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Dolphins standards must regain former levels

Welcome back ....

When last we convened seven days ago, the Dolphins had hopes of running the table en route to a 9-7 season. There were whispers the team had found a quarterback. There was a movement among some fans that maybe, just maybe, this administration was right all along and it might merit another year.


Today, this Dolphins' season turns for home and we already know 2011 will mark the third consecutive season this administration fails to post a winning record. That is disappointing by any measure.

Remember when these guys were new?

Remember what happened after that magical, fateful 2008 season? After winning 11 games and the AFC East, Bill Parcells went on ESPN during the Super Bowl and proclaimed the team wasn't good enough. He said that despite the 11-5 record, everyone in the organization knew they weren't there yet and much work needed to be done.

What would he say now?

That not-good-enough 11-5 has been followed by two seasons under. 500 and this year, which will be a break-even event at best. (No it won't because the Dolphins aren't done losing, but that's just a prediction.)

Judging by 2008 standards, these guys suck.

But I would say to you the Dolphins would not agree with that because they have lowered their own standards in recent years.

Whereas you never heard how hard the team played in 2008, I've been hearing that spoken of as some sort of feat worthy of applause way too often this year. Whereas players that didn't execute got benched or cut in 2008 (remember Chris Crocker, Derek Hagan, Ernest Wilford), now guys that do something to hurt the team in eight of 11 games (Marc Colombo) keep their starting job and the coach defends them with gusto.

I got news for these folks running the Dolphins: Nobody gives a flip that players are playing hard. That is assumed in the NFL. It is merely the starting point. These men are getting paid. That means that by playing hard, they are doing the bare minimum portion of their jobs.

South Florida knows football. It is football country. It produces more football players per capita than any place in the United States and third overall behind Texas and California. We do not accept that a player paying hard is an accomplishment. Activity does not equal accomplishment.

Accomplishment equals accomplishment.

Playing hard is what 90 percent of NFL teams do every week.

Playing well is what winning NFL teams do.

Mention playing hard and my eyes roll to the back of my head in boredom. Mention playing well and if you have proof of it, you've said something worth paying attention to and worth sitting up straight for.

But, of course, the Dolphins are giving us precious little worth sitting up for. It says something when the stories that draw the biggest interest on this and other Dolphins sites are stories about what is coming next year -- be it in the form of the next quarterback, the next coach, the next general mananger or the next uniform scheme.

This year? You basically stopped buying the propaganda in October. You know that what the Dolphins are putting on the field every week truly is not good enough by NFL standards. Not good enough playing. Not good enough coaching. Not good enough drafting. Not good enough owning. Not good enough ticket-selling. Not good enough fight song playing. Not good enough anything.

The Dolphins have seemingly lowered their standards and I fear many fans and some journalists have bought into the thinking.

Folks, 8-8 is not good. It is mediocre at best. The truth is Don Shula was coaxed into retirement because he couldn't do consistently better than 10-6. Dave Wannstedt was reviled because he kept missing the playoffs with 10-6 records. And now we're ok with 8-8?

Some people, stunningly, are apparently comfortable with 8-8 as the status quo. They're good with inconsistency or mediocrity. They've been numbed into such thinking.

Some fans see a quarterback play well for three games and find a way to forget the three previous terrible starts. Worse, some fans see three nice games by a quarterback and believe he's the answer longterm because they've not seen anything close to an answer for nearly a decade.

Some journalists likewise see mediocrity and call it good. I read somewhere that Miami's 2011 rookie class was doing a job well done on its own merits. Stop. Mike Pouncey is doing a great job. Period. End of story.

Daniel Thomas has been inconsistent and has basically proven zero this year. Thomas hasn't shown enough to suggest he'll be a rushing leader in three years any more than he's shown enough to convince me he won't be out of the league. He's still a question mark. Charles Clay is coming on lately and has fine potential but that doesn't change the fact he was invisible until late October. Clyde Gates has been, with two notable exceptions, unexceptional on kickoffs and he is nowhere ready to play on offense. Jimmy Wilson has been excellent on special teams and everything you would ask of a seventh-round pick. Considering the investment and draft position, Wilson might be the next best rookie behind Pouncey or third behind Pouncey and Clay.

That is not a job well done overall. Acceptable, yes. But that's it.

I must say, not everything is terrible. Brandon Fields is outstanding. Brandon Marshall is having a good year. Davone Bess is among the NFL's better slot receivers. The left side of the offensive line is very good most weeks. Cameron Wake has been solid and Jared Odrick is getting better. Yeremiah Bell is a sledgehammer in the secondary.

