The Miami Dolphins are not tanking, they are rebuilding

The Miami Dolphins team is taking shots from around the league and the coaches and general manager are getting shots fired at them as well.

If you tell the Miami Dolphins that they are tanking the season, they will tell you they are not. In reality, it is all semantics. You say “tomAto” and they will say “tomahto”. Brian Flores doesn’t believe in tanking. Chris Grier doesn’t believe in tanking. The players won’t outright tank either. Everyone else knows that is what is going on. Let’s be clear though. The Dolphins are not “tanking” because they are not truly trying to lose every Sunday.

Losing isn’t acceptable to anyone within the organization but the team is not set up with a roster that is conducive to winning. Let us look at this from a more realistic standpoint before we judge the team’s current situation. Before we judge the players and think that Brian Flores is losing the locker room.

The Dolphins could have made a different decision this off-season. They could have run with Ryan Tannehill. Could have kept Laremy Tunsil, Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, Kenny Stills, and Kiko Alonso. They could have kept the team intact. Made a change here and there, added some quality free agents, and more than likely, they would have finished the season 8-8.

More than likely, they still would have been beaten badly by the Ravens as they were on Sunday. Why? The simple truth is that the team wasn’t very good last year. They were not very good the year before that. The Dolphins have been a mediocre team with mediocre talent and mediocre coaching for more than a decade.

That is what the Miami Dolphins do not want. With that team last year, maybe yesterday’s game looks more respectable. Miami needs more than respectable. They need respect.

This is going to be a tough year for the Dolphins. The decisions they made were not with the intention of winning a first overall draft pick. The decisions were made to clean the house now, take the lumps that come with it and build it from the ground up. There will be more games like yesterday, hopefully not as bad.

The idea of tearing it to shreds is nothing new. Miami watched the Browns try year and year out to build a winning team and it didn’t work. Even now, after all the moves they have made, they still lost on Sunday to the Titans. A blowout as well. The Browns are trusting all of their moves to a head coach who has never been a head coach. Miami is making the moves with the head coach and hoping that he too will grow as the team does.

Tanking is a word that the media and fans embrace but it is a narrowminded opinion. They believe this is all about one man. One quarterback. Tua Tagovaiola. It’s about the structure of the team. It’s about players who don’t fit in the long-term plans, the future. That is not tanking, that is the reality. An ugly reality but a reality nonetheless.

In 2020 the Dolphins will start the rebuild. This is not it. This is only the first phase. Control the cap, get younger and try to develop that talent in the hopes of finding a gem. Remember this didn’t start last year with the draft in 2018. This didn’t start that off-season or at any time under Adam Gase. This started this year when they realized that 8-8 was no longer acceptable. If they did, Gase may have still been here.

The players are reportedly unhappy with what the media believes are lies about wanting to compete. That isn’t true. They are trying to compete. They are trying to win but this team is young. This team is inexperienced and full of players that wouldn’t likely make let alone start on other rosters. But it is necessary.

For all the talk of tanking, no one in the Dolphins organization is raising a glass and saying “one down, 15 to go”. They are back at work trying to figure out what they can do this year and what they need to do next year and the year beyond that.

They don’t need to explain themselves. They don’t need to give answers to the questioning media who need headlines and quotations. They need to do their jobs. It’s a long process and it will not be completed in 2019 or 2020 and maybe not even in 2021. It may eventually take another head coach and another general manager to get it done.

Stephen Ross gave Brian Flores five years on his deal. Flores knew the plan and he bought into knowing that his job was going to be that much more difficult. Again, it needs to be done. Not the way Bill Parcells or Nick Saban did it either. They were half in. Miami, this off-season, has shown they are all in. All in to change the franchise and make it better. Some call it tanking but it is far more than just for Tua. If that were the case, it would be a lot easier to mortgage the future and trade up to get him. Miami wants more than that.