Miami Dolphins Must Clean House If They Miss the Playoffs
Take a hard look at the Miami Dolphins right now.
After a 3-0 start, they're on a three-game losing streak. One of those games, I can forgive. Two losses, I can live with. But the third loss crossed the line.
Why are the Dolphins in the position they are in? Let me explain the first three wins: Ryan Tannehill and a defense that played well.
Now to explain the last three losses: bad coaching and horrendous personnel scouting along the offensive line catching up with the Dolphins.
The Dolphins enter their toughest stretch of the season, as they're set to play two games in four days. One game is a road matchup against an ornery Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Then a Halloween night matchup against a Cincinnati Bengals squad that looks to go far in the playoffs this season.
If the Dolphins finish that stretch at 4-4, it will be a miracle. Realistically, you can see them at 3-5.
A 3-5 record ends all playoff hopes. Sure, they'll have a seemingly easy November against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers, but the Bills game on Sunday was seemingly easy as well.
If the realistic prediction of 3-5 after Cincinnati comes true, then Miami will miss the playoffs.
If that happens, then general manager Jeff Ireland, head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman must be shown the door.
Progress is something that the Dolphins haven't shown this season. They seemed to show it in their first three games only to regress to the mean like a hot-shooting team in the second half against the Miami Heat.
How can you justify keeping the same regime in place when there isn't any progress shown? How can you justify this when your quarterback is regressing at a rate that's putting him closer to Chad Henne than Dan Marino?
There's a concrete reason for the Dolphins' offensive woes: an offensively bad offensive line.
Who does that fall on? Jeff Ireland.
Even with Ireland's almost stubborn refusal to fix the offensive line during the offseason, it's not like there isn't talent on the line. Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito are two of the best players at their positions, yet they too have made their mistakes in Miami's first six games of the season.
That part falls on the coaching staff.
The players are to blame too, but at least Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel has reported that Incognito has held himself accountable. Meanwhile, Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post reported that Pouncey has gone as far as asking for his brother Maurkice (Pittsburgh Steelers center) for advice.
By going to his brother, it feels like Pouncey has done more to help improve the offensive line this season than his own coaches have.
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Despite a poor offensive line, the Dolphins have been in every game this season save for one. Just a couple of plays would have put this team at 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
Why didn't they happen? Blame a coaching staff that can't seem to figure out how to call the right play at the right time—like calling run plays when at midfield with three minutes left in the game.
Even if the Dolphins went three-and-out on the last drive, if on each play they ran the play clock down to one second, they would have either wasted two minutes, forced the Bills to use all of their timeouts or a combination of the two.
That would've made it tough for the Bills to drive down a long field and win the game after a Brandon Fields punt.
This is also the same coaching staff that refused to run the ball down the middle against the Baltimore Ravens, despite the fact that the Ravens defense is at its weakest there. The same coaching staff that refuses to give Marcus Thigpen or Lamar Miller the ball in space despite being very effective when they have had chances.
This is unacceptable, and contrary to what you may believe, these have been problems that the team won in spite of at the beginning of the season.
But now that more tape is out, the NFL knows what it takes to beat the Dolphins and has taken notice of the blueprint.
What adjustments have there been? A few, but then they revert back to what everyone knows they're going to do. Their Week 7 loss to the Bills was the perfect example of this.
You had an offensive line that gave up sacks at the wrong time of the game and a coaching staff that saw something that worked—a running game that produced 120 yards on 25 carries—and then moved away from it when that's exactly what the team needed at the time.
These are your 2013 Miami Dolphins, and if changes aren't made, they will be your 2014 Miami Dolphins too. As the joke goes: "7-9 forever, your Miami Dolphins!"
Should the Miami Dolphins change their regime at the end of the season?
I turn 30 years old today (October 21st), and I don't want to wait 30 more years to see this team contend. I was one when the Dolphins last made the Super Bowl and nine when they made their last AFC Championship Game.
I don't want to be turning 40 years old and writing this same piece. I don't want to have to write it at age 31 either.
The Dolphins need to rid themselves of the front office and coaching staff this year if they don't make the playoffs. If they don't, then Sun Life Stadium will be even emptier when the Buffalo Bills come to visit next season.
Statistics provided by ESPN.com. Listen to Dolphins Central Radio hosted by Thomas Galicia and Albert del Toral for more Dolphins news and analysis.
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