One of the biggest challenges a coach and front office can face in the NFL is being honest with themselves about where they stand. It’s easy for the Dolphins or any other team to convince themselves they’re only a piece or two away from contending because every team wants to believe that.
It’s hard to sit down after a 6-10 season and accept that the roster needs an overhaul. That’s where Miami was at the end of last year, and coach Adam Gase wasn’t fooled into thinking the team was close.
“We’re critical,” he said. “Nobody’s ever afraid to say what went wrong or whether they made a mistake. It’s brutal honesty. It’s not always fun to hear, but that’s what it is.
“That’s what this league is. No one’s ever shy about telling you that you screwed up or you did something wrong or you should have gotten this guy over this guy.”
That was the starting point for Miami’s roster makeover, which included dropping Ndamukong Suh, Mike Pouncey and Jarvis Landry. Financially and otherwise, the Dolphins didn’t envision being competitive with those three on the roster.
They’ve been conservative in the free agent market, too, with the splashiest signings being slot receiver Albert Wilson and left guard Josh Sitton. Both of those players came aboard with modest contracts.
The Dolphins did not rush to spend big at tight end or linebacker, which are two positions of need they might address in the upcoming draft or when other players are cut loose this summer. Gase and vice president Mike Tannenbaum are staying patient while they work through their options and have said not to judge the personnel until they set their lineup at the beginning of the season.
“If you take the pieces of the puzzle that you either have or you’ve added and really once you get through the draft, you’ve kind of got to figure out a way to make it work,” Gase said. “The league is so close talent-wise. Right now we look at everything in a positive light because we get our starting quarterback back.”
That’s in reference to Ryan Tannehill, of course. He hasn’t played since December 2016 because of knee injuries, and getting him back healthy would be the biggest offseason addition for the Dolphins.
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