I'm also impressed with the job coaches have done with Matt Moore. He is a better player today than in July when he came to the Dolphins. That says something good about him and the men teaching him. (It doesn't say he's the future, however.)

I'm sure I'm missing some things to point out as outstanding. But I'm sure I'm also missing some things that are highly troubling and questionable as well.

(For instance, no one last week brought up the two-point conversion coach Tony Sparano opted not to try when the team went up 15-10 vs. Dallas. The two-point conversion chart says go for 2. Sparano followed the chart in the Denver game when his team went up 12-0. Why not follow it this time? I don't know if Sparano has been asked that question. I know I haven't seen an answer.)

Further evidence the standards around here are lower.


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Dr. R,
Not wildly optimisitic at all. Kyle Orton is proof. Proven mediocre, hadn't won anything, and was shopped for a 2nd rounder. Almost, but not quite. Most teams were talking 3rd rounder. Considering Moore has parallels to Orton, I'm not going wild at all.
But, I think your scenario is far more likely. He will be traded after a year most probably.

Craig, I can see one team ahead of us trading down for sure. There will be a run on qbs in the top 10. Teams will not fool around hoping their qb drops to them. The position is a highly sought after commodity and the dolphins should just target the one guy they want and pay whatever price it costs. Can't afford to cheap out here at all.

Mando to answer a question you posed in your previous post, the 2 point conversion chart should not come into play in the third quarter.That is way too early given the amount of time left and the many ways missing that single point can come back and bite you in the rear end should the 2 point try fail.The Denver game you brought up being a prime example.Had Sparano taken the one point instead of unsuccessfully going for 2 Miami most likely wins the game.

Sparano has to go. He lost the game against Dallas. With 4:50 left in the game and the Dolphins had the ball, all they needed to do is get two or three first downs, and game over. Instead he played it "safe" and ran the ball into the line when everyone in Dallas was expecting and HOPING they would run it into the line. His goal is to get first downs. It was perfectly set up for a play-action pass. And not just one, but three or four. Then after you get three first downs, then you run it into the line because there is no time left in the game. Don Shula used to play it "safe" too, and he lost a lot of games he should have won. Bill Belechik would never have done that. He continues to run his offense and get more points. That is the only way to "protect" a lead, by adding to it.

Armando, I am not a fan of this article. Look at the team stats compared to out oppenets. We are dead even or ahead in almost every catagorey. It is obviously a coaching problem. Tony can't call a game to save his life. Last weak was painful knowing that we were going to lose at the end. Change a couple of players(ie. cut Columbo) and get a coach who knows how to win(Jim Harbaugh) and we are contenders.
I like jamaicanhero's plan, but I would probably draft a QB also.

Bravo Salguero !!
At last, one great piece of objective criticism.
Hope that the Dolphins see this column. Specially, this infamous "journalist" Andy Cohen.
Nothing to say, I totally agree with you.
Well..., yes, I will say something: you wonder why Sparano didn't try a a 2 point conversion at 15-10. I'd even add, why Sparano didn't try any 4th down in the last offensive of the Dolphins? The answers to those questions are very simple: Sparano doesn't have any guts whatsoever ! He's so afraid of winning that he saves his greedy poor margin at all costs, no matter if the season (playoffs) was already over long time ago. He's a coward as head coach. He lacks two...you know what, as simple as that.

Don't forget Hartline...it's not his fault they haven't thrown to him as much...





moore cannot make a clutch throw, period. the coaches make it harder by calling the same dink and dunk plays. I will give you my phone number and i will stay on the phone with you during every play and call it, i promise. THE MIAMI DOLPHINS HAVE BEEN PREDICTABLE FOR 15 YEARS. Can we get some coaches (or a QB) who can mix it up and call plays based on the defense?

Nothing matters. Our opinions, insights, the only thing that matters is what Mr.Ross thinks. He is the owner. He is the one that needs to see the product at 3-8 and decides if he wants changes or not. He needs to stop thinking that bringing back an old school coach will solved the problem. He needs to bring a young energetic coach-CHUDZINSKI. Needs to get him a real GM. Needs to draft the QB of the future. Let him keep Nolan as DC. New blood, new ideas, new leadership.

It's been proven time and again, you must have a franchise Quarterback to be a competitive! We don't have one! It's that simple!

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