"We're not an 0-5 football team."
"There's too much talent on this team for this."
"We're better than our record."
I keep hearing these phrases in the Dolphins locker room. And I don't believe them anymore. The NFL is about producing and getting results and the ideas that Dolphins that are one or two players away from being good and one or two plays away from having a couple of wins don't fly with me anymore.
That's because the Dolphins are a really bad football team right now.
Their 0-5 record screams that.
But here's the troubling part: The Dolphins have been a really bad football team in recent years. They were really awful in 2004 and terrible again in 2007. And people were fired and new people were hired and steps were taken and yet, here we are again.
Right back where we were in 2004 and 2007.
That's the point of my column in today's Miami Herald. The Dolphins have the same record today as they did after five games in both 2004 and 2007. Nothing has changed. We've wasted a bunch of years and a bunch of draft picks and a bunch of resources for, well, nothing.
The organization is running in place -- and going nowhere.
The record so far proves that.
But I decided to take a bit of a closer look at the situatiion. I looked at the rosters of the 2004 and 2007 team to see how close the three teams really come. You know what I found?
Today's Dolphins have no more stars on the roster than the 2007 team except for Jake Long. And the 2004 team was better than this bunch of today.
That speaks poorly of the personnel department that replaced the 2004 crew. And it speaks poorly of the personnel crew that is currently in place. The current personnel department -- headed by GM Jeff Ireland -- has failed to fill a ton of holes.
The free safety hole is glaring and moreso today with Reshad Jones, who is no great shakes to begin with, being out and replaced by Tyrone Culver. The right side of the offensive line is still a work in progress -- as much of the offensive line has been built, torn down, rebuilt, torn down and rebuilt during this current administration -- with none of the construction proving good enough.
Tight end is still a hole. The reach for an alpha receiver in Brandon Marshall has so far backfired. The 2009 and 2010 first round draft picks -- Vontae Davis and Jared Odrick -- are solid players but neither is excellent. The exchange of Kevin Burnett for Channing Crowder has brought a net loss.
The club is paying $12 million to Paul Soliai and he's not playing up to the salary, and there's no youngster behind him that is coming up and can replace him next year when Soliai asks for another $10 million guaranteed plus a nice base salary. Oh, and there's also no future QB on the roster -- still. In four years, this personnel department has failed to find a franchise quarterback as surely as the one in 2007 failed and the one in 2004 failed before them.
Read the column. See if you can make the point after looking at the actual people involved that you'd rather have the roster today or 2004. And see how far this team has really come since 2007. The record so far would suggest not far.