There are three seasons in Miami: humidity season, soccer season and Dolphins-under-construction season.
We should be within the latter, because the workforce undergoes one other so-called tradition change. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry was shipped off to Cleveland for little in return, linebacker Lawrence Timmons was let go, and stories popping out of the 305 say defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will be released this week. Suh was imagined to be the ballast for the franchise, however Miami ought to have identified when the former Detroit Lion risked his own team’s season in 2014 that he wasn’t going to be the chief they wanted.
The laborious reality is that the Dolphins had no actual North Star in the course of the Suh period, and so they haven’t any clear North Star now. They’ve had no dependable basis since … the Jason Taylor period?
Consider the headlines popping out of South Florida through the years: bullying scandal and the following maelstrom; the stories and retractions over Ryan Tannehill telling scout gamers to “take pleasure in your practice-squad paycheck;” Jay Ajayi getting shipped after a rumored tantrum over taking part in time; and who may neglect former assistant coach Chris Foerster videotaping himself snorting white powder?
All of those incidents level to a necessity for inside self-policing, and that appears to have been missing since earlier than the Joe Philbin period. The incontrovertible fact that stories about Suh’s attainable departure have been met thus far with silence from the workforce signifies that there isn’t a lot loyalty to his approach of main.
What’s particularly jarring about all that is the franchise was once identified for regular management. Even after Don Shula’s legendary run, Jimmy Johnson led the workforce to the playoffs and Dave Wannstedt gained a division title. Since his departure in 2004, although, there was one head coach with an above-.500 file: Todd Bowles at 2-1.
The Dolphins made a press release once they assured $60 million to Suh, however simply as in Detroit, he has been an elite deal with and never a transformational participant. His work ethic has by no means been questioned, however plenty of NFL gamers present up early and go away late. Miami wanted one thing extra. After all, Suh was acquired at a quarterback’s value – and the workforce nonetheless has no franchise quarterback.
Speaking of which, it’s nonetheless laborious to gauge what Tannehill provides. He seemed like he turned a nook earlier than his harm final season, however plenty of that was due to the improved operating sport. Is Tannehill the form of quarterback who can constantly flip a fourth-quarter deficit right into a victory? We nonetheless don’t know.
There are different causes for the workforce’s mediocrity, most notably the continued excellence of the Patriots. But that once more highlights the dearth of management in Miami. Players come and go in New England, however personalities don’t appear to conflict there – a minimum of not in a approach that impacts wins and losses.
From the draft to free company to the season itself, the Dolphins’ path has been constantly inscrutable. A couple of hours up the Florida coast, the Jacksonville Jaguars have change into a run-and-defend contender regardless of their youth. What is the Dolphins’ id? It adjustments instructions as abruptly as an Interstate 95 driver on his cellular phone.
In 2016 it lastly appeared clear: all aboard the J-Train. Ajayi and his 200-yard video games behind a potent offensive line seemed like the trail for the longer term. The workforce made the playoffs. Now, nevertheless, Ajayi is a Super Bowl champion in one other metropolis, and that stalwart offensive line doesn’t look as imposing anymore.
The id concern goes all the way in which to the highest. Team proprietor Stephen Ross is financially dedicated to constructing a winner, however he’s introduced in head coaches with out a lot expertise on the prime of a company. When the bullying scandal spiraled, he recruited an “unbiased advisory group” consisting of NFL legends who didn’t all have robust ties to the franchise. At some level, somebody goes to should take the reins and execute a imaginative and prescient. Is it Gase? That’s one of the best hope for now, however it’s wanting like one other reset and a set of principally new elements.
Perhaps a kind of elements can present a gentle voice within the locker room for lower than $60 million.