|At 3-4, we're down, not out. ( Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)|
1. We've Been in this Position Before
Like most of you, I came into this season hopeful that this would be the first time since 2008 that the Miami Dolphins made the playoffs. That 2008 team that won the AFC East and completed a 10-win turnaround from the dismal 1-15 season in 2007 didn't start the season with a bang either. In 2008, the Dolphins started 0-2 and through six games were 2-4, even worse than Miami's start to this season. Through seven games, the Dolphins were 3-4, the exact same record that they have now. Miami went on to win nine of their final 10 games that year. It seems like a stretch to think that this team will finish 11-5, but nine wins may be good enough to earn a playoff bid.
2. We're a Game Back of the Final Playoff Spot
Despite losing four straight and sitting at 3-4, the Miami Dolphins are only a game back of the San Diego Chargers for the final wild card spot. The Chargers visit the Dolphins in less than three weeks and will have to fly across the country to face them for what will be a 10:00 AM start their time. The Chargers have one of the toughest remaining schedules while the Dolphins only have three games left against teams currently with winning records. The only team between Miami and San Diego in the standings is the Jets, whom the Dolphins will play twice this season. Both the Chargers and Jets are teams that the Dolphins can take care of themselves without needing help from the rest of the league. Our guys may be 3-4 now, but the final playoff spot in the AFC this season is probably going to go to a team with fewer than 10 wins.
3. We're a Resilient Bunch
The last three weeks have been without a doubt heartbreaking, but this team has shown to be a resilient bunch. The Dolphins bounced back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game against Baltimore and a 14-point deficit to take the lead against Buffalo. After losing both of those heartbreakers, Miami has the mental toughness to come back the next week and start fast against New England. This group has a lot of flaws, but they have not shown to be one willing to roll over and die yet.
4. Our Best Players Have not Played Their Best
There is still a lot of talent on this team and to this point, it has not played its best. Despite that, the Dolphins were able to start 3-0 and become just the second team to beat the Colts in Indianapolis, something not even Peyton Manning and the Broncos could do. As the season goes on, it's hard for me to believe that some of our guys won't start playing the way that they should. While it's been inefficient for the most part, Mike Wallace has led the Dolphins in receiving three weeks in a row. Cameron Wake hasn't recorded a sack since Week 1 against Cleveland, but I refuse to believe that he's done. You can't tell me that a guy who had to go through the CFL just to get a shot at playing in the NFL is going to let one arm injury ruin his career. Also, Reshad Jones, who was an absolute beast a season ago has made really only one play to this point. These guys can get going and if and when they do, the team that we've watched over the last month can hopefully go away.
5. Most of Our Problems are Fixable
The Dolphins are having all sorts of issues right now, but none that aren't fixable. They are not a result of having bad players, they're a result of players playing badly. In each of our last two losses, we have done more to beat ourselves than our opponents have done to beat us. Yes, the offensive line is bad, but our quarterback Ryan Tannehill can cut down on the turnovers by recognizing blitzes better and not forcing throws. The second part of that is mental. We saw what he could do during the early parts of the season and I find it hard to believe that he just became a bad passer overnight. Some of Miami's sore spots have been fixed in recent weeks. Look how far the running game has come since the Dolphins ran for 22 yards against the Ravens. We're starting to use Lamar Miller the right way out of the backfield and over the last two weeks, even Daniel Thomas has averaged better than five yards-per-carry. Those were actually physical issues that our Dolphins were able to fix. The mental ones should be less difficult.
6. A Losing Streak is Not a Death Sentence
Yes, our Miami Dolphins are down after losing four straight, but one thing they are not is out. The last two Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens a season ago and the New York Giants in 2011, each overcame long losing streaks to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens lost three straight games late last season and four of their last five heading into the playoffs before winning four games, three away from home including the Super Bowl. The year before, the Giants dropped four straight from early November to early December and five of six from November 13th to December 18th. I'm not suggesting that Miami will go on to win the Super Bowl, but turnarounds after difficult skids are not only possible, they've become common.
Mike Ferguson is a staff writer at Dolphin Shout and the founder and editor of Outside the Redzone. Like Outside the Redzone on Facebook! Also, follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson