Final grades for the 2017 Miami Dolphins (and a vow not to be soft in ’18)

Jay Cutler couldn’t produce miracles in his one-year run with the Dolphins. (Getty Images)



Now that we’ve gone through each position on the team, it’s time to take a step back and see what we’ve learned. My takeaways from the project:

• How inconsistent can you get? The Dolphins won only six games this season, but three victories came against teams in the final eight of the playoffs: the Titans, Falcons and Patriots.

That shows that when they were at their best, the Dolphins could be more competitive than you’d expect of a 6-10 team. So why weren’t they?  There’s plenty of blame to go around.

The only position groups that didn’t receive an F at some point were running backs and receivers. The only group that never received an A was the offensive line. In other words, five of the eight groups were either excellent or awful on any given week.

Coaching came into play. It was good enough to have Adam Gase in the discussion for coach of the year a season ago, poor enough that Gase lit a stick of dynamite under his staff once the season ended. We sensed that might happen after the Ravens game, when Gase publicly grumbled that maybe players weren’t taught the way they should be. The Dolphins were penalized 17 times in one game this season. Ridiculous.

Reliance on players who didn’t deserve it was a big factor, too. That’s something you can pin on the front office for acquiring those players and the coaching and scouting staff for recommending them.

• Greatest extremes: Running backs earned the most As, four. Linebackers received the most Fs, four.

• Strength of the team: Going strictly by my instant grades we publish at the end of each game, the running backs graded out the highest, with a GPA of 2.59, about a C-plus. They were followed by the defensive line (2.29) and receivers (2.21). Dragging the team down were linebackers (1.69) and offensive line (1.61).

• After further review: The “final-semester” grades I attached to each position group, after weighing the season as a whole, are as follows:

1. Running backs: B

2. Receivers and defensive line: B-minus

4. Defensive backs and special teams: C

6. Quarterbacks and offensive line: C-minus

8. Linebackers: D-plus

• Bottom line: The cumulative team GPA for the season — based off the game-by-game grades — is 2.09. That’s a C, which is what an 8-8 team deserves, not a 6-10 team.

• Bottom line to the bottom line: I was too soft on these guys! Sad!


[GRADING THE QBs: Barely a passing grade is all they deserved]

[GRADING THE RBs: Kenyan Drake’s explosiveness offers hope for ’18]

[GRADING THE OL: Without upgrade next season, team isn’t going anywhere]

[GRADING THE RECEIVERS: The top two are obvious … but then what?]

[GRADING THE DL: Lots of dollars, so why not lots of sacks?]

[GRADING THE LBs: All downhill once opponents discovered blueprint]

[GRADING THE DBs: Veteran safeties, youthful corners form good nucleus for ’18]

[GRADING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Parkey, Haack have moments, but unit has ups and downs]


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