2 more games to go, but now the Dolphins will just play these games with no pressure, no worry, because the playoffs have slipped away. I’m not even angry, I think the team mustered what they could with a depleted lineup, and there was no crushing, disappointing loss to an inferior team at the end like losing to the Bills or the Jets with the playoffs right in our grasp. This season we traveled to Minnesota to play the Vikings, and while the Vikings aren’t a juggernaut, they were at least healthier than we were. I thought we had a shot if we had CB Xavien Howard healthy, but he was unable to play, which made me doubt our chances. Rightfully so.
Minkah Fitzpatrick was forced into much more corner duty than usual due to the Howard injury, and although he had a pick 6, he’s still learning and is definitely taking his lumps too. The Vikes have 2 excellent receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and both schooled him during the game. Nothing wrong with that, Minkah really didn’t play a lot at CB at Bama, and he’s played sparingly on the boundary here in MIA. Expecting him to cover either of those guys all day is a lot to ask.
Now that RB Frank Gore is done for the season, the Dolphins can take a better look at Kalen Ballage, and maybe Kenyan Drake will get more touches too. I still feel like Drake is underused, and has been all season. I think it’s also possible that our Pro Bowl corner, Xavien Howard might be done, Cornell Armstrong and Torry McTyer will get their chance to make some hay, or on the negative side, make it obvious we need to draft more CB’s.
Although we will probably end up either .500, or below .500, I’m at peace with it. Too many injuries, and just not enough talent to make up for it. I still think we should make QB a priority next season. It doesn’t mean we have to take one with our 1st pick, but if the right guy is there, go get him. There are a number of needs, obviously the O-line is a need, but we can’t draft 2 OG’s and an OC all in one draft. We’re going to have to once again acquire more O-line in FA, and we have a huge decision with Ja’Wuan James. I’d prefer to sign James. James has missed time every other year, and if the pattern continues, it will happen next year, but I don’t want to lose him. I don’t believe in the pattern, and I also don’t think you should let your good players that you draft go.
We need defense next year. Crazy to think that young 6th RD draft pick Vincent Taylor was our best DT. When he was injured, things really went south, but the late FA pick ups starting coming around (Ziggy Hood, Sylvester Williams), but neither are signed through next year. That leaves us thin and in need on the D-line, with Godchaux, Spence and Taylor. We also scooped up DT Kendrick Norton from the Panthers PS, so he will get a look in the next 2 games as well. Norton is a big run stuffing DT, but doesn’t offer a lot as far as pass rush abilities. Still, watching the Dolphins get gashed all season by opposing teams run games, sounds like Norton is just what the doctor ordered, although temper that somewhat, as Norton was a 7th RD pick still on someones practice squad.
We have some tough decisions on DE. I love Cam Wake, but he needs to simply be a role player, not a starting DE at this point of his career. He would probably more effective as a pass rusher in a part time role at his age. Robert Quinn is due nearly $13M. No way is he worth that, but dammit, we have no depth there, and Charles Harris is still freaking M.I.A. I could see Quinn gone, and maybe they just throw Harris in as the starter on one side and draft another DE early for the other side. Wake in part time duty, and possibly a re-sign of William Hayes.
I’m happy to be not angry at our team for a change, but I think changes are coming. Gase has earned another year at a minimum, and although Ryan Tannehill did his best, and he will most likely be back next season, his replacement must be found. He’s a gamer, and a warrior, but he’s not special. Find special. The best NFL teams have Special, and the others keep looking for it. We need to identify and find Special, or our team never will be. Whether it’s Herbert, Lock, Haskins, Grier or Finley, find him. We don’t have to take a QB in the 1st RD, maybe Special is in the 2nd or 3rd RD, it’s possible. Try and find it.
In the next 2 games, I want to see Kendrick Norton, Kalen Ballage, Kenyan Drake, Brice Butler, Isaiah Ford, Cornell Armstrong and Torry McTyer. Heck, let’s take a look at David Fales too, why not? How about with 2 games left, put Charles Harris in as the starter. Just do it, see if the kid shows a little something, prime him for next season. I’m not angry with the team, but Harris and his lack of production/playing time makes me angry. Get him in there!