Regular readers here may know that I’m a big Miami Dolphins fan, they of the NFL.
This is the second season of their new coach, the much-lauded and uber-successful college football coach Nick Saban. Last season, the Dolphins ended strong, and all indications pointed to the belief that Miami’s players had bought into Coach Saban’s coaching philosophy. That, coupled with the common belief that a coach only starts “owning” his team in his second year onward, and with a few good moves in the offseason, the Dolphins should be able to make the playoffs this year. That was the belief.
One of those good moves seemed to be the acquisition of a new (to them) quarterback, in the name of Duante Culpepper. Two years ago, he was a star qb, a hang-your-franchise-on-my-shoulders kind of guy. Last year, his performance fell off a bit, then he got a very significant knee injury and missed the final half the season. He recouped his knee remarkably well in the off-season, enough so that Miami decided to trade for him. I was happy about this trade, because the Dolphins, for about half a decade at least, were in desperate need of a star quarterback. I (as did many others) expected Duante to return to some semblance of his star form after being fully recuperated. Hopefully, he’d return a month or so into this season, and play wonderfully. Joey Harrington, an underachieving but potentially quality qb who last played in hapless Detroit was also acquired. The question about Joey is this: are his poor statistics more a reflection on his abilities, or on the woeful team he played for? I always thought he was better than he was allowed to be, and when “we” got him, I was happy thinking he’d most likely competently start this season, until Duante was ready. That was the belief.
Then, over the early summer, Duante’s injury progress had improved to the point where he was now expected to start the season. A very fast knee recuperation. All was well with Miami. Preseason has the team not playing so well, but Duante is playing well enough. Yeah, he’s still rusty, but that’ll rub off quickly. Harrington, too, was playing pretty well.
All was so well with Miami that at least two prominent sports magazines declared the Dolphins to be SuperBowl favoured team from the AFC. While I never bought into that hype, I was quietly expecting the Dolphins to make it into the playoffs, and depending on how things stood then, who knows how far they’d go.
Well, six games into the 16 game season and Miami are a pathetic 1-5. They are a terrible team of underachieving, poorly coached, poorly motivated sports individuals. While the defense has shown itself capable, the offense stinks. Turns out Culpepper wasn’t ready to come back this soon, and needs to get more rehab. He proved to be slow, indecisive and rather immobile. After four awful games (even the one game they won was not a good win), in which he got sacked far too often, he got benched so, says coach, he can rehab himself back to the point where he has his spark back.
Enter Harrington for the past two games, and while the offense does look crisper, there are still far too many things going wrong in this offense for it to win anything.
The reality of the situation is that the Dolphins really suck this year, and I’m glad now that I didn’t splurge on NFL Sunday Ticket this season. It is highly improbable, bordering on impossible, that they’ll make the playoffs now. Honestly, I’m hoping they’re able to turn it around enough so they win half their remaining games. That would leave them at 7-9. A small smidgen of my brain still holds out hope that they magically turn on the “team” switch, and enough things will change that they turn it around and become a force to be reckoned with. But that ain’t gonna happen.
Anyway, it’s not fun being a Dolphins fan so far this year.
Technorati Tags: Miami Dolphins, NFL, sports, Duante Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Nick Saban