DAVIE, Fla. – “It’s like saying, ‘Hey, you haven’t done this in 15 years.’ Nobody really cares. It’s a new start.”
Those are the words of Dolphins head coach Adam Gase describing what the expectations should be for his team, given Miami’s lack of success for many years.
A new start.
Gase is right. It’s a new start with the opening of training camp, but there’s also a reason so many fans and media feel it could be the same old Dolphins. History has had a way of repeating itself with this franchise, and they’ve been trapped in mediocrity for that 15 year example Gase gave.
How do they break out of that funk?
It’s pretty clear that starts with the return of Ryan Tannehill. Fair or unfair, much of the success of the Dolphins will fall on the QB’s shoulders, or knee to be exact, following a missed season recovering from surgery. Gase himself said that Tannehill understands the pressure that comes with the job.
To his credit, Tannehill worked hard to get back and 100 percent, and there’s no reason to believe he isn’t ready to pick up where he left off in 2016.
Gase has talked all offseason about getting his kind of guys on the team. Players that fit his system and can help the team improve. Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, Frank Gore and rookie tight end Mike Gisicki were the main pieces added to the offense, while the defense lost Ndamnukong Suh, but Gase believes a number of young guys are ready to fill the void.
Miami also has a talented, young secondary, and the addition of first round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick only adds to that.
There is some talent on this team, but is it really enough to make a leap back into playoff contention?
The outside answer sure appears to be no. I haven’t read one positive take from the national media about the Dolphins expectations for the 2018 season. Actually, most seem to think Miami will be one of the worst five teams in the NFL.
I’m not buying that. The problem is I’m not sure this is good enough roster to be a 10-11 win type playoff contender.
That formula makes them a middle of the pack team, or back to those 15 years of mediocrity we mentioned. 7-9 and 8-8 is one tough annual hole to climb out of in the NFL. You’re never good enough to keep building or bad enough to rebuild.
As one person with the Dolphins told me today, it’s about time they finally climb out of that hole.
It’s on Gase’s team to change that narrative, and in year three of his head coaching career in Miami, he feels good about the players he has in place.
He said day one of camp that every season you have teams come together who no one expected to be good and end up playing into January. He’s right. The slate is clean.
A new start indeed. A new sense of optimism. Now fans wait and hope it’s not the same old Dolphins.