A six game winning streak was enough to light a fire under a lot of Miami Dolphins fans. Phin-fever has been running higher than it has since 2008. The question is was Baltimore a misstep or the real Dolphins?
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Good teams can overcome injuries but last weekend the Dolphins were not able to overcome their banged up players. This week the team will still have several players out of the lineup including starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins and center Mike Pouncey.
What Adam Gase needs this week is a statement game. A win in Miami that says we have made the turn and are heading in the right direction. A game statement that says the six game winning streak wasn’t a fluke against bad teams.
Arizona is not a bad team. Despite their poor record, many believed that the Cardinals would be pushing for a Super Bowl this year instead of slumbering through 16 weeks of disappointments. Make no mistake though, this is a team who can score points and a defensive unit that is ranked in the top five of the league.
The Dolphins get to play at home but more importantly the Dolphins need to play like they were talking during that six game streak. “The next man up” mentality that was so easy to say was not so easy to do in Baltimore. And so we don’t forget, the Dolphins needed come from behind wins against the Chargers, Rams, and hold off the 49’ers late in the 4th for three of those six wins.
Miami doesn’t lack talent but they do lack depth and that has been a problem for years. Gase and his coaching staff are working with what they have but inexperience will eventually take a toll. The question is when and how bad.
Overall any fan should be excited about this season considering that many believed the Dolphins would only win four or five games at the most. A six game winning streak even against average and poor teams is still impressive. It’s more impressive when the team doing it is over-achieving.
Now the real work begins. It was easy to get players motivated when the feeling of winning is so sweet on the tongue but losing should be a bitter pill and it’s one the players should be souring on. The last time the Dolphins got beat that bad was against Tennessee and they responded with a six game winning streak.
They will need to win one before they can win two.
More important than a victory however is the quality of play on the field. Changes are in store this off-season and while Miami is still looking at a post-season possibility, evaluations for next season are already taking place.
Perhaps statement game is the wrong term to use in the end. Maybe showing up to play and playing like they want it would be enough. The season is on the line for Miami and for the second time we will get a better idea of who and what Adam Gase is as a head coach.