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  Dolphins Can't Stop Losing
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OL Key to Success in 2004

Dolphins Can't Stop Losing

by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist



"Everybody has got their opinions, but the facts are the facts. We know why we haven't won games. Some of the reasons are real obvious, and they're obvious to everybody."—Dave Wannstedt


So when does it end?


When will the Dolphins win a game? Can they win a game? Surely they are better than 0-6.




Just when you thought the slide would end, when you thought the perfect patsy had come along to stand on, the Dolphins found a way to slide one rung further down the ladder.


Make no mistake about it, last weekend’s loss to the previously winless Bills was worse than it looked. It was essentially a bad team losing handily to another bad team.


Once again, it was same sad refrain…ill-timed penalties, mental breakdowns, a late defensive collapse and poor quarterback play.


After three months of work, there seems to be no appreciable improvement in these Dolphins. They’re as bad today as they were against Tennessee.


I could sit here and write an epistle on all of the specific things that are wrong with the Miami Dolphins. As Wannstedt says, some are “obvious”, some not.


Simply put, this season has been reduced to two universally undeniable facts.


1) The roster is not of playoff caliber but is better than 0-6.


2) Winning is a habit. So is losing.


What is now becoming worrisome is that the defense’s confidence seems to be draining away. Watching Buffalo’s lousy offensive line control the ball for the final six minutes of the game isn’t what the Dolphins needed.


And the timing couldn’t be worse with the explosive St. Louis Rams coming into the Stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie.


If the Dolphin defense isn’t careful, this one could get ugly.


What matters now is that the Dolphins find a way, any way, to get a win.


What will it take?


Don’t look to Dave Wannstedt and his staff for the answers. They don’t have them. If they did, things would have already changed for the better.


Don’t look at Rick Spielman for the answers. He thinks that all of his personnel decisions have been sound and can’t understand why the team isn’t winning.


Don’t look at the players for the answers. They continue on with the same tired “shoot ourselves in the foot” refrain yet don’t seem to learn or change their behaviors. Most of them don’t deserve your faith any longer.


This is just a bad football team, one of the worst we’ve seen in the NFL in some time.


This is why it is so hard to know when (or if) they will win a game. There is nothing predictable or dependable about this bunch.


Something needs to change if this team is going to get off the schnide.


The foundation of a good football team is smart play. By this I mean that penalties, turnovers, and misassignments are minimized.


This is where the Dolphins can help themselves the most right now. Players need to know their assignments and play under control.


When we see a veteran like Randy McMichael run the wrong route in a redzone situation, or a line protection called that forces a center to swing out and block a safety on the blitz, that’s a sure sign that players are not as mentally prepared as they should be.


On the subject of preparation, the coaches need to be doing more to put the team in a position to be successful.


An old saying in sports is that “you practice how you play”. If there are mistakes in the games, there are mistakes in practice. OR, the practices are not challenging enough to drive out the mistakes.


Is the gameplanning aggressive enough? The Bills ran a fleaflicker against the Dolphin defense. Why don’t the Dolphins try something like that to generate some cheap points?


One way or another, the coaches need to demand more from themselves and the players.


What’s happening now isn’t good enough. Continuing to do more of the same won’t change the results the Dolphins have been getting on the field.


More of the same won’t stop the losing.



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