« Ireland: Big is good, big and fast is better, and fast is a must | Main | And Sun Life needs a partial roof why? »

How far from best are the Dolphins in the AFC East?

You know the joke: One Dolphins fan asks another if he thinks the team is close to a championship. The other guy answers he is convinced the Dolphins are indeed close.

"We're just an offense away," the guy says.

Well, the topic of how close the Dolphins are or are not came up, in part, in my Sunday column. Several members of the Dolphins make the point in the column that they believe they are quite close. You'll learn immediately how close one person believes Miami is to the Jets and Patriots.

I never really got into a debate with the folks about how close they think they are or aren't. What's the point? It's just an opinion. And opinions are cheap.

The fact is the Dolphins thought themselves pretty close last year when owner Stephen Ross talked about going to the Super Bowl and coach Tony Sparano agreed at the team's awards dinner. They were wrong. The Dolphins were no closer than the year before.

So, frankly, the opinion in-house at Dolphins camp can be questioned.

My opinion? Hahahaha.

I picked the 2007 Dolphins to go 10-6. They were 1-15. Would you believe I was just a year ahead of schedule on my prediction?

Anyway, I'm dreadful at such predictions.

But a consensus opinion is something different.

If you, Miami's intelligent fans, combine your good thinking and come to a consensus, maybe you're better judges of just where the Dolphins find themselves today. Obviously, today is not the day that matters. The Dolphins will draft and there will be some sort of free agency and trade period.

But today gives us a baseline. Today tells us how far the Dolphins must advance this offseason.

So tell me: How far are the Dolphins from winning the AFC East, for example? Maybe if we combine all your comments, we can reach a consensus.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How far from best are the Dolphins in the AFC East?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


DB, hasn't special teams been a problem since they got here? That is phase 3 of the total team transformation to be started in 2012.

LA Phins,

I disagree. I believe we're only one great draft and 1-2 fa signings away from being a serious playoff contender. We may possibly be 2-3yrs to being a serious championship contender.

Now, that I'll agree too! LOL........

In 2-3 years Wake & Dansby will be past their prime and we'll have to start retooling all over again.

DB not with Henne as starter. Sry he's not it.

A better O line will make the running backs and the Q back(Henne) better. Mankins would be HUGE!!

Joe Shmoe,

Many may not pay attention but Carpenter is the biggest problem on kickoff coverage. Did he have even 2 touchback kicks the entire season?

A lot of his kickoffs are low and short, that's death to a coverage team. Brandon Fields at times outkicks coverage, then at times doesnt get enough heigth on kicks.

Now the blocked field field goals and punts can be placed on scheme and blocking issues. But that didnt rear its ugly head until basically this season.

You say there's been st's issues for 3 seasons now. Just think about the constant with that is we've had the same punter and k/o specialist too. Great punt and k/o returners will greatly help too.

I think the Dolphins are close. The Dolphins need to give the ball to Ronnie Brown more. He must have at least 20 carries. If they the can improve the offense of line, ILB (Crowder is not the answer) and add some speed they should contend for the division.

The This team reminds me of the ravens team that won the super bowl with only defense. Only problem is that our o-line is no where as good and the QB player worst for us, plus the game has changed since then and passing is a must in today's NFL. I think we are an 8-8 team right now. If we had an eilte QB then and half way decent line we could play in a super bowl. However, miami will never find such a QB. We will have to up grade the o=line cause you win in the trenches and add speed and explosiveness to the offense. Keep building the defense, its young so will get better. Defense could use a true NT, another insider linebacker (chowder is just OK), depth at outside linebacker misi has to develop, add an impact safety (bell is aging) and the defense will keep you in game like this year, but this offense will lose them if we don't improve. If everything break right 2-3 years but that will not happen so we may just have to settle for being contenders for the playoffs.

stop passing on players like matt ryan, patrick willis and dez bryant. Instead of them, we went for jake long (good pick) ted ginn jr and that defensive tackle we drafted last year, i dont even remember his name hahaha. oh yeah, jared odrick! over dez bryant???? come on guys.....if we stop wiffing with our draft picks, than maybe we can build a solid team. who knows....im not expecting much though.

Garo Yepremium was one of the weakest legged kickers we ever had here. Still he had far more touchback kicks than Ive ever seen from Carpenter. Only reason Carpenter's here is because of field goal accuracy.

Carpenter has to be one of the absolute worst kickoff kickers in the league. Too many returnable kicks!

Unless Henne plays like an above average QB next year, 2012 at the earliest to win division.

We need a good QB and different offensive mindset. We have a good solid base but lack the leader at QB. All good teams have a strong personality at QB. If we ever had a two-minute drill at the end of the game we looked lost. We could have beaten Pats and Jets early on, should have beaten Pittsburgh and should have easily beaten Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit at end of year. A good QB would have been the difference. Henne played bad/ extremely conservative in all of those games. A good QB would have had us at 13-3. Yes, it's true. A good QB makes everything else go away.

I think QB is fine, We need to upgrade the O-Line. If we have a top 5 O-Line and a good pass rush, with the talent on this team we can win the AFC East. It is simple that way.

Jake Scott, LOL, hell no my friend. With the O-line play we had last year there is no chance we make the playoffs. Then with the terrible conservative coaching, no chance for anything good with that combination. It was not the QB that caused all the problems last year.

@poizen I agree to an extent. Can't win if he turning the ball over. With a line like you say we become a 1 dimensional team, RUNNING what happens with 8-9 in the box. do you think henne can beat single coverage on a steady bases, not sure of that.

Bong Huffer...great name.

Dying Breed...It is bizzare that Carpenter cannot get the ball in the endzone on kickoffs. He has a strong leg. It is puzzling. I don't think it is a question of scheme. You see a lot of short kickoffs that continue to burn teams.

Carpenter has srtuggled with kickoffs since college. It wasn't a problem because the special teams were so good. I don't know what gives. As far as the blocked kicks. Too many tries from outside of 45 yards. Was it the Buff game where Carpenter missed 3-4? All of them where over 48 yards. They are makeable, but eventually kicks from those distances will go astray. Also you have to kick it a lot lower to get the distance, it is playing with fire.

Db they've been complaining about o-line for more than 3 yrs. With a o-line coach for HC That shouldn't even be a discussion. But it is. I've seen what this team has gone through. And a franchise QB has been passed up many times. Because of these things they can't get right. The problem has been and will always be the bad QB play.

We're not far away, we could have been 9-7, 10-6 or even 11-5 this past year. Get our O-line back, which will fuel the running game, which will then complement the passing game. Henne will improve, and this need for a speed threat on the outside is overrated. A good running game gives any WR an extra step, and I think Hartline is that guy (moreso because he runs terrific routes than he is Ginn-like) and a new offensive philosophy will hopefully open it up a bit.

gonna take 2 years to rebuild offense

I believe we need a kicker with a far stronger kickoff leg than Carpenter. If we have to sacrice a little field goal accuracy to greatly improve our kickoff coverage. Im all for it and you guys should be too.

Youve seen our st's coverage the last 3 seasons. Low and short kickoff are coverage nightmares no matter how the great the st's personel is.

New England and Miami are building for the future because they are rebuilding through the draft. Both teams are young and have alot of upside.

The Jets arn't as far as people make them out to be. They have like 18 free agents and players last year willing to holdout because they want new contracts. Impossible to have all their players back. Just old players & free agents, No upside.

DB: perhaps it's my distrust with Sparano that has tainted my POV. We all thought that getting Marshall and Dansby meant we were serious contenders. We quickly found out how badly Henning screwed up both the offense and Henne. Let's not forget the constant churning of OLine and ST as well. So in other words, players are not just the sole factor. Coaching and roster selection play key roles too. And this blog spent months complaining how bad coaching and play calling was during the season. The new offensive coaching staff is still "wait-and-see" - so let's not discount how critical they'll be. But, hey, I like your optimism. I hope you are right that we are only one great draft and 1-2 FA away from being serious contenders.

LAPhins, you hit the nail on the head buddy. It's well-known what it takes to be an elite team. First, you need to learn how to win close games during the season to get to the Playoffs (takes a few years to do that, sometimes can be done in 1 or 2 years). Then you need to learn how to win a Playoff game (that takes a few tries to gain experience). Then you need to learn how to win deep into the Playoffs, and finally you need to learn how to win the ultimate game.

So, to be a "serious" Playoff team, you're on the low end, but yes, it'll take AT LEAST 2-3 years just to do that. That's if all your ducks are in a row (and we all know Miami's ducks are not all in a row).

So, I sadly state my prediction as more lengthy than yours, that we'd need 4-5 years to be serious Playoff contenders. That'll give the young guys time to mature and gel. It'll give our offense time to develop and play consistently. And it'll give our defense time to solidify to a force year in/out and not a 1-time success.

Also, that's not 4-5 years from '08, it's 4-5 year from NOW (so 2016, sometime around there). Sounds like forever and a day, right? That's why we can't waste too much time on Chad Henne or Tony Sparano or Jeff Ireland. We need to figure out if this is the direction we're going (and if we're going in the right direction), and if not, we need to make moves to get to the right direction.

I do think Henne can beat single coverage, I just don't know if he has "IT" meaning the ability to step up be the guy, shut BM up when he goes on his 2 year old rants. Not sure about his mental toughness. He has the talent.

He needs an O where he can make his steps, not someone forcing him to make what they think the right steps are.

The Mannings go out and run their own progressions and ideas with the playbook and coaches as a guide Same with Brady, Shaub, Rivers.......

Henne is going to need that freedom. If he blows it then, then i agree he is not going to be any good.


With the oline problems(which are entirely fixable this season), the lack of an explosive TE, rb, and #2 wr to compliment Marshall. Then throw in the horrible st's play and horrible play we had from the nickel corner position( Im not going to even mention dropped picks).

Even if we had one of the top 5 franchise qb's we would have struggled to reach 9-7. Im saying under all the adversities contributed to losing in other areas of our team. A franchise qb struggles to get us 2 more wins.

Making Henne sound like the primary problem doesnt fix other glaring needs we had in 2010. Henne just may have contributed to not being able to pull out 2 more a victories a franchise qb may have given us.

We've missed playoffs with Dan Marino under center. Remember that dolphans. Even a franchise qb needs something great to work with.

If you look at every playoff team that made the playoffs. They all had solid O-Lines.

This team was closer at the end of 2008 then they are now. They need more help now at more positions after two more years of drafts and free agency. Parcells and Ireland have been dreadful in their personnel decisions and Sporano just takes whatever you give him. He doesn't know talent from dud. This team is never getting better until someone else is in charge of their drafting and their coaching. Field Goal Tony should already be gone.

No doubt your right DB, but all I'm saying is this team needs a leader. And the QB position is where they need it. It's where the fans need it also. IMO they are wasting everones time with Henne. He is not accurate and nor is he a the leader this team desperately needs.

DB, how do you explain the horrid kick return game? Not coverage team, the return team. Shall we blame the KR & PR also?

I'm tired of making excuses. Sparano, Tuna & Ireland have botched the Offense, Defense & Special teams with their outdated philosophy, conservative approach & roster flexible players.

The sooner we realize this, the better. In today's NFL, it is extremely rare to have to revamp all 3 phases of your team in consecutive seasons.

Some of you guys are hilarious. The Jets now have 2 more years of experience than us in getting to the Championship game. Actually, they have more experience in those 2 years as our team has had in 3 decades. Yet, somehow, some here think we can just leap to the top of the charts in 1-2-3 years, lol. Using what, our x-ray vision and Spiderman super-human strength? Are you guys all comic book nerds or what?

Miami hasn't WON a Playoff game in what, a decade? Two? But somehow, miraculously, some feel we can be a consistent Playoff contender in 1-2 years.

What a joke! Look, you love your team, that's nice, I get that. But, don't pull stuff out of your arses to try and blow up some poor poster's head on here.

If it was so easy GETTING to the Playoffs, let alone WINNING in the Playoffs, Miami would have more than 2 appearances this decade. It's not easy, and it's certainly not easy for THIS team.

henne could be very good, problem is Ross is too cheap to invest the way the jets did last year

LA Phins,

IMO, that's why we cant singulary place the greatest amount of fault on Henne. Yes he does deserve some and may never be a franchise qb.

Offensively we went into the season assuming Hartline would blossom along side of Marshall and the same would happen with Fasano. Well it didnt happen. In the process the offense was fully exposed for having a severe lack of game breaking speed at all of the skill positions.

On top of it all, offense wasnt the only problem. St's( and at times scheming), play calling, Sparano's clock management issues, problems getting to qb without blitzing outside of Cameron Wake, and getting off of the field defensively on 3rd downs.

The defensive 3rd and long problems due to lack of pressure without blitzing except for Wake and Sapp was horrible in in nickel coverage compounded by Carroll wasnt ready to take over the position like they hoped.

That's why we ended up making the trade for Sapp-sucker. LOL............

DC, many of the key components on the Jets who helped them get far are all due to be FA's. I'm clearly not one of these blind fans who thinks we can do much the next year or 2 but don't bring up the Jets. They have about 18 guys set to leave. Even if half those stay, it's hard to replace all that in 1 year with so much uncertainty & keep things going. Especially since alot of their team are older...they are going downhill, not up.

Dying..Actually, Carpenter was suprisingly decent at touchbacks this year. To my suprise There where 15 kickers with more then 65 kickoffs that had less then Carpenters Total of 14. In fact none of the kickers in the final 4 had more then 10. What this says is that the coverage is just bad. There were only a handful of kickers that had more touchbacks then we did last year(I'm looking at teams that had more then 65 kickoffs)Many did not. So maybe this isn't just a Carpenter problem, but a coverage problem.

I think we are an OC away. Play calling wa horrible the last couple of years. With the amount we pay our O line we need to justify it by running down opposition's throats. We need a RB that's a pounder inside to punish all who stands in his way, like Brandon Jacobs then follow it up by a speedy RB. We need a WR who blazes, a TE who blocks and catches, and for God sakes a QB who does not stare down his WR!

Joe Shmoe,

Carroll began to get better on k/o returns near season's end. Bess is still the most reliable punt returner we have despite being very little threat to break one.

Even though we have faster guys than Bess to put at returning punts. Its scary as hell for coaches and fans to see a catch bobbled or hit the ground.

Until we find that speed guy who doesnt scare hell out of us at times that way. We'll still play it safe with Bess. At least if a guys bobbles or fumbles a kickoff he has more time to re-gather himself or recover the ball.

On punt returns the gunners are right on top of you the instant you catch the ball. So there's even less margin for error than on kickoffs. There you have it! LOL..........


I must have went to take a whiz on 13 of Carpenter's 14 touchback kicks. I only remember just seeing one! LOL.............

Joe, I brought up the Jets to show that it "usually" takes more than once to get it right (winning in Playoffs). Jets, as you correctly stated, had a bunch of experienced players on their team, and couldn't win the Championship game in even 2 chances. But the more you get to that game, the more experience you have knowing what needs to be done to win it (and dealing with the emotions, etc.). So, I was saying right now the Jets have a better chance of winning that Championship game than we do because they've recently been there twice and learned both times.

Us, on the other hand, are still riding with training wheels. We still are learning how to win in the season to GET to the Playoffs. We had some experience in '08, but since that was only the 2nd time this decade, we didn't know what to do when we got there. Maybe next time we go (provided it's still with a few players from '08) we'll know a little more how to win that first game. But then we'll need to learn how to win that next game (I'm assuming we'll get in the Wildcard game, not the #1 or 2 seed). Then we'll have to learn how to win the Championship game.

So it's a process (was my point). You don't just win out during the season and then you're a Playoff contender (as some here are alluding to). This team doesn't have ANY post-season experience (compared to Indy, Steelers, Ravens, Chargers, Jets, Patriots) so I think we really need to learn how to walk before we run. We should first win enough to make the Playoffs. Then take the small amount of experience we got in '08 to utilize in the next Playoff appearance to try and win that game. And on and on until we can someday hopefully play in the SuperBowl. But it ain't happenin' in 1-3 years. NO WAY NO HOW!

Doesn't matter who's playing for the mighty air-breathers, As long as the fist pumper is head coach dont look for anything better then the last 2 years 7 and nine, They lost to Buffalo,Cleveland and Detroit the last month of the season... At Home...

Finphrock, actually, this team wasn't close in '08 either. We had an experienced QB who knew what it took to get us to the Playoffs, but nobody knew what to do when we got there.

At least now, our coach knows what to do a little better. Since we don't have Penne in charge, our QB (unless they have experience) will need to relearn what Penne knew. And we have players who were here in '08 that got a taste and won't let the emotions get to them (hopefully).

So I'd say while we're still way, way off, we're closer now than '08 (because experience is what's needed, and now we have more of it).

Oh Yeah I almost forgot, They got crushed by the Pats in the last game of the season.....

All we need is a competent Water Boy!

Is Adam Sandler available?

I also think we should look at Ray Finkle...

We're THAT close!

Good point DC

Dying..I didn't realize this either. I only remember 4-5. Sorry Carpenter. I will never doubt your mullet, or skills again.

Yeah, the Dolphins will be a contender by the time Paris Hilton becomes President.

Armando, as obviated by this past season, the offensive performance needs improvement. The defense, minor tweaking but not a priority. I would like to see more speed on offense, another WR, a Csonka type


The theory of more a team get there and loses the more likely they will break through isnt neccessarily accurate. Sometimes you have to get thier with a better level of talent as Elway and the Broncos finally did.

Im sure the Buffalo Bill, pre-Elway Broncos, and the Minnesota Vikings would greatly dis agree with that logic. However if you can finally get there with greatly upgraded talent your chances of finally kicking the door in becomes significantly greater.

For all of thier mortgaging the Jets will have even less talent in 2011. Just by draft alone we can close the gap on the Jets. We still draft significantly higher than they do this season.

lol Cuban, when's the last time we swept the Bills, that's my question? Until we do that, how can we even THINK of winning in the Playoffs (cause if you can't beat the Bills, who can you beat)?

Can you believe some people here think we can be a consistent Playoff contender in 1-2 years? I almost coughed up a lung laughing at that one.

I really wish the Miami Dolphins would be trailblazers and become the first pro franchise to have an OPENLY gay or lesbian owner or General Manager (I'm sure there are closeted ones).

Look at how successful they are in our society! They tend to be better educated and harder working than the vast majority of Americans and certainly are adept at the type of creative "out of the box" thinking that can transform an organization from ordinary to extraordinary.

I am not a lesbian myself, but as a Dolphins fan I want the best people running the show!

3 years away, with the right moves. Next year we go 9-7 (assuming there's football). If they are going to win the AFC East with Henne it'll be a surprise happening next year. If not we'll find outselves breaking in who ever we get in either this or next years draft.

Personally, I'm hoping for Ryan Mallet.

The O-line needs more durable starters, or better back ups for next year.

We need to get value out of Marshall one way or another. With his disgraceful penchant for taking dumb emotional penalties I think he needs to go after next year. I think Ronnie will be running hard again next year.

This year the focus should be getting Mallet, and shoring up the O-line. Let our young wides improve with Henne, while grooming Mallet, and in 3 years we'll be dominant.

DC, understood. I didn't get your point until you clarified. I'm a lil slow today.

To predict how the Dolphins will fair in 2011 would be to not only understand their strengths and weaknesses after free agency and the draft, but to also understand those of all other 15 AFC teams this year. It's nothing more than a guessing game even by those on the inside that study this stuff.

My guess then would be that we regress to something like 6-10 as the team currently stands, given the shoddy interior offensive line and question marks at the RB position. The defense should get better with another year of experience and cohesion. With some smart offseason acquisitions perhaps the team can climb to 8-8 or maybe even 9-7. But the Jets and Patriots have proven that they are the teams to beat in 2011 and the Bills although dysfunctional looked scary at times throughout the year.

LOL DB, so you're saying you foresee us getting enough talent in 1-2 years to significantly improve our position, not just in our division, but in the entire AFC and NFL? Cause, right now, we're what, 16th (I guess whatever our draft pick is) in the NFL. But in 1-2 years, we'll upgrade that talent to shoot up to Top 6 (which is what you have to be to go to the SuperBowl). So, 10 spots worth of upgrade, considering this year will be up in the air due to the CBA, and also taking our past history into account, not to mention the coaching disaster we averted for a season just a month ago. But, somehow, after ALL that, you see us upgrading that much in 1-2 years?

Just want to make sure, is that seriously your position?

The key to having a much better record this year also relies heavily on a pass rusher stepping up besides Wake and getting much better at the nickel corner position. The defense was still on the field far too long by not being able to get off on 3rd downs.

We play 11 games against the top 13 final ranked 2010 offenses. So this will be just as key as fixing our inept 2010 offense. If both arent fix we're facing lots of double digit loses or high scoring fights to the finish which doesnt always work out your way too.

So remember that in 2011 guys. We need a pass rusher besides Wake to step up and much greater play from the nickel corner position along with an offensive revamp.

aside from coaches and an offense,we are right there! i just hope we stay ahead of the bills who over-achieved with less talent.


I think you forget being a playoff contender also applies to being a wildcard contender. With a good draft and and 1-2 key fa signings we become that in 2011.

No offense but what are sniffing? At least 3 2010 losses can be attributed to st's alone. Even if you call it 2, 10-6 9-7 record makes you a wildcard contender.


Also, just to clarify for everyone, to be a consistent Playoff contender, you have to at least go to 2 Playoff games. So on the basis of the very definition, we couldn't do it in one year. But to do it in two, we have to go to the Playoffs next two years. Anyone seriously think it's Miami's goal to go the Playoffs in 2011? I mean, I know it's always our goal to get into the Playoffs, but does anyone seriously think Miami will contend for a Playoff spot I guess I should say in 2011.

I mean, being a fan (so biased), I still don't see how we win more than 9-10 games in 2011 (barring a miracle). Sorry, I'm trying to be realistic. Even thinking unrealistically, I don't see how we win more than 10 games.



« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »

The comments to this entry are closed.