My column today asks the simple question, "Are the Dolphins more talented than their record or are they a team that is performing about where their talent should have them?
The answer you get is important because, as I write, it will determine the future of coaches, players, and members of the personnel department when this season is over.
Simply, if the Dolphins are performing up to their talent, then the personnel department has betrayed this team because that has translated to a 4-8 record. If, on the other hand, the Dolphins are more talented than their record, then you must look at the players and coaches and ask, "What happened the first two months of the season when you were 0-7?"
Your opinion on the topic is important -- hence a comments section. But owner Stephen Ross has final say and his answer is the one that determines the future of the franchise. My column tells you which way Ross is currently leaning.
I do not tell you in the column what I think on the topic. My purpose in that space is simply to enlighten you on the situation.
Iin this space I do want to tell you where I stand on the question.
I believe the Dolphins are not nearly talented enough to compete for a playoff spot. I don't see them as more talented than New England. I don't see them more talented than the New York Jets. And early in the year when the Buffalo Bills were healthy, it could be argued those two teams were a wash as far as talent is concerned.
I believe the Dolphins are talented as in 8-8 talented. But this personnel department thinks Miami is playoff talented. And I simply don't see that.
I didn't see evidence of that in 2010. I didn't see evidence of that in 2009. Frankly, I didn't see evidence of it in 2008 until Chad Pennington fell from the sky.
Simply, I think coaches are now getting out of the Dolphins about what the talent will allow.
The reason for that is I don't see a great set of pass rushers -- but rather one solid rusher and not much on the other side of the formation. I don't see a great playmaking free safety. I don't see an elite quarterback. I don't see a No. 2 wide receiver that stretches the field. I don't see a punt return threat.
I see a right side of an offensive line that was pieced together one week into training camp, almost as an afterthought.
Pro Bowl players? On this team, none outside of Jake Long are perennial.
Who else? Marshall wasn't in the Pro Bowl last year. Despite having a nice year this one, he will have to battle Mike Wallace, Wes Welker, and A.J. Green for a spot on the AFC roster this year.
The point is the Dolphins have nice players. Several of them. But what grand, shining talent do they have? Who is their Calvin Johnson, or Jimmy Graham, or DeMarcus Ware, or LeSean McCoy or Patrick Willis?