I have sometimes been accused of holding the Dolphins to a high standard that too often they have not been able to uphold.
Tony Sparano apparently believes there is nothing wrong with that. That is why he is putting pressure -- a lot of it -- on his team this weekend. How much pressure, you ask?
He believes this game against Arizona, only the second game in a 16-game season, is a must-win outing.
"I feel like when you lose your first game of the season that your second game is a must-win no matter what," Sparano said Friday afternoon. "I think every week in this league is a must-win in my mind, but when you’re trying to change a culture, there are no kind of wins. They are all must-wins when you’re trying to change a culture. That being said, we know that last week we lost a ballgame that maybe we didn’t play as well as we could have in. I think that makes this game a whole lot more important, yes."
Um, rookie coach mistake.
I understand what Coach S is trying to say. He wants a sense of urgency out of his team, particularly because it didn't perform as well as it could have last week. But must-win?
A must-win game is one that means the difference between a playoff berth and going home for the offseason. A must-win game is one that avoids a winless season or gives you an undefeated season. A must-win game comes late in the season.
But the second game of the year? Nope.
Every game is important, but the Dolphins could lose this game and still have a good season. And what happens if they lose and the coach portrayed it as a must-win? What is he going to say afterward? The season is over because we didn't win the must-win game?
This is an important game because the coaching staff doesn't want the players to lose confidence. It's important because the Dolphins don't want fans to lose hope and believe this year is a scary extension of last season.