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2011 starting to resemble 2004 and 2007

Chad Henne is done for the season. He has been told he will require season-ending shoulder surgery and expects to have that surgery next week, a source has confirmed to The Herald's Barry Jackson.

The Dolphins are working on adding quarterback Sage Rosenfels to replace Henne on the roster, a source tells me. Rosenfels needs to pass the team's physical, which is the only hurdle left for him before rejoining the Dolphins.

And this is starting to feel more and more like the disaster of a season I've already covered in Miami before.

What do I mean by that?

This season is feeling a lot like 2004. This season is feeling a lot like 2007.

This season, only a month old and still 12 games from being complete, is every day looking more and more like one of the worst seasons in Dolphins history.


Those other seasons had a theme. They had a vibe to them. They had certain characteristics to them.

And this one is starting to be just like them.

Those terrible, awful, forgettable seasons included starts that simply didn't feel right: 2004 started with the surprise Ricky Williams pulled when he walked away less than two weeks before the start of training camp. 2007 also began in uncomfortable fashion. Cam Cameron frayed nerves with veterans such as Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor immediately, was off-putting with the press, and was caught unprepared for the start of camp when Daunte Culpepper was still around in the locker room and on the field despite the team's intentions to get rid of him.

This year? Well, the lockout and labor strife put the Dolphins behind the proverbial eight ball. The club seemed unprepared to get things done right away. While the New England Patriots were able to trade for a player such as Chad Ocho Cinco and get him on the field immidiately (because they didn't need to redo his contract right away), the Dolphins traded for Reggie Bush but he had to miss the first couple of weeks or practice under the new CBA because they did have to do a new contract with the running back.

Even after new players joined the practices the big focus was Miami's seach for a new quarterback instead of the players on the field. That much-anticipated search for a quarterback capable of challenging Henne failed to turn up a QB capable of the competion.

In the midst of that, Henne heard chants of "We want Orton" from Miami fans.

And fans stayed away from practices that were open and free in ways they had not before.

Then there was the disatisfaction with the head coach. In 2004, fans were done with Dave Wannstedt. They had grown tired of his double-speak and failure to deliver improvement. In 2007, folks scratched their heads when Cam Cameron declined to coach in the final preseason game so that his assistant Dom Capers (who had more NFL head coaching experience) could take over and get the feel for being head coach -- a strategy meant to guard against Cameron having to miss a game for family reasons or in case of some other emergency.

This year, folks had Tony Sparano on the hot seat before one game was played because Stephen Ross unwittingly put him on that seat last January with his Jim Harbaugh flirtation.

Ther are more common themes.

There are the quarterback problems, of course.

In 2004, it was a misbegotten competiton between Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley. In 2007, it was the misbegotten acquisition of Trent Green to be the starter -- a move that caused Jason Taylor to utter the famous words, "scrambled eggs," in reference to Green's brain which had suffered several concussions including a season-ender the year before.

This year? I think we already know half the folks out there wanted the team to draft or sign a franchise type quarterback and the club intended to do just that. Then failed to do just that.

Then the injuries came.

In 2004, it began with starting WR David Boston, then starting DT Larry Chester, then starting RB Lamar Gordon (after he played his one an only quarter for the Dolphins), then Junior Seau, then Miami lost Fiedler for the season, then Yeremiah Bell was gone. The other member of the starting backfield, fullback Rob Konrad, went on season-ending IR later. The fact linebacker bust Eddie Moore went on IR later was less about hurting the talent on the roster and something more akin to being fitting for the abortion that was the season.

2007 followed similar themes on the injury front. Starting safety Yeremiah Bell blew out his Achilles' tendon. Then Trent Green suffered a concussion trying to make a block on a broken play (a fumble by Tedd Ginn) and was lost for the year. Then Ronnie Brown blew out a knee trying to make a tackle on another interception the following week. Then starting strong safety Renaldo Hill blew out a knee trying to stop Randy Moss from scoring a touchdown and Cameron Worrell suffered an injury on the same play. Then Worrell was later placed on injured reserve. Then Zach Thomas was placed on IR with migraines, effectively ending his Dolphins career. And Channing Crowder was not far behind, out for the season one week later. Then Andre Goodman went out for the year.

This year?

Obviously Henne is the biggest hit so far. He was placed on injured reserve after blowing out his left shoulder on a broken play. A broken play, I say.

Jake Long is playing injured and not at his usual high level. Karlos Dansby is playing injured and not at his highest level. Daniel Thomas has missed two of his career's first four games with a hamstring pull. Vontae Davis couldn't finish the first two games of the season and then couldn't start either of the last two games because of various malfunctions. Safety Chris Clemons hasn't been right all season and that's why he hasn't been a factor.

And we're only one month in!

There are other themes that make up a catastrophic season. One of those is dysfunction at the top -- with much of it the team's own making.

In 2004, Dave Wannstedt lost his "Final Say" powers to Rick Spielman when owner Wayne Huizenga instituted that change. It was awkward because Wannstedt had hired Spielman and had been Spielman's boss since 2000. Now Spielman was telling Wannstedt what was going to happen on the personnel front.

