Soap Operas are aired on weekday afternoons and professional football on Sundays or Monday and Thursday evenings. The Incognito/Martin story gives sportswriters everywhere the opportunity to broaden the scope of their material; combine sports with drama then finding the words to make it seem they belong together. I saw a Dolphins team without two of its previous offensive line starters. I didn’t see a Dolphin team with players that weren’t ready and able to play football on a professional level.
Staying a little closer to the reality of NFL football the game and its outcome isn’t such a big surprise. A good Tampa Bay defense with just enough offense notched its first win of the season against a Miami team that had lost 4 of its last 5 games. The Miami fans have complained all season about weakness in the offensive line and its performance didn’t improve Monday night. The offense started slow and the game ended too early to complete a comeback. Yes, they only gained 2 yards rushing (20 less than against Baltimore) Yes, Tannehill’s 2 sacks looked bad and came at a critical time (as did many of the 4.3 sacks per game the team has averaged this season). Problems yes, but not problems bad enough to justify some fans calling for an overhaul of the front office and coaching staff.
GM: Jeff Ireland was hired as the Dolphins general manager in January 2008 by Bill Parcells the Executive V.P. of Football Operations. At the start of the 2010 season Bill Parcels became a team consultant and Ireland assumed full command of operations on a day to day basis. Knowing Bill Parcells history of seeking control it’s a pretty good bet that Ireland’s influence was limited and he didn’t start building the team he envisioned until the 2011 season.
HC: Joe Philbin was hired as the Dolphins Head Coach in January of 2012 having spent the previous four seasons as the O.C. of the Green Bay Packers and several years as the OL coach prior to becoming the O.C. Philbin’s offensive plan for Miami is to execute an up-tempo no huddle offense scheme he had great success with in Green Bay.
QB: Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Dolphins with the 8th pick in the 2012 draft. Poise seems to be the word used most often in a discussion of Tannehill’s performance and potential and the O-line being his biggest problem. The stats last week seem to bear this out will Tannehill leading the league in sacks with 35, with Ben Roethlisberger 2nd at 31 sacks, Geno Smith at 3rd with 30, Russell Wilson 4th with 27, and Tom Brady 5th with 26 sacks. Tannehill is showing the leadership and talent this team has searched for at QB.
The benefit of continuity to Tannehill by keeping Ireland & Philbin together outweighs any “what if” scenario a change might bring. The formula for a successful rebuild is: Get a quarterback. Protect the quarterback. Get the quarterback targets. The Dolphins have to repeat step two but anyone calling for a complete overhaul doesn’t appreciate the building blocks already in place.
Fix what’s broken, leave the rest alone and this team has a future.