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Dolphins lose to (previously) winless Tampa Bay

TAMPA -- Don't ask me to explain this one. Don't ask me to explain this team. Don't ask me to explain this organization.

The Dolphins lost to Tampa Bay on Monday night, 22-19. The Dolphins are lost for reasons well beyond the fact they lost to the previously winless Buccaneers.

Forget for a second the Dolphins rushed for only 2 yards this game, the lowest rushing production of any NFL team since 2007. Forget for a moment they had 70 yards in penalties or that they only converted 4 of 12 third down attempts or that their only rushing first down came on a quarterback sneak.

All that is football. It happens sometimes.

But as I write in my column in Tuesday's Miami Herald, the troubles plaguing this team are deeper. And I'm not even talking about the ongoing Richie Incognito-Jon Martin soap opera.

I'm talking fundamental problems like how the Dolphins in the past month have lost to a glorified practice squad quarterback and a rookie who threw for only 139 yards.

I'm talking about how the Dolphins show no fire. They came out flat against Tampa Bay. If you read this blog or my column Monday you know I expected this team to come together and try to prove a point to everyone.

Well, they proved a point alright.

"Anytime you start out in a 15-0 hole, you're not expecting to do that," cornerback Brent Grimes said. "But we kept playing. We could have easily folded and said, 'No we're not ready for this game. We didn't come out to play.' But we came out slow but kept fighting."

Here's the problem, in this fight, the Dolphins were counter-punching. The Bucs were punching. They were the aggressors.

And yet the players say nothing is wrong. 

"We're a tight-knit team," Grimes said. That's why I'm really confused with people saying this is not a good locker room. This is a great locker room. We were ready to play. We came out and wanted to win but had a slow start. We started off bad and that hurts in this league. We fought back but down the stretch they made plays and we didn't."

"We are a close-knit group on the defensive line, defensively. and the whole team," defensive tackle Jared Odrick said. "The whole team hangs out with [each other]and it's something we brought upon ourselves. We call ourselves a tribe. So you're not going to see a separation of anybody. The more adversity. The closer we get."

Well, these guys will be soon meshing into one another because the mercury is ready to pop through the adversity meter.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is going to make changes. And, reading the signs Monday evening when the owner gushed about Joe Philbin and didn't mention Jeff Ireland until he said the general manager is on some internal policy committee, everyone is seeing that Ireland is looking more and more like the scapegoat.

This goes with my report Monday afternoon that said if Ross makes changes, he's more likely to keep Philbin than Ireland. I have a problem with this approach. I hope the Dolphins don't go that way.

It's clear, however, something is going to be done eventually. I'm just not sure it's going to be the right move. Can you blame me?

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