Change is coming, and probably in more ways than expected. Setting goals before these changes might not seem fair, but a long time has past from having any acceptable results outside of recent winning season records and some on team defense. So this exercise is probably overdue.
Former head coach Brian Flores didn’t seem to get much of a break for his first year, after a total breakdown of the team he took over. Will we see the same type of thing for new head coach Mike McDaniel? Although the team he’s taking over is nowhere near as bare Bones.
The big question is how much of the defensive proficiency might leave with Flores.
Josh Boyer staying as the defensive coordinator, looks like a good thing, however there are rumors about him among players in the locker room. Those rumors are based on what effect if any he had last season during the roller coaster period. It seems as if Flores took over the play calling when they started winning again. However looking back, strength of schedule should be taken into account.
Just as I was tidying things up for this story I found a rebuttal from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, stating that Boyer called the plays in every game. Conflicting reports are nothing new when it comes to the Miami Dolphins.
Getting back to team breakdown, there are 28 free agents, in one form or another, that are up for free agency coming soon. six of those are restricted, two exclusive rights free agents, however those players are not blowing anyone’s socks off. So changes are coming, and that big cap space that is more than any other team will partially get used for that, along with the biggest need which is offensive line.
The new scheme that Mike McDaniel will install could also affect player turnover, although he is said to be able to work with players to make it fit to talents. New coaches on the back end of the defense, former Dolphins greats Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain could have a similar effect, along with Wes Welker with the receivers, there are very many other new assistant coaches to account for.
Here comes the kicker that prompted me to drum up all of this setting goals stuff. As some might have guessed it comes on offense. Sorry special teams gets overlooked again, and will have to ride the coattails.
Dan Marino had 4 seasons left to play, Don Shula was still the head coach, the offense ranked top ten overall, the year was 1995. The Miami Dolphins now have the longest active streak not to duplicate that stat of all teams.
Week 17 of last season the defense was ranked 11th overall by Pro Football Focus. I am not going to set some crazy goal asking for both units to get back to these marks. Just something half way would be nice, and not even overall ratings, let us cherry pick some rankings that fall near the mark. I have learned as a longtime fan to lower expectations as to not totally go over the edge.
Setting goals for the Miami Dolphins team units could be a fun exercise. It may not mean anything in the long run, other than something to keep track of.
Last off season I did something the same for individual players performance, and if they could keep the same level throughout the off-season training. Albert Wilson won the inaugural performance challenge for the off season, and he may not be back on the team, so I may have also started a curse.