Miami Dolphins fans are throwing in the towel on the 2016 season. The reality is that towel should have stayed tucked into their pockets even before the season began.
Unlike the last few years, the 2016 off-season didn’t bring in the talent necessary to infuse the roster with playmakers. Someone in the organization finally realized that overspending on high ticketed items like Ndamukong Suh does not guarantee winning.
Miami’s problems however did start in the off-season. Miami opted to let Lamar Miller walk into free agency in the hopes of handing the starting job to Jay Ajayi. The problem was Ajayi isn’t ready to be an NFL starter and the bigger issue of the offensive line limits Ajayi’s abilities.
The Dolphins realized that they had a running back issue. They tried unsuccessfully to add C.J. Anderson to the roster offering a contract easily matched by the Broncos. Knowing they had no other options, Miami signed Arian Foster.
Defensively the Dolphins additions were to replace the teams own subtraction instead of fixing known issues. Miami personnel executives swapped Olivier Vernon and his huge contract for Mario Williams. They replaced Brent Grimes with Byron Maxwell and his large contract.
Both moves did nothing to address the depth problems and still left holes at various positions. While the trade for Kiko Alonso made sense and helped a unsturdy linebacking group, the Dolphins did nothing to address the two outside spots which have struggled over the last several years.
The Dolphins obviously hoped that by adding Alonso the defensive line unit would be better as a result. It has not. The Dolphins made no changes to a defensive front that was spent most of the 2015 season in the bottom half of the league.
Miami did add some veteran defensive ends and that allowed them to move Cameron Wake to a pass rush specialist role. It has not proven successful. The Dolphins defensive ends are not creating the mismatches on the offensive edge and the installment of the wide-nine which was supposed to help the edge rushers get to the quarterback has not been successful. At all.
Back on the offensive side of the ball many had high hopes that Adam Gase would turn around Ryan Tannehill. Apparently so did the personnel decision makers because outside of drafting Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins brass must have felt very good about their offensive line.
In fact the only new addition at the start of the season was Tunsil. Jermon Bushrod was supposed to add depth and nothing more but Bushrod has had to play as a starter because the Dolphins, who believed in Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner are sitting red-faced after their recent release.
This is the same offensive unit from a season ago. A unit that had serious problems then too. And the year before but the Dolphins still entered the season thinking the talent was there and not the coaching.
While injuries have also played a huge role in the offensive line struggles, when the unit was healthy they were not coming close to what many had predicted.
Looking back at this past off-season it’s hard to believe that any excitement should be elicited by the moves that were made. The biggest off-season acquisition was Adam Gase and he too is struggling to find answers with a team that is seriously devoid of starting and depth talent at several positions.
What makes this all the more perplexing is that there is no easy answer to fix the problem and while many believe that Mike Tannenbaum is not the answer, he is the one calling the shots and likely will continue calling those shots.
The Dolphins seem much further from turning the franchise around than they appeared to be four years ago. Once again, bad off-season decisions or the lack of any real plan during the off-season has sunk another season before it really got started.
Expectations should not have been high for this year but the Dolphins shouldn’t have been this bad either. While many believed this season would be exactly what it is, what’s more discouraging than anything else is that there appears to be no real plan for the team’s future.