Dave Wannstedt….get your shorts on….grab a towel and a beer…and just chill on the beach.
If you haven’t heard yet, Wannstedt, the second longest Dolphin coach in team history, was “resigned” from his head coaching position of the Miami Dolphins tonight. The Dolphins are 1-8 and are in the midst of their worst season in franchise history…and their first losing season 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…as evident by the many fans dressed as seats at the game against Arizona. 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…..though 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. Now he is winning games upstate in Tampa. 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. Lateron…Feely was pulled for Fiedler. Neither player has done anything to warrant a backup QB role…let alone starter status.
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. Every running back they throw out there gets knicked up.
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 [they lost the first one badly]…and two Sunday night games, including a loss to the Bengals. Not to mention that a hurricane moved up their season opener to be the only NFL game played that day….and moved a Sunday game against the Steelers to that night.
Not to mention that they could be playing in the toughest division in football. The defending champion Patriots are there.....the 6-2 Jets…and the underachieving Bills….all are much better than the Dolphins.
Of course, all this blame will land on the shoulder of coach Dave Wannstedt. Not all of this is his doing. I mean, he couldn’t help Ricky Williams quitting…or Boston’s injury…or Hurricanes causing scheduling conflicts. He has, however, underachieved. He had a team with 7 Pro Bowlers,sacks leader in Jason Taylor and the leading rusher [Ricky] in 2002.…yet missed the playoffs. They haven’t won a playoff game in 4 years. He really finalized the move of moving Dan Marino into retirement [even Jimmy Johnson couldn’t do that] and replaced him with a no-name like Fiedler.
Now he’s gone….and the Phins are going to clean house. New coach, new GM, new players?? Well, the defense has played pretty well. They’ve only been blown out once….against the Jets on Monday night. They’ll look for Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban to be the new coach. Heck, now-a-days, you cannot even rule out Don Shula for the job. Either way…this franchise is going to completely start anew.
As will Wannstedt….who probably feels better than anyone right now.