Dolphins Owner Ross Committed To Rebuild Amid Historically Bad Start
The Dolphins are 0-2 in the first season of a yearslong franchise rebuild, and Owner Stephen Ross said the process "wouldn't be easy, but it was something we are committed to and believe it's the only way we can build a team to win continually," according to Dave Hyde of the South Florida SUN SENTINEL. Ross said, "Nothing great in life was ever achieved easily. There are no shortcuts or magic formulas. ... We have leadership that I believe in and we are trying to build it the right way and build something that can be sustainable for a long time." Ross said the Dolphins during this rebuild "have to approach things differently and think outside the box." Ross: "We are trying to win every game we play and grow and improve every day, but we also have to balance making decisions that help us build a championship organization" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 9/15). NFL Network's Peter Shrager said, "There are better days ahead, but just two horrific losses that we have not seen on an NFL scale. You want to say it's tanking, if it plays out it this way, it is the first of its kind and I've never seen anything like this" ("Good Morning Football," NFL Network, 9/16).
TOUGH TO WATCH: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib notes after yesterday's 43-0 home loss to the Patriots, the Dolphins have lost their first two games by a combined score of 102-10 -- marking the first time in NFL history a team has "ever managed to get trounced by 40 or more points in its first two home games." Fans "knew stripping it down wouldn't be easy." Habib: "Did they take things too far?" The Browns and Lions have both gone 0-16, but in their "quest to land the No. 1 overall pick, the Dolphins just surpassed all of them, at least out of the gate" (PALM BEACH POST, 9/16). ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, "There are always bad teams in the NFL but usually they're not trying to be" ("Get Up," ESPN2, 9/16). After the Dolphins traded LT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills and LB Kiko Alonso prior to the start of the season, and with them rumored to be shopping S Minkah Fitzpatrick, the SUN SENTINEL's Hyde asks, "How many more good players can this team trade?" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 9/16). ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said the Dolphins "might be the worst football team in the NFL I've ever seen." Smith said "we recognize they're rebuilding" but this is "one of the most atrocious teams that I've ever seen" ("First Take," ESPN, 9/16). In Miami, Armando Salguero writes this is "what rebuilding looks like" for the Dolphins. It is "getting dismantled in the first two games of the season by a total of 102-10, the worst start (by far) in the franchise's 54-year history" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/16).
NOT ALL BAD: Insiders think the Dolphins are well insulated thanks to the efforts of Vice Chair, President & CEO Tom Garfinkel. This is a business side that is known to be among the smartest in the league, from using advanced data to set prices to maximizing effectiveness in the sales department. The attendance decline will sting, but the Dolphins enter this rebuild from a position of strength. However, disillusion and apathy don’t take long to set in if you’re totally noncompetitive, and the team will have to find ways to stay relevant in the Miami-area zeitgeist (Ben Fischer, SBJ Football).