Before we start today, let me update you on a roster move: The Dolphins re-signed defensive lineman Ryan Baker to the 53-man roster this morning because they are seemingly concerned about the injury status of Tony McDaniel, who has been injured most of the preseason and got hurt again against Houston. So there's that. With the signing the Dolphins have 52 players on the roster.
The start of the NFL season was an exciting prospect for Joe Philbin and his coaching staff becasue, as they said, the outcome against Houston would be a gauge of where the Dolphins are at this stage of their development.
Well, now they believe they know.
And if the players didn't know based on Sunday's 30-10 loss, Philbin reminded them Sunday night during the 2 1/2 hour flight home from Houston.
"I walked to the back of the plane and visited with players and told them, 'Now you know we're you're at. This is where we are." Philbin said. "The film is what we are right now. And so we have to accept responsibility for that and move forward and improve."
The bad news is the Dolphins are not in the same orbit as a project playoff team and possible Super Bowl contender. The good news?
The schedule offers a chance for better days.
In the next 10 weeks the Dolphins have it pretty good. They have only one playoff team from a year ago crossing their path -- the Cincinnati Bengals. It can be argued they don't run into an elite quarterback during that entire time, depending on what you think of Carson Palmer or Andy Dalton.
The team is also playing at home the next couple of weeks.
Things get easier, people.
Philbin, meanwhile, is hoping that while the opponents get easier his team gets better.
Maybe Ryan Tannehill makes better decisions and makes more accurate throws -- the five passes coaches thought should have been better.
Maybe a defense that suggested it can generate pass rush with Randy Starks helping Cameron Wake actually gets it going. Maybe the offensive line which Philbin said played only "ok" and "average" gets itself together and does well.
Maybe the Dolphins add a couple of veterans. (Philbin said general manager Jeff Ireland continues to search for talent to add to the current roster. A veteran wide receiver is obviously still possible, as Jabar Gaffney continues to be out there.)
Maybe the Dolphins cut down on four give-aways. That is a formula for disaster and Sunday proved that. "We have to do a better job on our end of protection, eye control, throwing it in the open lane," Philbin said.
"This was the first time we had been in an NFL locker room before and getting ready to play in a real game," Philbin said. "So I don't know that I had any ... as I had said to you guys and said to the team, we're looking to have a reference point to find out exactly where we are so I didn't sit around and think, 'we're going to do this, that, and that.' I wanted to find out for myself where we were.
"And I think we've got a group of guys this game's important to. I think they're professional. I think they care. I think we got a lot of work to do. And hopefully they accept responsibility, as did I because I didn't coach the game well enough, nor did they play well enough for us to earn a victory.
"We did not play well enough to earn a victory. But I'm excited about going to work today and going into the team meeting and addressing the situation of where we are and where we're headed and I expect us to play better this week."