Talking Ourselves Into Believing the Miami Dolphins Are Good

Talking Ourselves Into Believing the Miami Dolphins Are Good
Michele Eve Sandberg

Are the Miami Dolphins... good? Is that a thing? It might just be. After this Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams (at 4:05 p.m.), we will certainly be a lot closer to an answer. What is clear at this point is they aren't that bad — well, they were bad, but now they aren't. What a difference a month makes.

While the Dolphins' four straight wins have us feeling warm and fuzzy inside, forgive us if we're having a hard time buying that this miraculous turnaround is a sign of things to come. Dolphins fans are a jaded bunch with lots of scar tissue from injuries inflicted by the John Becks, Chad Hennes, and Ray Lucases of the world. We lived those days. They happened.

It might be time to come to terms with the fact that the Dolphins are actually good at football. Not a believer? Let's talk it over and see if we can't change your mind.

Why are you doing this? Haven't you learned this lesson before?

Yes. Yes, I have. But it's different this time!

Nope.

Yes, it is. This Miami Dolphins team has earned your trust.

They're 5-4.

But they were 1-4. Join me in the now. The Dolphins haven't lost a game since October 9. You weren't even thinking about Halloween yet, and now it's almost Thanksgiving! When is the last time the Dolphins went undefeated between holidays?

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, last season.

That doesn't count and you know it.

OK, so why should Dolphins fans truly believe this year is different?

Because the Dolphins finally have an identity, and first-year coach Adam Gase has shown a willingness to adapt to the talent he has on the roster, not vice-versa. The Dolphins are a running team with a running back that is averaging more yards per attempt than any player in the league. When is the last time you could truly say that? The Ricky Williams years, that's when. This Dolphins team reminds us a lot of those teams that were supertalented and definite contenders.

Talking Ourselves Into Believing the Miami Dolphins Are Good
Michele Eve Sandberg

That's good news, of course, but what about the defense? I don't trust them.

The injury to Rashad Jones was a killer, but the Dolphins' defensive line is the ultimate lipstick on the pig that is everything behind them. Cam Wake and Ndamukong Suh are leading the Dolphins' defensive unit right now in a way Dolphins fans haven't seen since Jason Taylor was on the line. Everyone else is falling into their roles, and it's been a sight for sore eyes for Dolphins fans. Kiko Alonso seems to play better each week too, which helps.

What is the biggest reason Dolphins fans should have hope that they make the playoffs?

The schedule finally lightens up. The Dolphins are already on a four-game winning streak, and they get the Rams and 49ers next, teams with a combined 9-13 record. Overall, the Dolphins only play one team with a better record than them the rest of the year. The Patriots in Week 17 are the only team currently left on the Dolphins' schedule that has a winning record. If the Dolphins can't make the playoffs with this schedule left, it might never happen.

It definitely might never happen.

I take it you're not a Cubs fan. It will happen eventually. It's a statistical probability at this point. Like roulette. Play the Dolphins.

What makes you think Ryan Tannehill can be someone he's never been now, after five years?

No one should believe Ryan Tannehill has changed, but people should recognize that the circumstances around him seem to be improving daily, thus making his job that much easier. Tannehill has been excellent during the Dolphins' four-game winning streak, but not by the numbers —  more by staying out of trouble and flashing that one play Dolphins fans have been clamoring for him to make from time to time. Tannehill is a better quarterback after 70 starts with the Dolphins, but it's the team around him that's really changed.

OK, so if I agree the Dolphins aren't that bad, what can you say to make me believe they are good?

Everything we have talked about above, plus the fact that Miami, as a franchise, finally has some direction under new coach Adam Gase. When Gase cut offensive linemen Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, and Jamil Douglas after the Tennessee Titans loss, people took notice. All the team has done since then is win four straight and mold an identity behind a running game, in large part thanks to a terrific offensive line. Ironic, huh? Gase cut a huge percentage of his offensive line, and that became the strength of the entire football team. That sort of balls shows that Gase isn't in Miami to coach a bad football team for long.

You have swayed me. At the very least, I'm not as negative as I've been in past years.

That's a good step in the right direction. The Dolphins are a good football team. The sooner we begin to enjoy them, the faster old wounds will heal.


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