Thursday, September 23, 2004

I Feel Sorry For Wannstedt


I’m not a Miami Dolphin fan, but I sure feel sorry for Dave Wannstedt.

Of all the years to pretty much have your job under the microscope.

Last season, the Dolphins missed the playoffs with a 10-6 mark. Quite a nice record to be sitting at home in January. And, unlike in past seasons….the Phins actually won 5 of their last 7 games. It just wasn’t enough.

So, Wannstedt was stripped of his personnel duties and told to concentrate on coaching. Well….thank God those personnel decisions were well taken care of, huh?? First, Dan Marino was brought in to be…..well…..Dan Marino. After owner Wayne Huizenga adamantly denied this to be a “figure head role” for Marino… one else thought that way. Three weeks later, Marino stepped aside.

Oh yeah….those personnel decisions. Well, they dumped Brian Griese since he didn’t look to be the future of the franchise. But A.J. Feely was. They took a stab at a guy that had barely played in the NFL….and wanted him as the future [since it worked up the coast in Carolina with Delhomme]. They gave Feely every opportunity to “win” the starting job in the preseason. But, instead, the job stayed with Mr. Reliable-yet-unspectacular, Jay Fiedler. After a poor first half showing against the Titans….Fiedler was pulled for Feely. Feely has had 3 bad halves since then….and will be the starter against the Steelers this week. So….not only does it seem that Wannstedt has no say in personnel decisions in the front office….it looks as if he barely has them on the field.

At least he has Ricky Williams. Whoops. Williams “retired” [read: quit] the Dolphins just days before camp so he can find himself. Basically, all this working really bogarted his time smoking up the hippie lettuce. And, not surprising…his teammates aren’t really calling him up to wish him well or to talk him into coming back. Why would they be mad?? Williams was only THEIR ENTIRE OFFENSE!!! Not only was him quitting bad enough…but the timing left the Dolphins in a bind. They didn’t actively pursue anyone in the draft or via free agency. Eddie George was a free agent just days before Ricky quit. Bon Voyage, Pothead!!

And the guys that are still there aren’t helping matters either. Tight end Randy McMichael was charged when he hit his pregnant wife in a domestic dispute. Junior Seau made some offensive remarks. David Boston, their prized free agent, blew out his tire and is out for the season. They then traded holdout DE Adewale Ogunleye to the Bears for Marty Booker.

Their offensive line was patched up and been together for about a week now. Their running backs are horrible….and injured. No one respects their passing game….even though they have some good receivers. Because of that….the run “attack” has suffered. Just a mere 90 yards rushing in two games thus far. With that, a defense vs. offense rift has developed. Sam Madison has already ripped into Feely.

We get FOUR prime time chances to view this mess. They have two Monday night games…and two Sunday night games, including last week’s loss to the Bengals. Not to mention that a hurricane moved up their season opener to be the only NFL game played that day.

Not to mention that they could be playing in the toughest division in football. The defending champion Patriots are there.....the 2-0 Jets…and the underachieving Bills….all are much better than the Dolphins. They are 0-2 for the first time since 1988. Back in 1988, the Dolphins were the only news in town. Now, Miami holds the defending World Series champion as the Marlins and a Shaquille O’Neal in a Heat uniform. Interest in the Dolphins may be on a short leash.

Of course, all this blame will land on the shoulder of coach Dave Wannstedt. Not all of this is his doing. In fact, most of it isn’t. Soon, the players will give up on him because the season will be a lost cause and Wannstedt will be a lame duck. But, it pains me that he will get the brunt of this all season long….only to be [most likely] fired at season’s end….with *gasp* Steve Spurrier in to take his place.

While Dave isn’t the best coach in the league….he does deserve better than this. Thus, far, it seems he has been standing up to the heat pretty valiantly…only to know that he’s the captain of a sinking ship. For that, give him some credit. And Miamians, give him some mercy.

No comments: