Week 12: A matchup between two lost teams
The Miami Dolphins are currently sitting at 4-7 with an upcoming matchup at home against the Denver Broncos. At one point during this season things looked promising with a 4-2 record. It was around this time that Miami had a stellar 12-0 record in games decided by one score. The Dolphins were known for being clutch and grinding out close games.
At one point around this time Jarvis Landry gave a passionate post-game interview where he stated that everyone should stop doubting the Miami Dolphins. What has occurred since then you ask? The Dolphins have gone on a five-game skid. With each passing week things have looked progressively worse. Morale is at an all-time low.
It seems as though head coach Adam Gase has lost the locker room already. It was not too long ago where Gase had total control of his players and the locker room culture. The future of the team could not have looked brighter. Now, it appears as though his message has fallen on deaf ears.
Players are playing without any sort of discipline. Players and whole units have been called out. The injury bug has taken chunks out of the Dolphins seemingly every week. The fans, players, and coaches have all shown frustration. Pre-season expectations were quite high, but after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s injury things were not the same.
Some fans were able to cling onto hope for the season once quarterback Jay Cutler came out of retirement. Cutler had his best career numbers under Gase. Everyone was looking for the two to rekindle the flame. However, that project has not turned out so well. It is at this point where fans and it seems as though players have decided that the rest of the season is pointless.
Looking onto next year
A win would feel nice, but how much would it benefit the Dolphins in the long-run? It would probably help with the locker room and morale, which is important. However, what could be more beneficial would be to secure a higher draft pick. Improving the morale of the locker room is always a good move, but that can also be done by getting rid of bad apples.
As things currently stand the Dolphins own the 8th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. There are plenty of glaring positions of need and this looks to be a draft class that is loaded with talent. If Gase has truly lost the locker room and the confidence of the fans, it may be time to restore it by building through the draft.
The 2017 NFL Draft was a success for Miami. Players like Cordrea Tankersley, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor, and Charles Harris have all been able to make regular contributions for Miami. Had middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan not been injured in training camp he would have been a large contributor, as he earned a starting job.
If Miami can have another solid draft this time around just like the last one that could go a long way in building the team in Gase’s vision. Right now it seems as though he is working with broken parts and scraps. Gase may have lost this team and season, but things can change quickly in the National Football League.
Both the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams have been able to go from mediocre to great in a short time period with great draft classes. The same can happen for Miami as long as they prepare adequately, make the right choices, commit to developing their young players and utilize them well.
Maintaining the winning culture in a losing time
#InGaseWeTrust was a popular hashtag not too long ago. It can make a comeback in the near future if the Dolphins are able to be self-reflective and make the right moves going forward. Not everyone will be made happy, as there are some tough decisions to be made when it comes to contracts and re-signing players. However, that’s not to say that it is impossible, it’s just that it won’t be easy for things to turn around.
Gase is not a quitter, don’t expect him to lay down for the rest of the season. He is more likely to want to finish the season strong and gain some momentum for the locker room and fan base rather than to immediately start tanking for the draft. This isn’t the National Basketball Association, where tanking is celebrated.
Unfortunately that is easier said than done, as the Dolphins are injury-riddled and have lost their fire. This is where we find out what this team is really made of. Right now it looks like broken pieces and players who are lost. Trust that the true culture of the team can be maintained for the near future with the right moves being made starting now. The same culture that was on display during Miami’s six-game winning streak to finish the season with a playoff berth.
- Isaih Battiste is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Dolphins. He covers the Miami Dolphins 365 days a year. Follow @FPC_Dolphins on twitter and Full Press Dolphins on Facebook!