Why It’s OK If the Dolphins Don’t Make the Playoffs

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We’re 11 games into the season already. The Dolphins are 7-4 and have won 6 straight. Who would’ve thought that would happen after dropping to 1-3 at the beginning of the season? Well, it’s happening before our very eyes. Miami is also the 6th seed for the AFC Wild Card.

If you aren’t a believer in the Miami Dolphins I would start to. Whether or not the Dolphins make the playoffs this year is irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong. Playoffs would be great mostly due to the fact we haven’t made a playoff appearance since 2008. I would love to see rookie coach Adam Gase gain playoff experience under his belt. And this young Dolphins team would have much to gain as well.

Sometimes in professional sports you need luck on your side. Your organization needs to be in the right place at the right time. Just ask the New England Patriots in reference to drafting Tom Brady in the 6th round. The past 2 decades Miami hasn’t seen much luck at all. Playing in the same division as the legendary tandem of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has made things nearly impossible for this team.

However, things are starting to look up. Tom Brady is 40 years old. He will have to walk away eventually.  Buffalo has been extremely inconsistent over the past few seasons. They look as though they will challenge New England for the division and they fall flat. If Buffalo fails to make the playoffs this year Rex Ryan could lose his job. As for the New York Jets-well, they’re the New York Jets.   

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Coming into this season Dolphins fans were uncertain what to expect. Was hiring a rookie head coach the right move after 4 previous Dolphins coaches failed who happened to be rookie head coaches as well? Is Ryan Tannehill an elite QB that can raise his team on his shoulders and lead them to a win in the 4th quarter? These were the biggest questions marks heading into the season.

I feel these questions have already been answered already. In the past 6 games Ryan Tannehill has only thrown 1 interception. Was it because of the unicorns? I believe partly that it was because of their protection. Tannehill has played solid football the past 6 games. Most importantly the past 2 games he’s played without the help of Pouncey, Albert, and Tunsil. What was the result? He led an unthinkable comeback in L.A. in the last 5 minutes. It doesn’t matter who you play against. Doing that in the NFL today on the road is not an easy task. The last game Ryan Tannehill had arguably his best game of the season (285 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT). Not only is Ryan protecting the football, but he’s making throws were not used to him making. His 47-yard TD pass to Kenny Stills shows that. And the throws that he made to Devante Parker were eye candy even though some ended up being incomplete by a nose hair. Ryan Tannehill has come into his own. He’s using his athletic ability as well to keep defenses off balance. Most importantly he’s shown confidence that he’s lacked in the past.

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It was not easy to swallow that Adam Gase had never been a head coach before in the NFL and the Dolphins had just named him the new head coach. Mike Shanahan would be a safe pick. He knew how to improve QB play and was a veteran head coach. With Miami’s history of hiring rookie coaches and failing miserably to produce wins Shanahan was a no brainer. Shanahan was not selected.

Adam Gase has made some questionable calls during games. Gase still has some growing to do, but he’s made major strides since the beginning of the season. Most importantly, Gase has changed the culture in Miami. We saw it with Dan Campbell briefly, but it was a fluke. With Gase it’s for real. Gase does something that past coaches never did and that’s holding players accountable for mistakes. He also holds himself accountable. The players believe in him. If you have the locker room on your side it makes things a whole lot easier in the NFL. Gase was brought here specifically to improve Ryan Tannehill. It was clear Tannehill regressed last season. Gase is known as a “QB whisperer”. The past 6 games should be an indication that Tannehill’s game has elevated tremendously partly because of Adam Gase’s direction.

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With the playoff hunt heating up in the AFC prepare yourselves for a bumpy ride. Miami flies up the East Coast to play Baltimore who are in the playoff hunt as well. It is uncertain how many games Miami must win these last few weeks to secure a playoff spot. Every game will matter. With the recent sidelining of New England’s Rob Gronkoswki the Dolphins have a chance to make some noise if they make the playoffs.

However, if the Dolphins are unable to enter the playoffs this year don’t be dismayed.  The Dolphins have found their coach. They found their QB. The culture has changed in Miami. The Miami Dolphins’ organization which has been the laughing stock of the NFL the past decade (besides the Cleveland Browns) are finally headed in a direction to get excited about.

 

 

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