If you want to talk about optimism for the Dolphins season, talk to me.
I was optimistic about the Dolphins after week one and a seemingly controlled, or rather under control Jay Cutler led the way with a solid day and zero turnovers.
Then running back Jay Ajayi seemingly took up where he left off and rushed for over 100 yards versus a Chargers defense with all the main contributors healthy. The same unit that stopped Ajayi (a year prior), allowed him to thrive week 2.
The Dolphins at 1-0, looked prepared to break out.
However, when they played the Jets the following week, they looked flat. They managed to avoid being shut out and lost 20-6 if it weren’t for a Cutler to Parker touchdown with no time left.
The physical nature of the Jets had the Dolphins taking cover after taking so many hits. Not to mention, Cutler resorted to his old ways turning the ball over and the Dolphins defense showed vulnerability getting beat deep after Alterun Verner gave up a pre-halftime TD to Kenny Anderson.
Not even the 20-0 loss to the Saints could do them in. The Saints are now considered the best team and on the best run in the NFC at 7-2.
Then, by some stroke of genius, the Dolphins beat the Titans (5-3) and then won two games (Falcons on the road) then Jets at home after being down at the half 17 and 14 points respectively.
At 4-2, the Dolphins looked like they were trending upward, just in time for the rest of the NFL and the national scene to take notice with three upcoming nationally televised games.
Except, since the Philbin era, the Dolphins are god-awful on national televised games.
The Dolphins in fact are 1-8 since the Philbin era and per the Miami Herald have been outscored 246-122.
During the Marino era, the Dolphins were Monday Night football darlings and fans couldn’t seem to get enough of the worthy and competitive matchups-many games at home.
However, the Dolphins offense and defense are now complimenting each other, but not in a positive fashion.
We’re seeing the Dolphins self-destruct defensively just as the offense is beginning to make big plays.
Point the fingers if you will at Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier who continue to supply the roster with pricey vets-Timmons, Hayes, Branch, and Suh.
None of this continues to make sense when New England, the benchmark of most NFL franchises continues to succeed with the draft and young talent.
So with the optics of the defense looking rather unsuccessful on defense, know this, offensively the Dolphins miss Ryan Tannehill.
If counting the playoffs, the team is now not counting the late season game versus Arizona when he was injured appears to be 6-8 without him as the starting quarterback.
Sure, six wins sounds promising, but look at how unsteady the Dolphins have been and most of the wins under head coach Adam Gase have come with both Matt Moore and Jay Cutler, two quarterbacks with vastly different styles.
While there will be time to re-assess what went wrong for the Dolphins, they have time to re-group.
Next up is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they are certainly playing to win even if their record doesn’t show it at 3-6.