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Dolphins thinking about winning it this season

One of the most fascinating things I deal with as a middle man between the Dolphins and their fans is how sometimes the team and the folks rooting for that team share a common goal and common thinking. And sometimes they really do not.

Sometimes the disconnect in the team's agenda and the fans' agenda is startling.

And I perceive there is some disconnect here.

Correct me if I am wrong, but judging from some of your comments on this blog and the comments of fans I talk to on the radio or meet on the street, some fans are walking around with a happy-to-be-here attitude. It is as if some of you have believe 2008 was a wonderful foundation-building year and the reconstruction project won't be complete for another year or two so whatever happens this season is fine with you.

Some of you see a fine season in your rear view mirror and a championship on the horizon and whatever happens in between is perfectly acceptable. You see 2009 as another year of building, not of winning or competing for a championship.

That, frankly, is a loser's mentality.

And these Dolphins, being quite far removed from being losers, are not thinking that way at all.

When coach Tony Sparano gathered his players recently, he congratulated them on a great 2008 season. He told them how wonderful it was to turn things around and "change the culture" of losing he encountered when he took over the team.

But, he reminded the players, the job is not complete so he wants, hopes, expects, this team to strive to complete the job. He didn't say, this is a transition team. He didn't say, we'll complete the job in a year or two.

Sparano, Jeff Ireland, Bill Parcells and every player on the Dolphins want to win the Super Bowl this coming season. Owner Stephen Ross wants to host his team in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. No one is thinking about championships in 2010. This is not the NBA. They are not thinking about completing a four- or five-year program in 2010 or 2011.

2009 is the focus.

Winning Super Bowl XLIV in Miami is the goal. Today is the time, not tomorrow ... and definitely not yesterday. The Dolphins aren't thinking about a five-year plan any more than they are resting on what happened last year.

“We are excited about what happened in the offseason with all the new faces that we have in free agency and with the draft," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "We are excited to bring all of these guys in and that is why every year is different. What we did in 2008 has no bearing in 2009. We have a big challenge ahead of us -- to learn each other and to build team chemistry and to work together.”

When I talk to Dolphins players or people within the organization, they never say we're in the second year of a plan that will take X-number of years. All the players know they might not be around next year -- or next game with this bunch -- so now is the most important time.

Folks atop the organization such as Sparano and Ireland recognize they must look out into the future as they build the team. But they have one eye on that future and the other eye on today.

That's why the team signed Jason Taylor back.

That's the reason the team signed Chad Pennington last year.

That's the reason if the right veteran that can upgrade the team now comes available at some point before the October trading deadline, the Dolphins will consider making the move.

One more thing that has become plainly clear to me in talking about this team with sources, coaches and personnel people. They all recognize there is no promise of success tomorrow.

They talk about a looming "quarterback transition" and how there can be serious bumps on that road to Chad Henne. They talk about losing four or five valuable free agents after this season and having to replace those known players with God knows who. They talk of there being no ironclad certainty in the direction Ross is pointing the organization. They talk of not knowing whether Parcells will be with the team next year or the year after.

They talk of doing everything in their power to make the 2009 Dolphins the best they can be so that the 2009 season is better than 2008.

And they leave the conversation about fanciful 2010 or '11 championships to some fans who don't understand what's most important.


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Ain't gonna happen, we're still rebuilding.

This is the stuff I love to read 'Mando. This attitude is one of the many reasons I love this regime. Take no prisoners, and get the job done by any means necassary. THAT is a winning attitude, and it's awesome to have the leadership of our franchise instill that attitude again!!

Why not?

Agreed Mando, why wait when you can compete now, though that schudule looks daunting.

Agreed Mando, why wait when you can compete now, though that schudule looks daunting.

That's good - the team should be looking to win the Super Bowl every year. If they go 8-8 this year and I start complaining that Parcells & Company should all be fired , doesn't that make me a moron who doesn't remember how bad this team was? I'm hoping they have a great season , but 1-15 , Wanny ,Cam & Nick are still fresh enough of wound to make me appreciate what we are doing now, the right way , in becoming a solid franchise again.

