Why has the 2010 season been a disappointment for the Dolphins?
Myriad reasons, really, but ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer has a fundamental reason: The Dolphins have built a team that gives itself too little room for error. And this year, when games are won or lost on one or two plays, the Dolphins have not made those one or two plays.
In other words, as Dilfer says in the video, the Dolphins have allowed themselves very little room for error.
The Cleveland loss? If Nolan Carroll catches that interception in his hands inside the Browns 25 yard line late in the fourth quarter, Miami wins. He dropped it. Miami lost.
The Pittsburgh loss? The Dolphins obviously didn't account for the refs working against them. They also got zero help from a running game that could not move the football despite the fact it was handed to the offense inside Pittsburgh's 30 yard line twice in the first half.
The Buffalo loss? Dan Carpenter missed four field goals. You put the game in a kicker's hands, er, legs, you pay the price for misses.
The Dolphins want to play games close and win in the fourth quarter. They think they won't lose the game as much as they will win the game.
Typical of this thinking is what quarterback Chad Henne said in this Miami Herald story that when everything is perfect, he can be a very good player.
"If they're giving us the right coverages, and we're in sync and everybody is executing the right way, we can be that kind of team. I can be that kind of player."
Unfortunately for Henne and the Dolphins, stuff isn't always perfect on the field. And that is a flawed approach which has betrayed the Dolphins this year.
Note to Dolphins: How about building a team that can, you know, actually take the fight to the opponent and either run so well or pass so well that they can win the game instead of hope not to lose it?