The Miami Dolphins are riding a two-game winning streak and about to face there in-division rival, the Buffalo Bills.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who has always stayed committed to saying this team is being coached and rebuilt to win. There is no “tank” in this man’s mind what-so-ever. Never has been.
Being around Coach Flores after several games told me, without question, that all the tank talk was media-driven. He has made it clear time and time again that his goal is to win here…eventually. He knows how this process works, and right now you are seeing this first hand.
It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.
In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.
Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…
One week after bringing the Dolphins so close to their first victory of the season, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took the field for his return trip back to Buffalo. Fitzpatrick, who is very familiar with the setting as he played for Buffalo during the 2009-2012 season, understands how hard it can be on opposing teams to play here.
He was asked after the game on how it was playing here.
Coming back here, what’s this cauldron like? It there a level of comfort to come back here because you started out here, or discomfort because of the noise? “It was a strange feeling every time I’m here and it’s a strange feeling walking into the stadium – there’s so many good memories. This place is so special to me as a player and as an opponent I guess, but it brings up great memories and a lot of memories that carry a lot of weight and emotion to them.”
Dolphins came in looking to build off some of their success during last week’s near-win and, hopefully, with Fitzpatrick bringing some of his “FitzMagic” back into this offense.
All tanking talk aside, the Dolphins actually put themselves into a position to win their week 6 game. With under a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game with the Dolphins down by 7. He did so after starting QB Josh Rosen was benched in the 3rd quarter.
Fitzpatrick drove the Dolphins down the field to a potentially tying touchdown. With only seconds left. Fitzpatrick found wide receiver DeVante Parker in the back of the end zone. With no hesitating what so ever. The Dolphins offense stayed out on the field, setting up for a potential winning 2 point conversion.
By the reaction of the crowd at Hard Rock Stadium, all seemed on board with the call. As Fitzpatrick took the snap and tried to hit running back Kenyan Drake on a quick slant. Drake bobbled and dropped the ball, failing to get the 2 points and the win.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” – Charles Dickens
All too familiar for Miami Dolphins fans. Instead of quoting A Tale of Two Cities, however, we have the tale of two halves. It’s a question that many Dolphins fans are asking.
What exactly happens to this team at halftime?
Through the first two-quarters of play, the Dolphins have been managing to score a few points. They’ve been putting some drives together, letting quarterback Josh Rosen find his rhythm. They even manage to keep the game close until halftime. At times they stayed somewhat competitive and looking like they might come out of the locker room and continue to build off that success.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has ended his hold-out. The star running back reportedly told sources he expected to be back in week 5, however he decided to end his hold-out 3 days before the Chargers are scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins.
Couldn’t say many blame him. The Dolphins have been outscored by 117 points in their last 3 outings. The Chargers are coming off two consecutive losses and in need of a boost. The return of Gordon and a very favorable match-up could be just what the Chargers needed.
Earlier in the week when reports surfaced about the possibility of Gordon ending his hold out. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was asked about Gordon’s return and whether they were prepared for him. Flores said they were ready.
If there was ever a week that the Dolphins needed a spark, this week was the one. Following a tumultuous week in the national spotlight, Coach Flores might have found himself a savior. Earlier in the week, following what he called a couple of great practices, Flores named quarterback Josh Rosen his starter in Dallas.
Now Miami will be able to see if Rosen will be a part of the restructuring process or possible trade bait for next year. Either way, it’s a welcome change that many fans have wanted.
Every fall as the college football season comes to a close, all eyes turn to the NFL draft. Fans start their mocks, NFL teams start to prepare their boards. The Mel Kiper wannabes come out in droves. Fans begin their banter as to why their respective team should pick this player.
Flashback to January 7, 2019. The day of the 2019 College National Championship game. Clemson, behind true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and Alabama lead by sophomore sensation, QB Tua Tagovailoa. I bring this game up because I believe this is where it all began.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, scouts and fans had already begun to focus on these two starting quarterbacks. Tua Tagovailoa will be eligible for the 2020 NFL draft, while the other, Trevor Lawrence, will have to wait for eligibility in 2021. Per scouts and fans alike, both these college quarterbacks clearly have “Franchise” written all over them.
For the second week in a row, the Miami Dolphins have been outscored by double digits. After a complete thrashing by the Baltimore Ravens in week 1, the Dolphins looked to rebound against their AFC East rival New England Patriots.
After last week’s defensive break-downs, the Dolphins improved defensively, although the score might not reflect this. The defense held the Patriots to just 13 points in the first half. The second half is when the defense finally broke.
This week the offense can shoulder the blame. Only one stat I need to give you: Total yards per team. The Patriots had 381, whereas the Dolphins offense only complied 184 yards. Let’s be honest, most of these yards came after the game was out of reach.
With the 2019 NFL season upon us, the Dolphins have a new coach, new system, and the same old doom and gloom beat writers. For the past 10 -15 years it’s been the same old, same old. Reading column after column of the sure failures that this Dolphins team will face. I read them all as a challenge to find some ray of hope. Some silver lining that this whole season won’t be a total loss.
Now that we are days away from our opener, I’m still searching for that silver lining. I find myself analyzing and hanging on to every single word that Coach Flores says, looking for a clue. That one word that might make me understand all that has happened. I catch myself even watching his body language as he speaks.