Hope they do, i made a 25-1 bet on them in vegas. it will pay 5 grand if they win it all. ha, that was before I knew the schedule, but boy it would be sweet in more ways than one.

One thing can't be denied, if we win the division this year, we definitely will have earned it.

I think the 'team' is good enough to win it all, with one exception. For as good as he was last year, Chad Pennington is just too limited to win a Superbowl. Defenses, knowing the don't have to worry much about defending the deep ball, can just stack the box.

But I'm hoping for the best.


Miami Muphins fans can pretend that they will win the super bowl and when the season is over w/6-10 ,they can pretend they are in the playoffs.

1972,2009 undefeated

11-5 wasnt the big suprise people, 1-15 was. Remember, the Fins were 9-7 in Saban's first year, and favored to win the AFC in 06 before the Culpepper debacle. Injuries, poor coaching, poor drafting, and more injuries made 07 a disaster. Better coaching, better QB, a soft schedule, and staying healthy made 08 a great year. People who are STILL in awe arent viewing this thing with much perspective.

Papi or whatever you are calling yourself now, how do you not kill yourself everytime you look in the mirror? You have to notice you are nothing but a worthless steaming pile of human feces.

We got some pennington haters in the house yo TFK stop knocking on #10 arm bro stop hating on the runner up for NFL MVP stop hating on the most ACCURATE QB IN NFL HISTORY come on man back him up and support him dont down grade one of the teams captain not cool brother!


Even though the schedule looks tough, I am predicting that Miami will have the same record as last year 11-5 (maybe 12-4 if steal one of the games). Here is my quick analysis:

1) W - Atlanta - first game of the season, Miami will make a statement against Matt Ryan.
2) L - Indy - we havent played them in a while, Peyton is amazing
3) W - Chargers - we always beat them (i think they are overrated
4) W - Bills - No comment
5) W - Jets - No comment - Sanchez will fold
6) Bye
7) W - Saints - They always choke
8) W - Jets - no comment
9) L - Pats - Brady at new England - Moss is a beast
10) W - TB - new team - inexperienced coach and QB
11) L - Carolina - their running game is goin to be sick, we may get lucky against Delhomme though!
12) W - Bills - if the weather is bad, we may let this slip, but i feel we have a tough more physical team
13) W - Pats - this time we get them at home, Taylor will get to Brady
14) W - Jags - they are not the same team anymore, they lost a lot of players Del Rio's last year
15) L - TN will be tough at TN, great Def and great running game, however, our def may make up for it against old man Collins
16) W - Houston - we never beat them, but damnit this year we will
17) L - Steelers - could be a meaningless, we may steal this one.

STOP all the whining about a tough schedule. its a GOOD thing. Thank the schedule"gods" for this.
WHO did we beat last season? All the "supposed" Best teams.
I worry more about the Crap teams since these guys seem to play to the level of opponents - good or bad.
I predicted 11 win season last year and they are much improved since.
So bring on the Best and we go 10-6 and if we get over that " Playing Down" to crap teams, we go 12-4

If this team was really trying to win now they would pull off a deal for Anquan Boldin and cough up the draft choices for next year. This move would make the phins a legitimate contender. However, the team seems to be hoarding draft choices which sends a different message than "lets win in 2009".

that is exactly how it should be. fans should have reasonable optimism, and the team should be striving for the best. that shows how good the management is. not only are they managing the team well, but also managing the fans well.

11-5 was not a surprise , but the biggest turn around in NFL history?

1-15 was not a surprise given how poorly the Dolphins had drafted over a 5 year period.

