How much of a honeymoon period will we see between the Miami Dolphins front office and their fans before things start to go South?
Off the bat I’d like to state that it could last for the tenure of Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier. This is not meant to be negative like “we have seen this before.” Although it does have to venture that way to have it open for interpretation.
Things started off rosy the last few times around. Joe Philbin said his team would score an average of 25 points a game and they more or less did. The only problem was they didn’t win enough. Adam Gase in his first year took the team to the playoffs, something that had not happened before in what seemed like forever. Something else that seemed like forever, was better drafting and we caught a glimpse of that with Bill Lazor.
This last paragraph looks like grasping at straws when looking at the bigger picture of a stat I just happened on, looking through the charts. In his 25 year tenure with the Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula had 2 losing seasons. In his, 20 year tenure with the Pats coach Bill Belichick had 3 seasons of not making it into the playoffs.
As a fan base, we have been downtrodden for a long time and there is a lot to overcome. There are fresh glimmers of hope that are now building. As astonishing as that stat is, it is important to note, not only of good coaching but also the pairing of a good coach and a quarterback. We may have something along those lines in Brian Flores and Tua Tagovailoa. Although it is still early, “we have a shot” as Jimmy Johnson used to say.
There are already some detractions of Grier for his drafting. I thought with so many draft picks he would move around the board in an effort to land one of the top-tier offensive linemen after getting Tua. I also thought that RB Jonathan Taylor would be selected as he has good pass catching talent to fit the mold of the Patriots way.
There is also the question as to when Grier was truly in charge of the draft if it does go back to when Charles Harris was picked, I had wanted to move back for OL Forrest Lamp. This is the only time I can remember wanting to move out of the first round of a draft.
Coach Flores also has some detractions. He runs things with versatility in mind, and when first round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick didn’t want to adapt he was granted his exit, many were taken back by this. On the other side of things he kept trying to get RB Kalen Ballage to do just a few things well and failed miserably.
Ballage is still on the team while Samaje Perine was waived, leading many to wonder why. Just splitting straws but he could fill the Patriots way of having four rotational backs, with two main ones and two coming in to provide relief. Matt Breida was traded for during the draft and I suspect he will become the receiving back to the downhill running of Jordan Howard who was picked up in free agency. Patrick Laird, who was reluctantly played late season after Ballage had failed so much could become the fourth back, if not it might go to Myles Gaskin as these two are most likely the forerunners.
Getting back to positives as I said this wouldn’t be all negative. Grier did build the O-line after picking Tua with three OL on the bigger side, with first round pick Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt in the second round, and Solomon Kindley in the 4th. Being on the bigger side they all might help the running game should they pan out.
Grier did the same thing, getting bigger players for the defensive line, with Raekwon Davis in the 2nd and Jason Strowbridge and Curtis Weaver in the 5th. Should they all pan out they just might help to stop the run. Not that they all can’t get at the quarterback because they can along with the smaller defensive linemen picked up in free agency.
All in all coach Flores has a lot of clay to mold with now and it should be interesting to see what he comes up with. My money is leaning toward a masterpiece considering how the end of last season played out with mostly undrafted free agents.
Note: I wrote this just a day before the news broke on the passing of Don Shula. I just happened to mention him but never meant it despairingly. I would hardly ever do that. Rest in peace to the great coach Don Shula.