This certainly was a seesaw season, with seven early losses in a row followed by the same number of wins, albeit against some teams with lesser talent. Nonetheless, it was a strange season, ending with an incredible blowout in Tennessee and then the dismissal of Coach Flores.
The problems for the future seem to be mainly on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line is still a work in progress, not just in talent levels but also in reducing the number of penalties and mistakes in general. Until these corrections are made, we won’t be able to accurately evaluate the quality of the running backs. Duke Johnson certainly showed the quickness and power all teams need to have a sustainable running attack, but the rest of the players at that position struggled to find holes and break tackles. The receivers are a talented lot but can’t seem to stay healthy enough to provide consistency in the attack. The team especially needs the likes of Waddle, whose quickness leaves him open a majority of the time, as well as the size and tenacity of Parker and Gesicki.
And, what do we say about Tua. Frankly, I don’t know. During the seven straight wins he looked generally effective and, as time wore on, more at home in the offensive system. It was only in the penultimate game with Tennessee that the weather, the game plan, or the opposing defense destroyed his confidence and his tempo. The offense looked like it belonged to a Division-2 team, not a contender for the Super Bowl. The conundrum for the team is whether the staff saw enough this year to firmly believe Tua is or can be a top-rated quarterback or whether there is enough doubt to cause the team to acquire, by draft or trade, another player at that position who can achieve long-term success and lead the team to post-season play year-after-year. Remember, until Tennessee he was leading the league in percentage pass completions; that wasn’t a mirage, even though many of his passes were short in nature. If his downfall was the weather, that is probably a condition that is unsolvable, and the choice is clear.
To conclude on a positive note, the defense was mainly solid in victory and defeat. The line, the linebackers and the DB’s all played extremely well, even when some of them were injured from time to time. The challenge with this group will be to keep them all together and add a few more top notch pieces here and there.
There is hope for improvement next year, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the frustrating part of that comment is it is the same one we have made year after year. Management and the new coaching staff led by Head Coach Mike McDaniel need to solve the riddle so we have reason to return to the stadium or our electronic devices next year and witness that much-needed improvement. But be warned that those who just fired the coach are the same geniuses who have been unable to figure out how to assemble a solid offensive line for years.
My best guess about what happened to Flores is that ownership of the team wants a QB like Deshaun Watson and, while Coach Flores recognizes the talent he possesses, he frowned openly about Deshaun’s lifestyle and the distractions he carries with him wherever he goes.
Photo Courtesy Of The Miami Dolphins