Let's stay sensible and know the difference between hopes and realistic expectations.

we should start Pat White with his strong long arm and move penne as a back up and trade henne for boldin

I would not sign Boldin unless his long term contract was in the 4 to 5 million a year range. It is to much money at 8 to 10 mil for a positon and player that is often injured. It will also keep us from singning other quality players. The reason they really let JT go was salary and getting draft picks. You have to balance vets with drafts to stay in budget and competitive. The Patriots have the whole thing down to a science. They always end up with the most picks to have a lot of new up and commers and mix in veterens. They won't be paying Willfork the $100 million that Haynesworth got though he is one of the best. That is why they drafted his replacement in case the demands do not make sense. If he walks as a free agent they will get a 3rd round pick.
You need 10 great players on a team and 12 really good ones to winit all. Adding one great playr at that kind of money does not work.

Good writing. Here's another analogy. You and I are alone in the wilderness (cue banjo music) and we come to a raging river that looks extremely dangerous, yet we must cross it -because , oh let's say a grizzly bear, or worse still, a toothless mountain man (aka Jed) is after us with bad intent. One of us (a.) believes there is no way we are going to make it across and the other (b.) believes we will because we must. So we jump in and start swimming. Probably a bad move - what a couple of idiots, and even Jed is lookin mighty purty compared to the bottom of the river right now.
So what happens next? Beats me- maybe both drown. Maybe not. But if I were a betting man, I'd take the believer. I think the hopeless guy is already dead. That is all Armando - you can go back to sleep if I haven't already induced it yet. Thank you for participating. So now I ask you, fellow Dolphins fans, which guy are you? c. Jed or d. the bear is not an acceptable answer. This is really the question you must live with every weekend next season, and it might even be a metaphor for your life. So who do you want to be? Come to think of it, there is no right answer - I'm going to go get a ham sandwich.

that guy, are you a plumber ?

Carpe Diem Armando.

I was so inspired by that column I'm going to propose to my girlfriend tonight.

Most fans especially the ones who come here have no clue what they're talking about.

Think about it, there are fans who want to throw games late in the year to get higher draft picks. There are fans who have no clue about how a football team is built. There are fans who want make trades everyday but never want to give up anything. There are fans who think they know more about the team than the people running the organization.

The IQ level on this blog is maybe a 25 on a good day.

With the 12 million extra in cap space, WHY ARE WE NOT GOING AFTER BOLDIN?

Seems like a gift from the NFL that we are not taking advantage of.


You do pretty good work as a sports writer but my middleman your not. I always start the season with renewed hope and want to see a championship this year - but if you don't think we're still in a building mode your wrong. Every team every year goes through an ongoing building mode.

One thing I learned in 1971 was the toughest loss is the last one especially if your the runner up in the SB. Zonk - no fumbles all season and 2 or 3 in the big game.

That team continued to build and the next year 17-0. Actually the 73 SB team was better than the 17-0 team.

We all appreciate your work but middle man your not - we all form our own opinions even if you think some of have a loser mentality. Its like Pennington says - every year is a new beginning.

the IQ level here is -25, the only people who make any sense are,
cuban menace
go something

Ok guys the menace is taking all Qs so shoot the Qs to the cuban.

If it was all about winning THIS year, let me ask you this...

Why is Ted Ginn Jr. our #1 receiver STILL?

I thought they wanted to build through the draft. I thought 1 of the cons of taylor was that he took snaps away from young players. If you ask me management is putting together a great team piece by piece. No one said they had to lose to do so. Their motto is "why not us?" their goal in the SB but they understand that grooming young players is just as important if not more important then picking up old vets who have 1-2 years left. Yes, JT can help us now and the Dolphins want to win. I think people are happy with what happened last year and say we are building this year and what happens happens until we start losing. You say we need vets like Boldin and should give up draft picks for him. If management says we can win with what we have I believe them. I don't watch their practices or drills, or how much players have improved. I think they want to win more then you or I want them to.

Ken, hoarding draft picks sends a bad message to the fans? Hmmm, NE has never had that problem. Remember trading Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch to Seattle for a #1 pick? Oh yeah, horrible message, get a clue. This is a draft based and team oriented sport. You don't get great by getting one great pleyer, you become a champion by accumulating as many very good to great players that you can fit under the cap. Trading two or three picks for Boldin is a loser move. NEVER mortgage the draft.

