Will The Miami Dolphins Ever Find "It"

Welcome to the Miami Dolphin’s off-season where warts shrink to mere blemishes and gaping holes recede to tiny pinpricks. From the final snap of the Super Bowl until the 2018 regular season begins, our memories will fade and we will try to convince ourselves this is a playoff team.

I know, it’s obnoxious right? As Miami Dolphin fans, we look to the off-season more than the regular season because that’s where we always win. Reality is a wicked little sister and she really knows how to depress Miami fans with all those damn Patriots banners waving in our faces. It’s easier to drink in the mélange of off-season promise and forget the agony of defeat we just endured.

Sorry not yet… I won’t let you off that easy!

While the stink is still fresh and we can think objectively, let’s dive into what it would really take to make the Dolphins relevant again. The starting place must be the quarterback position because, well this is football and football always starts with the quarterback. Yeah, yeah… Team sport and all that stuff, I get it.

Any devout old-school football fan will tell you, the QB doesn’t matter, it’s all about the team. The Eagles won with Nick Foles for heaven’s sake. How valuable can the position be? I guess they give the Super Bowl MVP to QBs as a matter of decorum. I mean just because he’s the guy throwing TD passes and making fourth down plays doesn’t make him deserving of a trip to Disney World.

It’s all about the team…

It’s not.

Nike Foles led the Eagles to 41 points. That doesn’t mean it’s all about Nick, it means Nick did exactly what he was supposed to do in exactly the right moments for the Eagles to win the game. Perhaps it’s not about whether Nike Foles can throw the ball a hundred yards or through a concrete wall while running the 40 yard dash faster than Usain Bolt. Maybe it’s about doing exactly what he’s supposed to do in exactly the right moment.

Notice I’ve used the word “it” a lot…

“It” - It’s a really tiny word that is so huge, kind of a conundrum right? How could such a little word be so big as to describe the most difficult position in world of team sports? There “it” is, the white elephant in the locker room.

Since we are working within the parameters of reality we have to ask the simple question, does Ryan Tannehill have, “it?” Regardless of whether his knee is healed, I don’t think the knee will an issue, but “it” is the thing we must reflect upon with absolute clarity and honesty.

Before making a judgement, we must determine if “it” is a thing that can be instilled (taught) or is “it” a thing certain people have in abundance? Is “it” a product of repetition? Can a QB go through so many reps that when the moment comes the “game slows down” and “it” happens all by itself? I’m just a regular guy so the conjecture I’m about to make is purely my own machination, but I’ll run with “it.”

Good is a product of repetition - Great is a product of repetition and “it.”

This is why we have such a hard time with Ryan Tannehill, he has the physical tools, he’s smart, he works extremely hard, he’s a team guy, and he’s coachable. All these things are completely true, except for “it.” Damn tiny little word is like a pestilent worm burrowing into the grey matter of our brains, what is this freaking “it” thing and how does he get some!

I think it’s also important to understand that “it” is not a static state. That’s part of the mystery of “it,” it comes and goes. So a guy like Ryan Tannehill can have some games where his “it” is off the charts and others where “it” doesn’t show up.

Taken one step further and this is what makes “it” really hard on NFL coaches and personnel guys, “it” cannot stand alone. Therefore, until enough reps have been completed (and that number is different for each QB) the “it” factor cannot become the driving force. “It” can take a guy to a bunch of wins, but without the reps, “it” is the same as a guy with great reps and no “it.”

Good but not great…

We can see these guys a little more clearly now, Tannehill, Stafford, Smith, Ryan, Taylor, there’s a bunch of them right? Stafford and Taylor have some “it” but they don’t seem to be repetition guys. Tannehill, Smith and Ryan seem to be repetition guys without a lot of “it.”

Good but not great…

It’s almost humorous how we wonder about offensive linemen or receivers and running backs on a team like the New England Patriots. The genius talent mogul Bill Belichick and his magic talent wand!

Give me a break…

Old School Dolphin fans know the deal. When you got Marino - Webb, Simms and Stevenson are Pro Bowlers. Put those same guys with Matt Schwab and they’re okay. Clayton, Duper, Moore, hell Marino made Pro Bowlers out of Ferrell Edmonds and Crash Jenson. Marino had “it” in abundance and he did the reps to make him great.

So now we have to get back to reality and it bites. Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have enough “it” to be great. It’s depressing because he’s got so much talent and he seems like a really good guy…

All this rambling leads to the next issue in the “it” cycle. Does Adam Gase truly believe he can whisper “it” into Ryan Tannehill? Wow that’s big!

That damn huge little word again!

If we’ve determined that “it” is the mojo, the moxie, the indescribable something that makes winners, what happens if a coach is cocky enough to think he can instill “it?”

I think that’s a problem and why we say, "these QBs are just good enough to get you fired." This is nothing on Adam Gase or Joe Philbin, etc. because, to get where they have, one of 32 head coaches in the NFL, they’ve got some serious skills and moxie of their own. They believe “it” is coachable or they wouldn’t be coaching NFL QBs.

When Philbin said, “I don’t think Tannehill has ‘it,’” he was promptly fired.

That tells us that way up there in the Miami Dolphin stratosphere, someone with more power than Philbin believes “it” is coachable and brought in the whisperer to prove it…

Now I really like Adam Gase and I do believe he could be a very, very good NFL coach but he’s got one fatal flaw, he believes “it” doesn’t matter! He can coach a guy who has the skills to greatness without “it” and someone above him agrees.

This is the reason the Miami Dolphins have been mediocre for last 20 years. They don’t see this “it” factor has having any relevance.

They will read an article like this one and think, “what does this guy know! This guy is so full of bunk his eyes turned brown. Coach Gase made a winner out of Timmy Freaking Tebow, that’s how good he is!” In that statement lies the fatal flaw…

Tim Tebow could never do enough reps to fix his throwing motion… It wasn’t Gase that whispered sweet nothings into Tebow’s ear, “it” was “it!” Tebow has and has always had “it!” That should be the lesson. Just go back and put on the tape of Tebow bringing Denver back against Miami and leading the Bronco’s to the playoffs and tell me…

Am I really full of bunk?