Today is November 1, 2012. The Dolphins are preparing for a game that is meaningful to them.
How you like them now?
It hasn't been that long since the Dolphins went into November with something riding on the outcome of the coming games. In 2010, the club was 4-3 to start November before finishing 7-9.
But because we often remember what went wrong more than what has gone right, I had to actually remember why there's been such a feeling of dread around the Dolphins to start November -- even with what seemed like a chance to do damage in 2010.
Perhaps it's because last season, In 2011, the Dolphins were 0-7 going into the first week of November and there were "Suck for Luck" calls echoing throughout Miami fandom. In 2009, the Dolphins were 2-4 through October and with Chad Pennington already down for the year and Gibril Wilson still on the roster helping the other teams win, there simply wasn't a ton of optimism surrounding the team.
This year seems different. It feels different.
I'm not saying the Dolphins are going to be a playoff team. Frankly, I'm not sure they'll even be at .500 when all is said and done. But there isn't a feeling of dread over this squad. One is not expecting the next shoe to drop like last season when I was basically reporting weekly updates on whether Tony Sparano was being fired.
This year the club is relevant. Blessed by a favorable schedule, the Dolphins should be in Sunday's game at Indianapolis, the games at home against Seattle and Tennessee, and the Bills don't scare anyone.
So November doesn't loom as a catastrophe month. December does. But November does not. (Keeping it real, folks.)
And that's good for you. That's good for me.
And that's good for the team.
Players report to work happy to be working instead of feeling like its drudgery. Coaches aren't on the hot seat and they can do their jobs better because the players are engaged.
"It’s always fun," coach Joe Philbin said. "I told the players, ‘There’s nothing better in the National Football League than coming to work in November and December and, like you just mentioned, having meaningful games.’ It’s a lot of fun. It gets your juices going as it should. That part of it’s fun, no question.”