The Miami Dolphins are finding themselves at another fork on their franchise’s road and this time none of them may lead to success.
A lot has changed in Miami over the last three years. Structural changes internal and external from the football field. Coaching changes and philosophy changes led the Dolphins down a different path than the road they were on. For almost 20 years the Dolphins have been walking in circles, a train on a continuous loop but Stephen Ross finally flipped the switch and Brian Flores was able to get off the track.
Now, three years into a rebuild, it is starting to appear that the Dolphins did nothing more than switch to another endless loop. Now, they find themselves wondering which path they should go down now.
Deshaun Watson is an answer. A possible solution to the Dolphins QB troubles since Dan Marino. Walking into Miami he instantly becomes the best QB since Marino and it isn’t debatable. Watson comes with a lot of baggage and his arrival will also alienate a fan base that has stuck with a team that has been mired in losing for far too long.
Watson would also immediately own the Miami Dolphins franchise. He could hold a proverbial knife to their throats. Demand more money, refuse to play, demand a trade. If Ross fires Flores, Watson is going to be screaming for Ross to hire his guy or guys. And we know how that worked out in Houston. This road very well will lead in one direction.
Tua Tagovailoa is playing consistently good football and statistically stands out among other QBs in the league. For all of that, Brian Flores doesn’t really want Tua, at least that’s what the rumor is. Flores hasn’t backed his QB publicly outside of the “Tua is our QB” answer. That isn’t an endorsement.
Many believe that the bridge with Tua is burned or at least on fire. Why would he want to stick around? The Dolphins will need to make a decision on Tua’s future but it doesn’t appear, if the Watson rumors are true, that Miami really wants Tua at all. In other words, it’s a road that now, probably goes in one direction.
Brian Flores and Chris Grier should be tied at the hip. If one goes, they both should go. Stephen Ross can’t trust Chris Grier to find a new head coach anymore than he can trust Flores to lead his team with a new GM. Neither are likely on the hot seat this year but it is getting warm and losing out this year could immediately change that.
The problem is Stephen Ross doesn’t know how to hire coaches. Tony Sparano was not his hire but Joe Philbin, Adam Gase, and Brian Flores are. And all of them failed or are failing. Can Ross go through another coaching search? Who believes he could get it right this time? Many believe that he will pursue Jim Harbaugh and that is a path that could lead in one direction.
The direction for all three possibilities lead nowhere. They all lead back to an endless circle. A search for a head coach that will rebuild the franchise. A change in culture, again. Change in personnel and player ideology. A search for a franchise quarterback that isn’t a retread and can come in and win within a year or two. It’s the same loop, the same tracks Miami has been on for the better part of 20 years and it doesn’t appear to be changing.
So is there a path on this new fork, that lies ahead, that leads them to winning? Maybe. Maybe Watson works out and the franchise changes and his off field issues are found to be nothing. In the end, the Dolphins get a premium quarterback. Maybe Brian Flores finally finds the right coaching staff that can develop the players and maybe Chris Grier starts getting players that can actually make an impact immediately. Or, maybe Stephen Ross hires a football guy who hires a new GM and a new HC that wants to build his offense around Tua Tagovailoa and thus throws water on the flaming bridge. Maybe.