To borrow a phrase from Bill Parcells “You are what your record says you are.” Let’s face it. The Miami Dolphins suck: Who’s to blame?
The problem with analyzing why the Miami Dolphins suck is that there are multiple layers of blame. Tua is good not great. Play calling has been very bad at times. Penalties and key plays are rearing their ugly heads against us instead of for us.
And, most importantly, I think we started to put the cart before the horse when it came to assessing how good the Dolphins really were. (Me included! I drank a huge gulp of that Dolphins cool aid).
But, before we all panic, I want to remind everyone what I wrote in an article earlier this year.
"‘If you think we’ve added enough talent this year, I beg you to remember the season finale when Buffalo showed us how much we really need to improve. If you watched the game, Buffalo beat us on both sides of the ball especially in the trenches. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, but I don’t think our trenches have improved to the level needed for a deep playoff run. Yes, we’ve added some nice talent. Our offensive line should be better (if our year two players can step it up). But, overall, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. And, I don’t believe that Grier and Flores think the team is there yet either. If Grier and Flores thought we could seriously make a run this year they would have added a bell cow running back. They would have added to the defensive line. I don’t see the front office making moves for the right now that says, ‘we’re so close”."
If we had paid better attention, there are couple of statistics that should have clued us in that the Dolphins weren’t as good as their record indicated back in 2020. I’m of the opinion that for the most part Defense wins championships and dictates the fortune of your team. I also believe that the plus or minus in turnover ratio is partly luck.
Therefore, I will focus on one Defensive stat that really stood out to me as a harbinger that we weren’t as good as we thought. Defensive yards allowed per game.
In 2020 the Dolphins were ranked the 20th best team in yards against, yet their record was 10-6. If we would have dug a little deeper we might have seen that to be the outlier that it was and put that big glass of cool aid down.
10-6 was the best record in the last 10 years for a team that finished 20th in total yards allowed. Usually, if your team ranks 20th in yards allowed per game, you have a losing record. Only one other team in that 10 year span had a winning record when ranked 20th in yards allowed.
Falcons 2019 20th in yards against finished 7-9
Carolina 2018 20th in yards against finished 7-9
Houston 2017 20th in yards against finished 4-12
Titans 2016 20th in yards against finished 9-7
Buffalo 2015 20th in yards against finished 8-8
Raiders 2014 20th in yards against finished 3-13
Miami 2013 20th in yards against finished 8-8
Miami 2012 20th in yards against finished 7-9
Vikings 2011 20th in yards against finished 3-13
Let’s ask ourselves a couple of questions. Are we 10-6 in 2020 without Fitzpatrick? Are we 10-6 in 2020 without a couple of fortuitous turnovers? Take away a little luck and take away Fitzpatrick and I say we lose 3 or 4 more games last year. That puts us at 7-9 or 6-10.
We know we’ve got some work to do to be a better team. Buffalo showed us that last year and again this year. Our trenches suck … period.
Last year we got lucky. This year we’re getting unlucky and the truth lies somewhere between. The same way we’re a fumble away from being 0-8; we are also a couple of plays away from being 3-5. Rookie offensive coordinators add to our misery.
I want to reiterate that I believe that Grier and Flores knew we weren’t close either. If you thought you were close to competing for a deep playoff run, why would you go with two rookie offensive coordinators with essentially a rookie quarterback to boot? If you thought you were close, why would you not get some defensive line help or a bell cow running back?
They were essentially telling us through their actions that the Dolphins weren’t ready to compete. On the other hand, I don’t think they thought the Dolphins would be this bad either. Otherwise they would have kept our first round pick instead of the San Fran pick.
If you have read any of my previous articles, I have faith in Grier and Flores because I have seen a process of them building a team for the long haul that makes sense.
You can have good young leaders that make mistakes; it’s called growing pains.
However, I have one big beef with what is going on right now. How can our offensive line be this bad after all the draft picks put into improving it?
The Dolphins haven’t been able to evaluate offensive linemen properly since the last ice age. You can miss on players in the draft. It happens to every team at every position.
However, at this point, I believe Grier and Flores have got to show us more when it comes to evaluating talent, especially when it comes to building the offensive and defensive lines.
I don’t care how great your process is. Without proper talent evaluation great process gets you no where fast.
Here’s to hoping the second half of 2021 goes better than the first because I still have some more cool aid in the fridge! And I’m dying to drink it!