It's mid-January, so you know what that must mean: The Miami Dolphins are finished playing football. Other teams are still playing, but the Miami Dolphins — per usual — are not one of those teams.
Entering week 17, the Dolphins only needed a win against Buffalo or a loss by any one of three other teams to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Unfortunately, none of those things happened. For a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 2000 and has only made the postseason a handful of times since Dan Marino retired in 1999, the ways in which the Dolphins continue to miss the playoffs have become comical, if also depressing.
Dolphins fans are used to it, though. January to July is a well-known Dolphins dead zone.
For fans who are feeling the pain of going cold turkey, we've compiled a list of ten things to do until the games reappear around the bend this fall.
Kill time at work playing Dolphins general manager. You've heard of mock drafts where other people try to predict who teams will select in the upcoming NFL draft, right? And you've definitely participated in a fantasy draft.
Now imagine if those two things had a sports baby. That's the ProFootballNetwork Mock Draft Simulator. Prepare to lose hours of your life to this black hole of entertainment on the internet.
This year, the site has added a feature where other teams can propose trades to you. It's like it's real! Do a few, tweet the screenshots, and in four years, tell everyone, with proof, that you're better at player evaluations than the Dolphins are.
Will Deshaun Watson be taking his talents to South Beach? ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/o1EkgroCB6— PFF (@PFF) January 11, 2021
Immerse yourself in Deshaun Watson trade rumors. There is a more-than-zero chance that the Miami Dolphins will trade Tua Tagovailoa this offseason. If you told me I would be writing that sentence two weeks ago, I would have said you must have that VIP medical marijuana card that gets you into the back closet. Matters have changed, however, and suddenly the quarterback who led the league in passing this season is not only available but rumored to be considering forcing a trade to the Dolphins.
Could it happen? Who knows. All I know is I cannot remember the last time a player voluntarily proclaimed his desire to come to the Dolphins without money being the foremost motivating factor. Soak it in. This may never happen again.
Give a crap about the Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl takes place on January 30, and the Miami Dolphins have accepted the task of coaching one of the teams. This is great news because whenever a team gets to coach the game, it's a huge advantage heading into the draft.
Phins fans don't have much to do over the course of the next eight months, so you might as well take advantage of Dolphins coaches still coaching football on your TV in late January.
Watch highlights of future Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame wide receiver DeVonta Smith. If you watched the college football national championship game on Monday night, you know that Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith is that dude. Smith ended the game with 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns and was named the offensive MVP of the game. That's a pretty great game, especially considering he did it all in the first half — Smith left the game after he injured his hand on the first play of the second half.
The Dolphins need a weapon for Tua, and badly. They don't get much better than DeVonta Smith coming out of college.
Dedicate at least a week solely to laughing at the New York Jets. What makes everyone feel better about themselves when they missed the playoffs? Laughing at the New York Jets' coaching search and overall operation, that's what. The Jets will provide us with high comedy this offseason. We know this because this is what they do.
The Jets need a new coach and have the number-two overall draft pick to screw up. They can't possibly do as poorly as they did when they hired Adam Gase, but we're going to have fun watching them try.
Stalk Tua Tagovailoa on social media for offseason updates. If the Dolphins don't end up trading for Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa is the man with the plan in his hands. The Dolphins' fate depends on whether Tua Tagovailoa ends up looking elite, like a Russell Wilson, or just a middle-of-the-road quarterback.
Tua finally has an offseason that doesn't involve gluing his hip together, and this year won't be as COVID-restricted as last year was. Stalking his social media for clues about how hard he's working to get better is all Dolphins fans have for a few months.
Do the Dolphins re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick? The answer to this question — for all of our sanity — should be no. Tua does not need Ryan Fitzpatrick looking over his shoulder again in 2021. He does not need Fitzpatrick to teach him anything a quarterback coach, head coach, or any other teammate can inform him of.
Fitzpatrick almost cost the Dolphins Tua in the draft, and he did nothing but hurt the young quarterback's growth in 2020. Watch to see if the Dolphins continue to make the mistake of keeping Fitzpatrick around next season.
Follow closely which NFL free agents are available. The Dolphins need offensive weapons, and they should be able to afford one or two good players if all things remain the same. (See: If they don't trade for Watson.) Here is a handy-dandy list of all the NFL free agents this summer.
Use it. Study it. Let it become a part of your life. It's all we have at this point.
Potential Dolphins offensive coordinator candidate off market. Anthony Lynn among recent former head coaches with OC experience who are options for Flores. And Gase of course. (Kidding!) https://t.co/qtLX2nJJMA— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 12, 2021
Keep an eye on who the Dolphins hire as their new offensive coordinator. Who the Dolphins hire to replace Chan Gailey could be a bigger move than anyone the team drafts. As fans learned this season after watching the 69-year-old Gailey call the plays after years of retirement, even the best players can look like crap if the play-caller is stuck in the past.
The Dolphins must hire someone who isn't old enough to be Tua's grandpa and knows how to use him in an offense that wasn't invented in the 1940s. Watch who they decide to bring in.
Do your part to ensure fans can attend Dolphins games next season. There's a good chance that when the Dolphins next play a home game in September, the stadium will be filled with fans. That will only happen if fans do their part in wearing masks and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
If everyone does what they need to do to get this bastard of a virus under control, Dolphins games will go back to being open to the public next season. If it's too much to ask that you wear a mask and get a vaccine, well, you should buy a bigger television set, because you won't be seeing the Dolphins play in person for a long time.
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