Making the first round of the playoffs–that is the outcome Miami Dolphin fans hoped for as the 2014 season began. But have Dolphins fans expectations dropped to an all time low? Just years ago fans were unhappy with legendary head coach Don Shula because he wasn’t making deep enough runs in the playoffs, yet now just sneaking in as a wild card seed is sufficient for Dolfans.
For the better part of the decade, Miami’s professional football team has been mired by mediocrity. Since 2009, Miami’s hasn’t had a winning season and just two years before that the Dolphins won just one game. With a coaching carousel that includes the likes of Cam Cameron, Tony Sporano, and Joe Phibin, Miami has struck out in nearly every facet time and time again. Whether it is due to poor draft choices such as Michael Egnew, or bad investments such as Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins have lowered fan’s expectations over the course of the last decade.
Time and time again owner Stephen Ross has echoed that he has faith in current coach Philbin because of the strides he has made since taking the coach spot. In reality though how much has the former Green Bay packer coach helped this franchise? Yes, Miami is closer to a playoff berth now then before he arrived but that doesn’t mean the team hasn’t struggled under his regime. Brought in as an “Offensive mastermind”, Philbin’s team is ranked in the bottom third of the league in total offense and has improved by a total of two games from 2011 to 2013.
“I like the track we’re on,” Ross said prior to the season, “We were in it this year. We all suffered together. But you saw a lot of difference”. Despite these comments Miami hasn’t truly changed very much from last year. After the hiring of Bill Lazor the Dolphins offense improved from 27th in net yards last season to 21st this season. If you flip the coin over to the defensive side of the ball, you will see much different results though. As the unit is ranked top 10 in the NFL. Although this would suggest that the fins have a dominant defense recent game statistics would suggest otherwise. Against the Denver Broncos, a team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in rushing, Miami allowed over 200 rushing yards opening up the air for what was already a lethal passing game.
While on the surface Miami is “improved” to most fans, the reality of the situation is that they are just the same old fins, a mediocre team that is a far cry from what should be expected out of them. At this critical juncture in the Miami Dolphin franchise, it is important for fans to remember the words of four time super bowl champion and coaching legend Jimmy Johnson “The enemy of great is good”.