The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA AND COUNTING

How ironic, the team that proudly fielded Number 13, Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who struck fear in the minds of opposing defenses, itself suffered from triskaidekaphobia ever since it sustained its twelfth loss of the season last Sunday. All week long the Fins and their faithful feared that they might reach unlucky 13. After the 38-17 loss to the Bills, it’s a case of triskaidekaphobia and counting!

The Fins may not be good at shortening the first down sticks, but they have gotten very adept at shortening the game. They played so poorly early on against the Bills that the game was over well before halftime. In the first quarter, they surrendered 24 points leading to an insurmountable 31-7 halftime lead.

This team is seriously in the dumps and it does not appear that anyone can see the way out. The imperfect season is a virtual lock after the way the Fins gave up in the second half against the Jets and let the Bills walk over them on Sunday. What else is there to say? How about “Dump Cam!”

This is not to place the full weight of this winless season on Cam’s shoulders. He was not the one responsible for the miserable drafting of the last decade. He was not the one who depleted the roster over the last several years. But he (with the assistance of Randy Mueller who should also be given his walking papers) has made roster mistakes, most notably letting go key members of the defensive line rotation from last season (the Bills were the third team this season to run for more than 200 yards against the Fins). He also does not seem to be much of a motivator. He has made poor in-game decisions, too. And the murky reports about who was calling the offensive plays against the Jets seems, well, full of Mularkey, so to speak.

The biggest reason being advanced for not dumping Cameron is that the Fins have had too many coaching changes in the last 5 years. Such logic is suspect at best. If Cam is the wrong one, then he is the wrong one. It doesn’t matter if he is the first wrong coaching choice in 10 years or the fifth wrong coaching choice in 5 years. If you make 5 mistakes in selecting a girlfriend, would that constitute a sound reason to marry the next gal to come around?

Given the fact that the Fins’ have all but wrapped up the first overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, careful consideration must be given to who will be pulling the trigger come draft day. Given their performance to date, do you really want it to be the Camueller team? That is the crucial question to be resolved by the Fins’ ownership in the coming weeks, if not days. If the answer is no, then a change needs to be made soon so top-notch replacements can be found and given the benefit of as much time as possible to prepare for April’s draft.

After the last two games, the Fins’ quarterback position is wide open. Cameron’s “QB of the future” has looked like today’s nightmare in each of the last two games. Last week Beck gave the Jets 5 turnovers. This week he had a turnover that was so weird it was unclear if it would be ruled a fumble or an interception. What was clear was that the Bills returned the ball for a touchdown. In his almost 13 quarters as the Fins’ QB, he has not led a single touchdown drive. Not surprisingly, he did not survive that weird first quarter turnover as he was replaced by Cleo Lemon following the ensuing kickoff. Cleo did lead the Fins to 10 third quarter points, however, it was too little, too late. Cleo finished the day 22 of 42 for 241 yards with 2 interceptions. But we already know that Cleo is a lemon, winless in all of his starts this imperfect season. If he is to be the starter for these Dolphins going forward, the current losing streak (dating back to last season) is likely to extend well beyond 16 games. The bottom line is that which QB gets the start next week is a lot less important of an issue than will the Camueller team be given another season to disprove themselves.

The uncertainty at QB will weigh heavily in the decision-making process of the Dolphins’ first-round draft selection. Having the top pick allows the Dolphins the luxury of picking whoever they want regardless of what other players may be coveted by other teams. If they select right, then that pick can truly be a difference maker. If they select wrong, then they will squander a lot of precious salary cap dollars and their roster will be worse off for it. The decision is a monumental one. And that seems more of a significant factor in deciding the fate of Camueller than how many coaches the Fins’ have had in the last 5 years. The way things look Dolfans should be a lot more fearful of a continuation of the Camueller regime, then what may lay beyond triskaidekaphobia for these 2007 Dolphins.

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