Go Ahead...Underestimate The Dolphins, I Dare Ya!
News around the NFL is pretty slow this time of year unless you are, somehow, still interested in the ongoing retirement saga of Brett Favre. Not every sports writer in America can write or talk about Favre five days a week so those of us who can never get enough football are compelled to read what is put in front of us.
Unfortunately, this leaves us football starved fans at the mercy of the sports reporters and columnist to "entertain" us with their "non-biast" opinions for the 2009 season. Yes, I know they have deadlines to make and publishers to please so I won't be too brutal on the subject I am about to undertake.
There seems to be one common thread among columnist that has spread across the sporting news spectrum. Everyone thinks that the Miami Dolphins of 2008 were a fluke and are condemned to return to the cellar in 2009. In the words of Mike Florio from SportingNews.com, "No one saw the Dolphins coming in 2008. This year, everyone does."
Well, "everyone" also seems to be of the opinion that Miami will regress this year. So do they really see them coming or are they just overlooking them?
Peter King, the Sports Illustrated columnist from "Boston", predicts that Miami will finish in 17th place this year and the Patriots will win the Super Bowl. His prediction is based mainly on the difficulty of the Dolphin's 2009 schedule. The problems I have with this are...
1. Tom Brady is coming off a major ACL injury that has hampered many great players.
2. They face the exact same schedule except for two games. Miami plays San Diego and Pittsburgh and New England plays Baltimore and Denver.
I am not going to sit here and argue that Miami will win the Super Bowl but neither will I anoint New England as the champions. In 2008, Peyton Manning underwent a "routine procedure" to remove an infected bursa sac from his knee. Manning missed most of training camp and all five preseason games.
He struggled with timing and other issues to start the season and did not get back on track until week nine of the regular season. Indianapolis ultimately suffered a first round defeat in the playoffs from the San Diego Chargers.
If a minor injury like this can have such a profound effect on Peyton Manning, is Tom Brady so much better that he can recover and get back to form after almost a full years absence with an injury that sometimes takes two full years to recover? I doubt it.
These are just two examples of people overlooking the Dolphins. The same story is spread all across the Internet and even on NFL Network where the Dolphins constantly get snubbed so that we can watch back to back games of Colt vs Steelers. (Yes, it was a good game but with all the available material, do we really need to watch it twice in a row.)
Don't even get me started on Pete Prisco from CBS Sports.com. He has the Dolphins falling all the way to 26th place. With all his great insight, he has the Broncos, Buccaneers and every team in the AFC East ranked above the Dolphins.
You know, the three teams in their division that they beat enroute to a divisional championship and two other teams with new GM's, new Head Coaches AND new, unproven quarterbacks. The AFC East teams all face similar schedules.
The other popular opinions are that Miami didn't make a big enough "splash" in the off season with big name free agents and they reached for every pick they made in the 2009 NFL draft.
Ask Washington how those big name free agent splashes have gone for them since Daniel Snyder starting overpaying for them in 1999. I don't recall any championships being won by the Redskins lately.
What about in 2003 when the Patriots cut great players like Lawyer Milloy and instead signed second tier free agents to replace them. I am not sure but I think they did pretty well that year. I guess you people forgot that Bill Belichick used to be Bill Parcel's right hand man. Not the other way around.
I guess with all the lousy personnel decisions that Bill Parcels has made in recent years, it is safe to assume that he has lost his touch. Oh, wait a minute. Three of those '08 draftees won starting jobs last year and one made the Pro Bowl.
The play of one of the second round draft picks allowed Miami to release a proven veteran and free up some cap space this year and the other has looked like a future franchise quarterback. Never mind, there goes that theory.
I don't know how Miami was so successful last year. After all, they lost two starting lineman to injured reserve and started the season with a new quarterback that had only two weeks to prepare for a game AND they had no legitimate number one wide receiver.
I wonder if that QB will be any better with another year under his belt or if the offensive line could be any better with the return of those starting guards and the upgraded Center.
Nah...probably not...and those new rookies, Davis, Smith, White, Turner and Hartline will probably all flop as well. I mean what are you going to do with two of the top four rated cornerbacks and an explosive Wildcat QB that adds multiple dimensions to the offense?
Maybe Mike, Pete and Peter will turn out to be 100 percent right. Their wonderful insight is not lost on me. Hopefully, my sarcasm is not lost on you. Keep overlooking and underestimating the Dolphins. That's the way we like it in Florida.
On a side note: Peter King said "I think that Jimmy Buffet thing with the Dolphins is weird." Just to clear things up for you, Peter...Jimmy Buffett is a singer who happens to live in South Florida and has a huge nationwide following of people who love to romanticize about a lifestyle in paradise.
It is not an all you can eat restaurant owned by Jimmy Johnson that serves cheeseburgers at the stadium. Obviously, you love a good buffet but try to focus...ok? (That's two t's.)
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