One year ago the Dolphins had an 0-2 record following a depressing loss to Arizona and prospects were dim. Today, the Dolphins have an 0-2 record following a depressing (for different reasons) loss to Indianapolis and prospects are dim.
All was not lost to that 2008 team.
All is not lost to this 2009 team.
The Dolphins made some significant changes following the Arizona game a year ago. They benched safety Chris Crocker because he couldn't communicate well in the deep secondary and it was costing the Dolphins.
I'm sorry, but the Dolphins need to bench Gibril Wilson. His enormous contract lined with $8 million in guaranteed money notwithstanding, Wilson is a liability in the deep secondary. He does not tackle well. He always seems a step slow. And he never makes an important play.
The Dolphins could turn to veteran Renaldo Hill last year. Perhaps it's time to turn to youngster Tyrone Culver this year. Culver covers well and hasn't missed a lot of tackles that I can remember in the last year. He knows the calls. He knows the defense.
[By the way, I said in the last post that Wilson missed the tackle on Dallas Clark to start the game. He did, getting run over at the 50-yard line, costing the Dolphins 50 yards in hidden yardage. But he also got plowed by Donald Brown on that rookie's fourth-quarter TD. Brown just lowered his shoulder and ran right through Wilson at the 5 yard line.]
Make the change.
As for everything else, the parallels to 2008 don't exactly fall into place, but the Dolphins are not without possibilities.
It was on that ride home that coach Tony Sparano ordered his assistants to hatch Wildcat. It was good enough that it surprised the Patriots in the next game and the confidence built from that win carried over to a victory against San Diego.
Well, the Dolphins need another victory over San Diego this week but Wildcat is not available as a surprise.
Here's an idea. Come up with something on defense to tilt the game in Miami's favor. I keep hearing how the Dolphins can get after the passer as well as any team. I haven't seen that yet. I've seen Peyton Manning run into a Joey Porter sack and Jason Taylor have one good game, one invisible game.
Can you say Cameron Wake? Don't tell me the Dolphins can't put Charlie Anderson on the inactive list and substitute Wake. Yes, special teams may suffer a tad. But the Dolphins need to get after Phillip Rivers somehow. Why not unleash a guy that shows pass-rush promise?
Also, the use of Akin Ayodele when he was clearly slowed by that back issue last week cost the Dolphins. Play Reggie Torbor! The guy didn't come cheap. Let him earn his money rather than putting a hobbled player on the field.
The defense needs to do something different because whatever they did Monday night didn't work. Understand that the offense gave Miami the lead four times against the Colts. And the defense gave up that lead all four times.
The Colts had the ball only eight times in the game. But they scored on five of those possessions, including two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Last season the Dolphins pulled even with a 2-2 record after consecutive upsets of New England and San Diego. I see no reason this team cannot win the next three games. The Chargers are good but not great. Then Miami gets Buffalo and the Jets at home on back-to-back weeks.
With all due respect to the Bills and Jets, they're both beatable. They're not that much more talented than the Dolphins. And they're not coached any better.
I'm not saying the Dolphins will beat those three teams coming up. But neither am I saying it's impossible.
And these next three games before the bye will go a long way in defining this season. The Dolphins must win at least two of those games to hold out any playoff hopes. Lose two and the playoffs hopes disappear. Lose all three and the season is toast.
We'll see what happens.
But this is sure: If the Dolphins don't make changes, it's illogical for them to believe the results will change.