The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

DEFYING THE LAWS OF PARITY

The NFL, which has been called the No Fun League, was designed for parity so that lower echelon teams will not remain so for long periods of time. The Miami Dolphins, fresh off another losing season in which only a gift overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens kept them from having an imperfect season, have defied the laws of parity. They have now completed their sixth consecutive season without a playoff appearance. And the way this 1-15 season unfolded, it appears as though it will be yet another few years before the Fins gain a measure of respectability. This team has more holes than would seem possible in this day and age where the salary cap, reverse-order drafting and weighted scheduling are specifically designed to keep all teams competitive.

Thankfully, team owner Wayne Huizenga once again opened his wallet, this time to hire Bill Parcells, who will not allow the team to continue dropping the ball on the draft the way it has done over the last decade. It is well known that the Fins’ draft failures are a significant factor in their present plight. So bringing in Parcells was a good move.

Parcells has a definite upside to him. He has the Super Bowl rings to prove it. But those rings were earned years ago as a head coach. He is now 66 years old and he has no desire to be a head coach or a GM. That could spell trouble since he will almost assuredly give walking papers to Coach Cam and GM Mueller in the coming days. The question is who can he hire to replace them. Many established coaches would likely turn down an offer by the Fins because most established coaches wouldn’t want Parcells looking over their shoulder and pulling the strings on all important decisions. The same is true for established GMs. And that could be the first big problem of the Parcells’ era. Bringing in Parcels as the owners’ czar may severely limit the ability to find established replacements for Cameron and Mueller. It will require the hiring of truly unique individuals who, despite their own talents which qualify them for the respective positions in the first instance, will be willing to check their egos at the door. Whether such a mix will be possible to find will likely be Parcells’ toughest job in the early days. And there will be many tough days ahead as he tries to right this ship.

And yes, there was a game on Sunday, a game which was both meaningless and depressing. The defense got their butts kicked once again as the Bengals threw the ball up and down the field with ease. If only the Fins had Carson Palmer and some of his receivers. The positives were few and far between in the 38-25 loss. Lorenzo Booker again showed why keeping him off the field until well into the second-half of the season was another blunder by Coach No Cam Do. Lorenzo brings some life to the offense and he is showing just how dangerous he can be in the open field. On this day he had 33 yards rushing (4.7 yard average) and 54 yards receiving (7.6 yard average). John Beck, who mysteriously had to wait until Cleo Lemon was injured to get into the game, finally led the offense to the end zone. Why Lemon was playing in the first place is another Coach Cam wonder. What benefit does the organization realize by playing a guy who was clearly wearing a Dolphins’ uniform for the last time? Why keep Beck on the bench when it is so vitally important to see what he can do before the Fins must pull the trigger on the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft which is only 4 months away? On Sunday, Beck finally got the offense moving. He scored one touchdown on a QB run and threw a 25-yard pass to Derek Hagan in the back corner of the end zone for another. It was certainly a case of too little, too late. But it was nice to see Beck finally get the team into the end zone. Perhaps it will be something for him to build upon, assuming Parcells even keeps him on the roster next season.

While the Fins’ had trouble getting to Carson Palmer on Sunday, the Dolphins’ sack leader this coming week will definitely be Parcells. The word for the week will be change. Hopefully, the changes will include the firing of Coach No Cam Do and GM Randy Mueller. Tomorrow would not be too soon.

It would appear that no one in management and few of the players currently on the roster will be safe as the Tuna tries to remake this dreadful team. Parcells will assuredly bring in his own management people and his own kind of players. And with these changes, perhaps the Fins’ can stop defying the laws of parity before this decade is out.

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