Miami Dolphins' Future is Now

Where do the Miami Dolphins go from here? Is it a question of talent or heart? Forget about coaches, the coaching carousel has changed enough times to be certain the problem is in the Miami locker room. Questioning players always leads back to one position, the quarterback.

Throw a few names at the wall to begin analyzing these players. DeVante Parker for instance, he has all but disappeared when he was proclaimed to be some kind of freak in the off-season. He is a first round pick and obviously a mistake. It doesn't really even matter whether he performs well the rest of the season; the season is over for all intents and purposes.

Next season will be his fourth and when a first round pick takes four years to make an impact well, it's a mistake. Two interceptions happened Sunday against the Patriots on passes intended for Parker. The effort shown to avoid those picks and make a play was abysmal. The quarterback will get the stat, but it was on Parker to make a play and he did not, even in the endzone. Just say it... Bust.

Ryan Tannehill, okay, we're not supposed to talk about him because he's injured. He's a first round pick. He's 37 and 40 in 77 starts. The only winning season since he's been in Miami was one he couldn't complete. Whether it's fair or not to pass judgment is irrelevant, it will be his seventh season and there's virtually nothing to show for it. The fact is, six seasons and the first round pick has done nothing special...

Mike Pouncey, a first round center. He's supposed to be really good, but the Miami offensive line has never been dominant with Pouncey. We're not supposed to talk about him either because he's always injured and the coaches proclaim him to be great. Well he's not. He's at least playing this year, which has to add some value. The thing is, his future is uncertain, at best, and this article is about the future...

JaWuan James is not too bad for a right tackle. Here's the thing, when intentionally drafting a right tackle in the first round, the player should be dominant. It may not be easy, but right tackles can be found in other rounds. James is injured, James was injured last season. He's not a bad player, but as a first round pick, he's a right tackle and he's not exceptional...

Laremy Tunsil and Charles Harris, as recent first round picks, these guys are a little too fresh to throw completely into the fire. Tunsil is not playing like a dominating left tackle. Harris has flashed a little as a rookie, but it would have been nice to have a real monster show up in Miami, he didn't. The dominant tag cannot be placed on either of these players yet and the word bust would be premature, but the signs all point to nothing special...

Maxwell and Alonso, the big trade a couple years ago from Philly for our eighth pick and their thirteenth. Maxwell is gone. Alonso is marginal against the run and cannot cover anybody, meanwhile Tunsil is in question. Looking at the two teams from a personnel decision-making point of view, Philadelphia is rising like a rocket and Miami is plummeting like the Skylab.

Philly knew one thing, the NFL is completely predicated on quarterback play. There is no other barometer that comes close to determining how good an NFL team will be year in and year out than the player at that one position.

Philadelphia had traded for Sam Bradford and knew he was not the answer. They then gave up four draft picks including a first rounder to swap the first round pick they acquired from Miami to trade with Cleveland for the 2nd pick in the draft. They did this because they knew, without a great QB it didn't matter. They could draft a Parker, or a Pouncey, or a James, or a Tunsil, or a Harris, just keep naming them, and it wouldn't matter.

They had to draft a quarterback because Bradford was not the answer...

Like Ryan Tannehill, he was never going to be a great quarterback...

They knew, a team in the NFL without a great QB, really doesn't matter in the long run.

Miami can have fifty coaches, Miami can have fifty directors of personnel and fifty tackles and centers and wide receivers, it just doesn't matter. Teams will not win consistently in the NFL without a great QB. There is no other quantifiable way for a team to be great over the course of many seasons. A team can win now and then without a great QB, but never consistently.

The argument against this premise is myopic and really just plain denial.

Don Shula knew this emphatically, he drafted Dan Marino the year after going to the Super Bowl with David Woodley. Unfortunately, Miami never won the Super Bowl with Marino, but they certainly were in the hunt every year. They certainly were more exciting to watch than anything in Miami since. They always had a chance because of one player.

So what's the point of this article?

Miami must not sit back and think that losing Ryan Tannehill was the reason for this lost season.

Tannehill has never been great, never in six seasons. Carson Wentz, year two we see greatness, Jared Goff, year two we see potential. We knew it right away with Marino, Brady was leading his team the the Super Bowl by his second season. This is not rocket science. Even Drew Brees is no longer a viable excuse for thinking Tannehill will change his spots.

It is not about liking or not liking Tannehill, he's a nice guy and seems like he could be something, but that's the trap. Projecting after a certain number of seasons becomes a fool's game. The NFL is not a place to project a player at thirty years old. Isn't the injury to Tannehill's knee reason enough to understand that every year he becomes more vulnerable and it will only get worse.

Adam Gase has the potential to be a very good NFL coach but he will never attain that in Miami unless he's given the primary tool he needs for success. There's no magic. Belichick - Brady, Shula - Marino, Walsh - Montana, Lombardi - Starr, there's no magic.

Gase desperately needs his own quarterback. Not these inherited quarterbacks. He's confident to a fault and a good general manager and/or personnel director must save him from himself or lose him. Allow him to go out and find the guy he likes and find a way to make it happen. Just like Doug Pederson did in Philly. Pederson played for Shula, remember?

No one can project greatness at the QB position, many have tried and most have failed. If ever there was an imperfect science, this is it, but Gase knows what he wants. Miami knows what it has in Tannehill just like Philly knew what they had in Bradford. The difference is that Philly figured out Bradford was not going to be the guy before spending seven years trying.

Philly did not cut Bradford, but they did extraordinary things to make sure they got a guy they thought could be great. Miami does not need to cut Tannehill. They need to go find their future QB and do extraordinary things to make it happen.

Miami cannot continue to waste first round draft picks on tackles and centers and WRs when none of those players is ever going to make this team great. These players only compliment the one person who can make the Miami Dolphins great again, a quarterback.

This blog is a perfect example of what is happening in Miami. Here I sit writing these little soliloquies to myself because no one is listening or caring any longer.

The only way Miami can win back fans is by going out and finding a great quarterback for Coach Adam Gase. The tackles will suddenly look better, the center will suddenly be great again, the wide receiver will play like he wants to make a catch because they don't want to let that guy down.

It doesn't matter if Miami wins another game this season, it means nothing and therefore it is not worth the NFL's price of a middling draft pick. Yes, I'm saying Miami should lose every game the rest of this reason and set itself up to do the right thing.

Draft Adam Gase a quarterback, or lose him to a team that will when you fire him for not being able to make Tannehill into something he has never been.

It's time Miami... Go and get the player this city has been begging for since Dan Marino retired.

Then maybe, I can stop writing to myself...