Spielman went out and got A.J. Feeley from Philadelphia for a second-round pick. Wannstedt wanted to start Jay Fiedler. It didn't go well. I wouldn't say they argued. It was more a passive-aggressive tug of war.

In 2007, Cameron forced Randy Mueller to trade for Green. Mueller wasn't enthusiastic about the move but did it anyway because he figured the coach deserved to have his QB. Mueller, in turn, pretty much forced Cameron to take back Ricky Williams because the team needed running back help midseason. Cameron hated the idea but lost that battle.

It was an odd pairing. Nope, it didn't work.

This year, I have reported for some time that the friendship coach Tony Sparano and general manager Jeff Ireland once shared is no more. They are not friends. They are now strictly involved in a professional venture and trying to work as professionally with one another as possible.

Neither really trusts the other. It is what it is.

In 2004 and 2007, as the losses began, the chippy nature of team staff with the media grew with each passing week.

Wannstedt hated The Herald and made us to be the villians with players and assistants. I guess he didn't like the fact I reported how he had an assistant coach mutiny before the season when Joel Collier had to step down as offensive coordinator for personal reasons.

So Wannstedt gave the job to Marc Trestman. But offensive line coach Tony Wise hated Trestman and threatend to leave and take some other assistants with him if the promotion stood. So Wannstedt, who had given Trestman the job one afternoon, took it away the next morning. He promoted Chris Foerster instead.

I found out and that made the Herald the villian. Wannstedt told players the media in general and The Herald in particular was at the root of their problems. He made what should have been a professional working relationship into an adversarial one.

(NOTE: Wannstedt was not aware making The Herald and me into an enemy is not smart.)

Some players followed the coach. Others didn't buy in. Division followed. Wannstedt lost the locker room.

In 2007, Cameron was off-putting with the media from the beginning. He believed himself always the smartest man in any room he walked into. He talked down to the media. He misdirected. He made it very clear it was "us against them."

As the 2007 Dolphins had trouble winning any "us against them" matchup, division followed. Players mocked the coach for spending more time reading the Internet than actually curing the problems that were being written about on the Internet. Cameron had no friends in the media. Had no friends in the locker room. And ultimately found himself on an island -- with no friends anywhere.

Not smart.

This year? Well, the Dolphins have fostered an anti-media stance since Bill Parcells took over. That is no secret. Parcells used the media as a foil to rally the troops. But it was done with sophistication. Even as he told his people to avoid the media he made friends in the media and always got his message out the way most favorable to him and the team.

He was in a word, shrewd, in his approach. It worked for him particularly because the man is a future Hall of Famer and has Super Bowl rings.

When he left, Parcells told the team -- including coaches and personnel people -- to stay together and not splinter. (It's too late for that now. Folks went in different directions last January.)

Anyway, this group has its media issues already. Inside linebacker Kevin Burnett and a Sun-Sentinel reporter had an issue last week when Burnett complained publicly about something the reporter had tweeted. The issue apparently is not resolved even after the two men met for about 30 minutes earlier this week. Burnett has even had conversations with teammates about the reporter, as if gathering information on a reporter is a wise use of time when there seem to be other more pressing issues to attend to.

Like, say, finding ways to make more tackles.

Leaks are springing everywhere. Even today, one person in the personnel department leaked to ESPN's Adam Schefter the list of QBs -- other than Sage Rosenfels, Brodie Croyle and Trent Edwards -- the club seriously discussed when deciding on a replacement for Henne.

The source, whose name I know because other people in the organization have told me he's leaking stuff to Schefter, told ESPN the Dolphins looked at Kellen Clemens, JP Losman, Jim Sorgi and Charlie Frye before settling on Rosenfels.

Makes you really confident about Rosenfels, doesn't it?

Look, everyone has sources. I have a couple. But as much as I want my sources telling me stuff, there is a gulf between the kind of source that speaks on background to provide information favorable to the team or correct facts, and the kind of loser that gives a blow-by-blow account of a chase for a quarterback replacement that paints the team as desperate and even inept. It's lame and cowardly, really.

Finally, the last common theme I can think of that followed the 2004 and 2007 seasons and now seems to be following in 2011 is the unexpected total state of suck.

The Dolphins were 4-12 in 2004. Terrible. But you must remember they were 10-6 in 2003 so the drop to 4-12 was sudden, unexpected and painful.

The Dolphins were 1-15 in 2007. But in 2006, they opened the year as Sports Illustrated's Super Bowl pick. There was optimism the year before and the 2007 team seemed plenty talented -- with Jason Taylor coming off a Defensive Player of the Year award, with the secondary seeming solid, the receivers mostly a veteran group and multiple high draft picks offering optimism. And yet ... they were terrible to a degree never matched in Dolphins history.

This year is only a quarter way through. But it is surprising to what depths Miami has already fallen. The defense, good a season ago, has rolled off the table. The running game that was supposed to be rebuilt is still under construction at best. Reggie Bush hasn't produced and I don't think he's even being used in a correct role.

It has been so bad that even with Henne not being the liability he was the past two seasons, the Dolphins have not been very good on offense.

I'm not saying the rest of the season will mirror the nuclear winters that the franchise suffered in 2004 and again in 2007. But, geez, the building common themes are sobering.