The Miami Dolphins couldn't have planned the beginning to this season any worse. Between the 1-3 start that led to Joe Philbin getting fired, the rash of injuries to key players, and the shocking underperformance of others, this year seems over before it even began. Dolphins fans are defeated, feeling like once the playoffs begin, they'll be doing the usual: searching for who their team might take in the NFL Draft.
Well, not so fast Fins fans. Don't shovel dirt on this season just yet, because there are still a few reasons to feel like someone can be salvaged from the 2015 campaign. It's time to pull up your big-boy pants and stop giving negative craps about this team. We can all do that later like we do every year, but for now, let's dive into the positives that remain.
Remember when everyone said the beginning of the Dolphins schedule was the easy part? It might be time to re-think that.
Disclaimer: every game is tough if you're the Miami Dolphins. But on paper, the meat of their schedule isn't looking as tough as it did before the season began. The Dolphins remaining opponents have a combined 29-27 record — not exactly as terrifying as the teams
The Dolphins have a legitimate shot of catching a few teams on a down year. The Dallas Cowboys could be without Tony Romo and/or Dez Bryant, the Ravens are a shell of their former selves and riddled with injuries, the Eagles aren't the offensive juggernaut everyone figured they would be, the Texans stink, and this week's opponent, the Titans, are nothing to fear. Past that, opponents are mostly from AFC East, and a bunch of teams the Dolphins shouldn't exactly fear.
Yes, the Dolphins are capable of losing every game left on their schedule if they continue to play the way they have over the course of the first month. But there is reason to think the contests might not be as daunting as they appeared to be in August.
The Dolphins are only two games out of the last AFC Wildcard spot with 12 games to go.
Hashtag: just the facts. NFL.com lists the Miami Dolphins as "In the Hunt" on their "Playoff Picture" page, so it must be true. If that's not enough crazy to get you wondering what we're smoking. Let's add this: the two teams that sit in the current wildcard spots, Buffalo and New York, still have to deal with the mighty Miami Dolphins once more this season.
Saying the Miami Dolphins still have a mathematical shot at a playoff berth might not be the most groundbreaking news you've heard this week, but it is indeed true. It's been a long four games for Miami Dolphins fans, but we've seen worse.
We have already seen the crappiest versions of the offensive line.
The bad news is that the Dolphins offensive line has been dreadful. The good news? They can't possibly get any worse. Can they? Branden Albert is on the mend and hopefully on target to return to the team this weekend in Tennessee, so one has to believe that should help the young line, which has been dreadful.
With some new energy and a little healing, the line on the offensive side of the ball should be as good as it's going to get for the most important part of the season.
For once the Dolphins won't have to deal with any December weather conditions.
Every Dolphins fan has become accustomed to the inevitable late season cold-weather-induced failures — or the snow-related excuses, at least. This season, four of the Dolphins last five games are at home. and the lone away game might be in the only city with better weather than Miami: San Diego.
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While the match-ups themselves might not be the easiest, including visits from the Colts and Patriots to finish the year, it's a relief to at least know if the Dolphins have some form of momentum heading into December, weather won't be a factor in screwing it all up. Thankfully that's so, because the Dolphins can be bad in December all by themselves.
A cardboard cutout of Dan Campbell would provide more energy in the locker room than Joe Philbin ever did.
Interim coach Dan Campbell doesn't need to step in and be Don Shula, because his predecessor didn't set the bar too high. All he has to do is make this talented Miami Dolphins team give more than negative craps again when Sunday rolls around. They say teams take on the personality of their head coach. Well, if that's true it would explain why the Dolphins looked like dead fish to begin games throughout Philbin's tenure.
As nicely as they could without directly throwing Philbin under the bus, players have already been raving about how much more energy there is in the locker room since Campbell took over. It remains to be seen if that newfound spark will translate to game day, but ones thing's for sure: Dan Campbell is a 5-Hour Energy shot to this Dolphins team, while Philbin was Aleve PM.