Google “worst teams NFL” and the Dolphins are the poster child for ignominy.
Peruse any power ranking you choose and Miami’s Bag Heads are DFL — Dead Freakin’ Last.
That’s the model of consistency, an objective every coach preaches, though not in this category.
In this case, with the objective being to win (by losing) the first pick in next year’s draft in order to claim one particular quarterback, paramount futility is a virtue.
But as poorly as the Dolphins played through the first four games of the season — and they are last or second to last in every notable statistical category — it isn’t all open water to the island of Tua.
Crowded at bottom of NFL
There are a surprising number of dreadful teams this season and one of the most dysfunctional, the Washington Redskins, will visit Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday for the first in a series of Battle of the Bads that have more at stake for the future than the present.
The Dolphins also play the currently winless Jets (twice) and Bengals. With the likes of the 1-4 Steelers and 2-3 Giants and some other middle-of-the-pack suspects also on the schedule, Miami just might slip up and win a couple games.
That could be a nightmare scenario for Dolfans. Once you’ve accepted the season as a write-off in the interest of a brighter future, it doesn’t pay to be second-worst.
Even though the front office sabotaged the season, the players are trying to win and protect their livelihoods. And this upcoming opponent is awash in problems of its own.
The Redskins, after falling to 0-5 with Sunday’s 33-7 thrashing at home by the Patriots, fired coach Jay Gruden at 5 a.m. on Monday.
The Redskins have every reason to feel unloved. Their fans have tuned out on the team and the season and were greatly outnumbered by those cheering for the Patriots at FedEx Field.
Even Tom Brady said, “That was ridiculous. … That felt like a home game.”
Or like the Patriots’ recent visit to Miami Gardens.
Redskins a mess too
The Redskins will arrive with an interim coach, Bill Callahan, who hasn’t decided who will start at quarterback but has already said he plans to shift from a pass-happy offense to an old-school run-first approach.
Even with all of that, the 0-4 Dolphins, coming off a bye, are 3 ½-point ’dogs at home.
There is some comfort in that for Dolphins fans with the overriding objective in mind.
Also in knowing that teams often perk up after an in-season coaching change. Remember, when Dan Campbell took over the Dolphins after a 1-3 start under Joe Philbin they responded with resounding wins over the Titans and Texans.
Granted, not all of the NFL doormats are looking for a building-block quarterback. The Jets think they have one in Sam Darnold. The Redskins took Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 this year, though they haven’t started him yet.
But that doesn’t preclude a team from picking a quarterback in the first round one year and again the next, as the Cardinals showed in taking Kyler Murray first overall after a brief stint with Josh Rosen.
And there are always teams eager to trade to the top spot if as particular quarterback is regarded as something special, which is the consensus on Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Dolphins need every draft pick
No team is better positioned to trade up if needed with three first-round picks in 2020. But the idea is to use all of them to fill needs, not deal them.
The only way to ensure winning the Tua sweepstakes is to just lose, baby.
Tearing a team down to the bare wood like the Dolphins did is a chancy undertaking. It’s good to have a lot of draft picks, especially in the top three rounds. But then you have to make choices that yield productive pro players and mesh with the core you’re building.
Draft history has shown there’s no guarantee in this process. And no certainty of speeding up the time line.
There’s no better example than the current Cleveland Browns, who were hyped as ready to jell this season but so far look no better than average.
As miserable as it has been to watch the Dolphins blunder week after week — not only this season but often over the past two decades — Dolfans deserve to get their wish. They have waited so long for a quarterback to excite them.
I don’t blame them for selling their allegiance for a season of losing — consistently. So I hope they get Tua.
Then they just have to hope he really is the answer to their prayers.
Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns
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