This past weekend in South Florida, the Dolphins celebrated Fins Weekend which included various activities, all for charity. The events included a golf tournament, fishing tournament, and various banquet type soirees. This coming Monday, the Dolphins take the field for OTAs with a brand new 53 man roster and various undrafted free agents working to land a spot on the team. With so many fresh faces on the Dolphins team, it's no wonder that players on the Dolphins are using Fins Weekend as a team buidling event.
Last week the focus in media circles, centered on certain Dolphins playing fortune teller. The week began with Brian Hartline setting the tone with talk of the Dolphins having the best receivers in the AFC East. Hartline, as you remember re-signed with the Dolphins before free agency because of the potential of the Dolphins reeling in some big names the following week. Later that week, Ryan Tannehill, first round pick in 2012, beamed about his work with Mike Wallace and how he can’t wait to get started and show what he can do with new offensive weapons. Later in the week, Evan Silva of Roto World got into a tweet fight with angry Dolphin fans about his opinion of the Dolphins being that Jeff Ireland should have been fired after 4 losing seasons and no playoff appearances without Bill Parcells. Let’s not remember who Evan Silva picked as a potential landing spot for Mike Wallace, Miami.
As the dust settled later in the week, one thing became clear in Miami: Ryan Tannehill must step up and be a leader. Ireland, as smart as he is, removed the key vocal veterans from the locker room. Karlos Dansby, Jake Long, Kevin Burnett, and Reggie Bush have signed with other teams. It was Ireland who somewhat cleared the way for the young guns on the team to be the leaders for not only this year, but for years to come. Why else would Ireland spend away Steve Ross’ money?
Enter quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has the potential to lead in the huddle and in the locker room. With past veterans not on this Dolphins team, Tannehill has to lead not only by example, but by action. With expectations of the Dolphins rising faster than Steve Ross’ looming interest payments on loans used to purchase the team, Tannehill must be the calming presence in the huddle supporting two new receivers (Wallace and Gibson), a new right tackle (Tyson Clabo), a new tight end (Dustin Keller), and a new running back (newly drafted Mike Gillislee).
For everything that the Dolphins showed with their wallets, Tannehill must convert on third down, make red zone touchdowns instead of falling short and accepting field goals, and show all Dolphins fans that he is the franchise quarterback.
In 1984, the Miami Dolphins had the best team in the NFL until that title was stripped by Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. In that season, Dan Marino set all the records that have since fallen in the past five years.
This season in 2013, the Miami Dolphins who have clearly shown the commitment to winning by galvanizing the fan base with a crop of stars and a new branding with the new logo, need to win and win big.
Should the signings be for naught this season, I don’t believe even a buoy in Biscayne Bay can save Jeff Ireland and the Miami Dolphins franchise might be bait amongst many powerhouse franchises in the AFC.