Whether their stadium will be ready or not, the Miami Dolphins are nearing a return.
Every year, we see the signs: Hurricane season starts, summer begins, July 4th passes. When the dollar store starts selling those autumn colored placemats, we have officially passed phase one. You should probably buy some bottled water.
The Miami Dolphins haven't exactly earned our excitement over the last decade-plus; they have just one playoff win since 2001. That's OK, though. We're totally over it. We don't even, like, think about it. OK, we think about it a little. Fine, it's all we think about and we can't take it much longer! Happy?
Every year is the year the Dolphins finally figure it out, and going into this year there are already people trying to sell us on why this is finally that year.
Well, you know what? It might be. No, I'm serious — maybe. Let's talk this over.
Are you seriously going to sit there and tell me the Miami Dolphins will be different this year?
No, I said "might" and "maybe." Not a super-hot take, I know, but we need baby steps in reformatting our trust in the Dolphins.
Why would you even do this to yourself in June?
Because I'm a glutton for punishment and I'm desperate. Listen: What else do we have to look forward to? The Heat are done, the Panthers crashed and burned, and the Miami Marlins are a disgrace. Let me live! Sports is about every teams' fans believing that this is their year, but Miami Dolphins fans have stopped believing.
You know how in the movie Elf, people had to believe in Christmas for Santa's sleigh to work? It's exactly like that; you need to believe! Don't be a cotton-headed ninny muggins.
Wow, that wasn't how I envisioned you answering that question.
Just believe, and the Dolphins' sleigh shall ride to a Super Bowl victory!
You're right. Let's start with our first playoff victory since Ariana Grande was four years old and work our way to the big stuff.
You're already lowering expectations. Typical Dolphins fan. Welcome back from five minutes ago.
The greatest part about the NFL is a good 20 teams can claim they have a chance at winning the title any given year. Every year there is a surprise team. The Carolina Panthers sucked; then they didn't. Teams can steadily climb, then all of a sudden get hot and win a trophy. You can't say the same in the NBA — we've known Golden State was playing Cleveland in the finals again for 12 months.
Fine. Give me the short answer on why I should invest in the Miami Dolphins in 2016-17.
Whoa, invest? As in, bet? Do NOT bet on the Miami Dolphins. Never do that! I just said to believe. I'll give you two words: Adam Gase. The Dolphins' news coach has me swooning. He seems like the perfect mix of everything you would want in a solid coach: younger (38) so guys can relate to him, experienced, respected, innovative, and most importantly, qualified.
It's been a long time since Dolphins fans could say they feel good about and trust the man coaching their team. This year might finally be the year all that changes.
OK, but coaches don't play. What makes you think the Dolphins have enough talent to win?
Well, that's certainly a great question because they lost quite a bit in free agency, but they seem to have done a decent job in filling their holes with quality players. They needed major changes at offensive guard; they went out and landed the best offensive lineman in the draft in Laremy Tunsil. They needed a play-making linebacker; they traded for Kiko Alonso, who, if healthy, could be a game changer. They needed to totally revamp their cornerbacks; they rid themselves of Jamar Taylor and Brent Grimes, then added Byron Maxwell in a trade and drafted highly regarded Xavien Howard with the 38th pick. They've added depth across the board in places they were thin.
They just feel like a better team — but hey, it's June.
I still feel like other teams are going to throw for 5,000 yards on the Dolphins.
Yeah, I tried to talk myself into it in that last answer, but the Dolphins are sill light on corners. What may help them in that department is the fact that their defensive line has the talent to be the best in the NFL. Not one of the best; the best. They've invested enough in it, so it had better be.
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Pessimistic Dolphins fans all have one thing in common: They don't believe in Ryan Tannehill. Why should they believe this is the year he turns into anything but an average NFL quarterback?
What is the alternative? Ryan Tannehill just signed a six-year, $96-million deal with $45 million guaranteed, so it's pretty safe to say he will be throwing footballs for the Dolphins for the next few years. This question's answer comes back to the same two words I used earlier: Adam Gase. Gase has a long history of getting the most out of quarterbacks, and when guys like Peyton Manning swear by you, you're doing something right.
Yeah, I guess we have no choice. Anything else to make me positive about the Dolphins' chances?
Yeah, they still play in the AFC East and Tom Brady is still (for now) suspended for the first four games as a result of Deflategate, so their path isn't all that difficult. If Brady indeed misses the Patriots' first four games, including the 'Phins Week 2 matchup, then that gives the Dolphins a head start. The Bills and Jets both have worse quarterback issues than the Dolphins, and neither can claim a better roster, talent wise. Much of what held the Dolphins back in the past was themselves, something the team hopes Adam Gase can help fix.
I have to be honest: I'm still pessimistic, but at the very least you've made me excited to see what the Dolphins bring to the table this training camp and preseason.
My work here is done.