Williams was as good a player as Miami ever had when he was at his peak, yet trading two first picks for him was one of the biggest reasons this team sucked so much after.

Great "Q" David, Unfortunitly i have no answer for you, ok guys throw another Q at the menace.

And please, give it up on Boldin. Zona was offered Chicago second round pick and passed it up. The price is too high, let it go.

And please, give it up on Boldin. Zona was offered Chicago second round pick and passed it up. The price is too high, let it go.

And please, give it up on Boldin. Zona was offered Chicago second round pick and passed it up. The price is too high, let it go.

And please, give it up on Boldin. Zona was offered Chicago second round pick and passed it up. The price is too high, let it go.

And please, give it up on Boldin. Zona was offered Chicago second round pick and passed it up. The price is too high, let it go.

Agreed 100%
Well done Armando. I can't stand fans that are constantly negative.

Mando - Nice work on this post! I have always been surprised people would believe this organization (BP, Ireland, Sparano) would pass up a chance to win NOW. Even last year. That is why we went 11-5 (a winner's mentality), and why we went 1-15 the yr before (Cam had the loser's mentality of "rebuilding"). When you have an excuse to fail, you will. Will they sacrifice the future to do it? No, that'd be stupid. And that's why Boldin isn't on our team, yet. (ps - to the guy who says we have $12M in cap space - we don't! Still have to sign the rooks...) But if they can "pick up a few acorns" and win this yr, why the f* not? Sure, it probably won't happen, but who predicted the Steelers would win last year???

And speaking of which, to all of those people saying that this won't be the year because of our schedule, thats what they said about those same Steelers last year. Their schedule was BRUTAL!!! Way worse than our outlook for this yr. And in the end, who was the most "battle-tested"???

I mean, I'm just saying...

Armando, you contradicted yourself. On the one hand you said their focus is on "winning now", then state that they have "one eye on winning now and the other on the future."

So, the correct answer is: both. They want to win now AND build for future.

Both things can be done at the same time, although some will say that if they really wanted to win now, they would trade away some good picks next year to get Boldin, or further, they would have given away picks to get Haynsworth.

Parcells and Ireland have to do both, but Sparano has the luxury of focusing on just one goal, win now. By playing his best players and to hell with player "development". For example, Davis or Smith will not start if Eric Green beats them out, high draft picks or not. Wake will play less if Taylor is playing better, etc etc.

Are the Trifecta fools? Are they delusional enough to really believe they can win the SB this year? No. Anything can happen in the NFL, look at the Cardinals last year. What if the front runners in the AFC suffer some key injuries, what if our new guys and rookies play as hoped? What if our young guys like Starks, Merling, Langford, Ginn, Bess improve dramatically? Anything can happen.

Mando, as an athlete or coach you prepare and practice each week to win. And guess what, in the NFL, if you win at the right time, you can win it all. When a team is rebuilding, it applies to the offseason only, because when the season starts there is only the next game and another opportunity to win. The Dolphins are the perfect example.

1. Last year was a definite rebuilding year. The Building was evaluated, everything in the building that could be used was put aside and the rest of the building was demolished. The foundation was rebuilt and the frame/structure was put up.

2. Even though their were too many wholes in the roster, the favorable schedule and new team discpline aided the organization to win more games than anyone imagined. This can happen when you take the one game at a time approach and just try to do what feels right as an athlete. Winning always feels right.

3. This offseason, the walls and roof have been put on the building. Parcells and company walked past a heating/ac system that had alot of fancy bells and whistles(Some thought too expensive and too early to purchase at this point in the contruction) but he had to have it. So he bought it.(Pat White)

4. At this point the building is up, but there is still a need for outside shrubbery, furniture, paint, carpet...

Now, even though the building is not ready for sale... It is safe to live in. And that's the Dolphins, no one will tout them on paper as favorites because there is no grass growing and there are no beautiful flowers or rose bushes outside(your #1 receiver) and the carpet hasn't been put down yet but if the right buyer sees the house and can vision what the finished product can be, the house can be sold before its finished and if the ball bounces the Dolphins way, they can win it all.

I feel that again we're not taking seriously, all the media out side are talking more about the other 3 teams in the division, (Brady is back, T.O. in Buffalo, Sanchez in NY). And again we could take it in our favor, playing each game as if is there no tomorrow.

Mark in Toronto:

I did not say hoarding draft picks was a bad message but it was a different message than "win now". Secondly, the reason why the Dolphins faltered after trading for Williams were poor coaching and a failure to address the most important position on the field: QB despite several opportunities to do so. Finally Boldin is worth more than a second rounder that the Bears offered. He is worth at least a 1st rounder. If the Phins want to win now they need an experienced, dynamic physical WR. I like Ginn but he is not that at this point. If you pair Boldin with Ginn and have Camarillo or Bess in the slot, that is a dynamic WR corps which will create many mismatches. Get Boldin now and win now.

Its great the team is thinking win now, but it is a rebuilding year considering the moves the coaches made. Remember, Saban stop rebuilding after barley pulling out a winning season and went running back to college after learning his lesson. These coaches will get the players thinking to win today, they have to. But at the same time they'll build for tommorrow.


I completely agree with you that we should EXPECT more this year. I know that with the teams troubles over the past few years that many fans have begun to set low expectations. But we should all ask: why not?

Truth be told, I want to see how the Dolphins will perform with top shelf teams. Last year, with the possible exception of Baltimore, we didn't see that. The only path to a Super Bowl championship is to beat teams like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, NE, Tennessee and San Diego. Look at the Steelers last year: they had the most difficult schedule in the NFL, yet they went on to have a 12-4 season and a super bowl championship.

Champions are build by succeeding against the best. So if we are going to take the next big leap, we're going to have to compete at a consistent level with the best that the NFL has to offer.

I think 8-8 or 9-7 is the best we can hope for this year

Schedule... Shmedule... Pittsburgh won last year with the toughest. Why can't the finz? Miami has always been very hard to beat in primetime and we have 4 primetime games this yr. I say 12-4. Another east championship and hopefully the 1st ever team to be playing the S.B. at home. Hop-a-long Brady, Dirty Sanchez and whomever the Jills have watchout the Taylor Porter tandem will be harassing you for 6 games this yr. GO FINZ!!!!!!!!!!

Wasn't Pittsburgh's schedule last year supposed be the toughest in long time? Nobody saw them winning the Superbowl this time last year. Goes to show how much anyone really knows about this.

The lack of picks led to the team being unable to address several positions. It's a losing mentality. Draft picks are cheaper, hungrier, and more coachable. You have to find the next WR in your draft, not pay a king's ransom for someone else's.

How much better would the Dolphins have been if they had Boldin last year? Heck, even Arizona didn't een need him to reach the Superbowl. He was on the sidelines screaming at his coach when Zona was conducting their most important drive of the year. Pfff, I say forget him.

And who says you need an explosive WR to win anyway. Patriots did it for several years without one, Steelers did it last year, list goes on and on.

There is a loser attitude, there is a winner attitude and then there is reality.

The reality is that we don't have a QB with the ability to win a superbowl. We don't have wide receivers with the ability to win a superbowl. I do believe we have a runing back tandem that is more than capable and the defense seems solid.

If the Dolphins really want to win they sign Boldin and sign Vick for the league minimum, if nothing else it would be fun to watch.

