumble something about Marino or the colors.

When the Dolphins play in prime time, there are a multitude of high definition cameras and sound machines evidencing how far away the team is from contention.  The fancy national announcers tsk tsk into the microphone about the questionable play calling / discipline / talent level on display by the Dolphins.  The other team’s star puts up gaudy numbers, while Miami plays as if they didn’t know about double teaming or scheming against the opposition’s strength.

Why are you still a fan?


I spent the entire Sunday afternoon watching other teams play.  I switched between Jets-Seahawks, Denver-Tampa, and Dallas-San Fran, and ended the evening with some of the Pittsburgh-Chiefs game.  I heard about the Julio Jones monster game – 300 hundred yards receiving??? Wow. And I noticed a few things during those games that I don’t recall seeing when the Dolphins play.

Where is the Dolphins short running game package?  As far as I could tell, those other teams all had a big body running back and a fullback or blocking tight end for 3rd and 1.  It’s been years since I’ve seen the Dolphins have a short yardage power package.  Has it been since Lousaka Polite was on the team?

Who is the Dolphins heart and soul?  The other teams all have a guy that the announcers say fires up the team and sets the tone.  Even the 49’ers, who have lost a ton of players over the past couple of years, have guys like Navorro Bowman, Joe Staley, and Jeremy Kerley, who are out there pushing the pace and getting fired up.  In the Dallas game, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot went out to the defensive huddle to help fire up his guys on one of the last drives of the game.  Besides Jarvis Landry, does anyone on the Dolphins team ever seem stoked? For all the talk of this being a team of “alphas”, whatever that is supposed to mean, there doesn’t seem to be much passion on the squad.

Who is the Dolphins playmaker? Every other team has a guy, on offense and on defense, that is the focus of the scheme.  Obviously guys like Antonio Brown and Von Miller are amazingly talented on their own, but they also benefit from schemes that focus on freeing them up.  Other teams are stubborn in getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers.  The Jets were insistent on getting the ball to Brandon Marshall, even with Richard Sherman covering him.  And even in defeat, the Jets went out on their own terms.  They didn’t let the other team dictate their strategy.  Do the Dolphins make an effort to free up Ndamukong Suh?  Does Miami force the ball to Devante Parker? Not really, the team just takes what the other side gives, so they end up with mediocre results.  The Dolphins play close to the vest, as if embarrassed to give their all.

Are the Dolphins all about football? You can’t watch a guy like Trevor Siemian, Kam Chancellor, Dez  Bryant, or  Vontaze Burfict, and doubt that they are all about that action.  Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby, James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Peters, all guys who are out there, fighting through the injuries, and making plays.  The Dolphins play with a lack of physicality that is very noticeable.  Our guys get pushed around, and shoved after the whistle, and they don’t push back.  Ryan Tannehill gets his clock cleaned, and his linemen barely bother to pick him off the turf, let alone clobber the defensive player.  When opposing teams get rough with Big Ben, Dak Prescott, or Russell Wilson, you generally see a teammate or three join the scuffle.  Not so with the Dolphins.  Last year, interim head coach Dan Campbell was intent on toughening the team up, even instituting “Oklahoma drills”, but even that didn’t work for long.

Are the Dolphins honest with themselves?  Did they really think that they traded their first round draft pick for 3 starters?  Do they really think that their sports science department is so much better than other team’s trainers that they could afford to sign so many guys with injury histories? Does the head coach take any responsibility for the defense, or is he only focused on the offense and the quarterback?  Has the team ever replaced Brandon Marshall, Sean Smith, Vontae Davis, Karlos Dansby, Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller, and Charles Clay? Do Mario Williams, Cam Wake, Koa Misi, Branden Albert, and Jordan Cameron have anything left?

Can you afford to have your top paid players be Suh, Tannehill, Albert, Mike Pouncey, Wake, Byron Maxwell, Reshad Jones, Cameron, Williams and Misi; does that look like the foundation of a championship roster?

According to Webster’s dictionary, to “rebuild” means to build something again after it has been damaged or destroyed.  The Dolphins roster has clearly been damaged and destroyed.  Injuries, poor roster management, and terrible player development have been a major cause of that.  The question is whether the organization has the necessary management skills to handle the rebuilding.  And whether there are any players on this roster worth keeping.

There are more questions at this point than answers.

But luckily, today is Rebuilding Debate Day!