First things first. The Miami Dolphins are tanking. Secondly, they just went plaid having gone from light speed to ludicrous speed on the tanking.
I write this, still recovering from the news that Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills were traded to the Houston Texans for a couple first round picks, a second round pick and a partridge in a pear tree. I write this as LB Kiko Alonso was then traded to the New Orleans Saints for another LB who I believe had as many tackles last year as I had attempts at intermittent fasting, which ironically was a means for me to drop some LBs of my own. Finally, I write this after having seen a tweet by Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel suggesting that a recently signed Xavien Howard could be next.
In all honesty, I feel like I am losing hope on this franchise.
Look, I’m not here to dissect the trade, specifically the Tunsil and Stills moves, and pretend to forecast that these are prescient moves by Chris Grier. It could very well turn out to be the heist of the century because after speaking to some of my friends who are Texans fans, they feel that this trade gets them to a wonderful 6-10 record. So if those players aren’t going to elevate the Texans to the next level, then I’m downgrading from extremely pissed to simply annoyingly irritated.
I get it. These are moves to stockpile picks like those survivalists canning, pickling and dehydrating food in anticipation of Y2K. The horde of draft picks are currency that will be used to guarantee that the Dolphins in the 2020 draft will be able to nab the quarterback they want (Tua Tagovailoa) or one of the other heralded players that I will probably be listening to Three Yards Per Carry debate over. And don’t think that I won’t fall in love with some QB with off the chart measurables and intangibles but is unfortunately from a school so small that it is accessible only by a six dog drawn sled but should nevertheless be drafted because Chris Kouffman says we should draft him.
But there is no certainty and nothing is guaranteed! Ask Laremy Tunsil. Too soon?
My frustration in all of this is that for the nearly 40 years that I have been a Miami Dolphins fan I cannot remember a time when this franchise was devoid of hope. And I’ve suffered through a lot as a fan.
I remember the lock out year and the quarterback who had what I would guess would be the inspiration for Ray Finkle’s mustache. Never lost hope. I remember watching Dan Marino blow out his achilles and took to blaming the Cleveland Browns turf as the culprit. Never lost hope (nor did I have hope in Scott Mitchell). I remember consistently coming up short against the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, being embarrassingly present for one of the losses. Never lost hope. I lived through 1-15 and the nightmare of Cam Cameron. Never lost hope. I sat disaffected when Nick Saban actually followed through on his word by not becoming the University of Alabama head coach but taking Wayne Huizenga’s plane to sign the contract. Never lost hope. I lived through a lot as a Dolphins fan and did so to the soundtrack of Rick Weaver and Hank Goldberg. Kids, that was a time when the Dolphins did not sell out enough to lift the blackout on television and some of us were forced to listen on something called a radio. But I digress. Anyway, I never lost hope.
The reason I write all of the above is that the common thread amongst all of those wonderful memories is that I could at least fall back on the fact that we had talent, which resulted in hope. We had Marino. We had the defense that Jimmy Johnson built. We had Saban drafting everyone from the SEC and anyone with the letters S-E-C in their name. We had Bill Parcells applying fixes along the way. So honestly, I cannot ever recall the aqua and orange purposely making moves to–ah screw it–overtly tanking. Yes there were periods of rebuilding. But I, and likely other Dolphins fans, saw them more as periods of re-loading because, again, we had some great talent to build around. Looking up and down the depth chart I am at a loss. So you can appreciate when I, and I’m sure many other Dolphins fans as well, fell out of my chair screaming when the ESPN alert came across my phone with the announcement.
Am I to feel a little better that we were very active in claiming a bunch of players off waivers? Will the hope come from this group? Likely not.
So where is the hope? Chris Grier has been here for many years, outliving many key people and I honestly do not know if he’s done enough to earn my loyalty or trust to give him a pass on all of this. Hell, we lived through so many iterations of what was supposed to pass for a competent offensive line and it still hasn’t been fixed. Then we turn around and trade our one given? Are we to assume that Brian Flores, coming from the Patriots system will bring the Patriots mindset, schemes, and, hopefully, luck? I guess so. Perhaps this Vince Biegel guy who we acquired in the Alonso trade turns out to be our Rob Ninkovich? Who knows? I don’t. There are too many unknowns. And I don’t like unknowns. I like certainty. Ok, give me 90% certainty. The 90% will give me some hope.
I hope that when we fast forward past the root canal and proctological exam that will be the 2019 season, that we come out on the other side with our franchise quarterback, a new left tackle and a bevy of other players via draft or free agency. I really hope that this happens and there is nothing but success and the front office would look like geniuses. I then wouldn’t mind looking back at the absurdity of this piece, question why I would write it in the first place and, rather than explain me away as just being a knee-jerk jerk, will look to chalk it up to cabin fever having watched Hurricane Dorian coverage on television and Twitter for two straight days.
Perhaps that is my excuse. At least, I hope.