Ok. This team will always be rebuilding but that doesn't mean that it can't win it all. 5 fa's is no biggy. They will pick them up in the draft. The team has to change every year to get better and you are going to lose some players.
So, while I agree with you that it could happen, getting to the superbowl is a big leap even for the best team in football and there isn't a best team because nobody has played yet.
Winning the division...I believe we are the favorites because we proved that we could and convincingly. The Superbowl is a matter of everthing coming together. Speed power and playmaking. Did we really see that last year? No! Did we really blow anyone out of the water last year? No. Don't get me wrong, we played great but it was not overpowering football, like the Steelers or the Ravens play in most games.

For a start,the Dolphins are alot better in the secondary. They're also alot better on the Offensive line. So in general,they are alot better than last year. Why not the Dolphins winning the big one? No one gave Arizona much of a chance last year did they? Sometimes,it's not the BEST players you need,it's the RIGHT players to really make a difference in the NFL today.The Cowboys had a great team on paper last year and where did they get??

What really makes me mad is the fact that some sportsbooks have us last in the division. We are in the same money pool as the Raiders, Bengals, Jets and Browns. I do not understand it...
Our D will be better this season. Vontae Davis will be a pro bowler next year. The only worry I have in the Nose position...


Well stated. I agree wholeheartedly that peg-leg Brady and the rest of his geriatric team mates will prove to be one of the big flops of the coming year. Buffalo has been irrelevent for the past 10 years, and with coach Jamoron running the show, that figures to continue. T.O. has never played well in the cold and the Spills will have one of the worst o-lines in the league. Finally, as to the putrid Paper Planes, The organ grinder they drafted to play QB won't last the season and even if he were by some miracle, he will be a major bust. Plus, they ALWAYS choke.

Miami wins the division with another 11-5 finish. Pennington's stats may not end up as impressive as last year, but the running game and defense will be better. Please stop this garbage about his weak arm. Steve Young nor Joe Montana for that matter had a strong arm, but last I checked they did all right. Miami's passing game is not that much different than a west coast style. short intermediate routes, seam passes to the TEs, and throws to a RB. When you combine that with a strong run game, it accomplishes ball control, shortens the game and keeps your defense fresh while limiting the other team's opportunities to score. This will be Miami's formula.

Mark in Toronto:

The Steelers don't have an explosive WR? Who was Santonio Holmes? Oh yeah, he was the MVP of the Superbowl. The Patriots also had Deion Branch for 2 of their 3 SBs. Branch may not be elite but he is good and I think he was a SB MVP as well. In all honesty I understand your point which is don't mortgage the future. In general I agree but when a team is close that is usually when it is okay to do so. I think the phins are close, closer than most people give them credit for. The problem with your suggestion of trying to draft for a WR is that historically they take a while to develop, so if the attitude is win now you have to trade now.

I have a few questions:

What do they mean by "no ironclad certainty in the direction Ross is pointing the organization"

Where else would this guy be "pointing the organization" other than to be the best they can be?

Why would your source even mention this unless there are doubts within the organization? or
did you just pulled that one out of your arse for impact purposes?

Well what else would you expect all 32 NFL teams to say..... "We suck and we don't want to win" of course they are saying that, they need to put butts in the seats at the stadiums... even Detroit is going to play for a Superbowl but the reality is that only 5 or 6 teams have the caliber of players and coaches to make it there. Now, this year will be extremely interesting since they are so many new/rookie head coaches so the teams that once where mighty and powerful might not produce on the field the same way. I think this is the case of the Colts but we'll see come September.

I resent your criticism of my decision to forfeit picks and players to move up and draft Jose, er, Mark Sanchez. I have a proven record of success. Just look at how well our trade for Farve and drafting of Gholston turned out last year.

Statistically speaking, Ginn was as good as Holmes last year so if you don't think Ginn is explosive, then Holmes certainly isn't. Branch can also be thought of in the same boat. I don't think he ever broke 1,000 yards receiving in a year.

You think the Dolphins don't have guys that can make plays catching the ball already? Take a look at Ginn's and Bess' stats for their level of experience. They are impressive and are on the uphill slope of their careers. In addition, out TEs caught a load of TDs. No need for Boldin.

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