Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry wore a sleeveless T-shirt last week bearing the team logo from the early 1970s Authentic Michael Gallup Jersey , and said he liked the old-school look.
”They should bring it back,” Landry said. ”They were undefeated.”
A few days later, the Dolphins lost their season finale, the glory days further away than ever. Things have gotten so bad Miami now looks upon the Buffalo Bills with envy.
With a 6-10 finish, the Dolphins will sit out the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years, and they’re 65-80 (.448) since 2008. It has been 17 years since the Dolphins won a postseason game, 25 years since they reached the AFC championship game and 33 years since they played in a Super Bowl.
The undefeated season was in 1972, and the Dolphins’ most recent NFL title came a year later. Current coach Adam Gase has only heard about those achievements, because he wasn’t born yet.
Rather than show progress toward ending those droughts, the Dolphins regressed in their second season under Gase.
After overachieving to go 10-6 in 2016 and make the playoffs, Miami deteriorated into a wildly inconsistent, undisciplined team undone by a five-game losing starting in Week 8.
”Something has to change,” Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones said following his eighth year with Miami. ”It’s tough not making the playoffs, knowing the potential we have in this locker room. It’s just another season I feel like we’ve wasted.”
Said Gase: ”We need to do a lot of things better.”
Owner Stephen Ross opted for stability and will keep the organization’s core leadership intact. That means Gase, executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier all return in 2018.
But a major roster upgraded is needed. Here are things to know as the Dolphins begin another long offseason:
LOUSY LUCK: The Dolphins were bad but also unlucky. Even Mother Nature worked against them: Hurricane Irma caused the postponement of the first game, forcing Miami to play 16 weeks in a row.
In retrospect Authentic Justin Upton Jersey , the season was probably doomed when quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury early in training camp sent him to the sideline. Jay Cutler came out of retirement as a stopgap replacement, but he was erratic and twice injured. The Dolphins also lost their most promising rookie, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, to a season-ending knee injury in the first exhibition game.
Tannehill is expected to return as the starter in 2018, but there are doubts about his durability after two serious injuries to his left knee since December 2016. Cutler, 34, likely will resume his retirement.
UNDISCIPLINED: Under Gase, the Dolphins have committed more penalties than any other team in the past two seasons, and there were other reasons to wonder about discipline.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons went AWOL on the eve of the opener, was briefly suspended and returned to have a poor season. Offensive line coach Chris Foerster resigned in October after a video on social media appeared to show him snorting lines of white powder. Linebacker Rey Maualuga was released the day before a game following a morning incident at a nightclub. Landry and running back Kenyan Drake were ejected from the season finale for their roles in an embarrassing brawl with the Bills.
Long snapper John Denney summed up his 13th season with the Dolphins: ”It was pretty abnormal – a lot of things going on.”
INCONSISTENT: Miami beat both reigning Super Bowl teams but won only four other games. Three losses were against teams that went 13-31 versus the rest of the league.
”This team has a lot of talent,” cornerback Bobby McCain said, ”but talent doesn’t get you anywhere.”
The Dolphins lost eight of the final 10 games, including the last three, and it’s hard to argue they were better than their record. They led to start the fourth quarter in only two games and were outscored by 112 points, fourth worst in the NFL.
COMING BACK?: The biggest offseason issue involves Landry, whose contract expires. He’s likely to return Authentic Richard Rodgers Jersey , even though his combustible personality causes headaches for Gase.
Miami’s dink passing attack gave Landry one of the NFL’s most bizarre stat lines: 112 receptions to lead the league and break his own franchise record, but an average of 8.8 yards per catch to rank 110th. He finished 13 yards shy of 1,000.
ROAD TRIP: Receiver Kenny Stills has perhaps the Dolphins’ best offseason plan. A nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Stills said he’ll hit the highway with friends in his early-1970s Volkswagen bus to do volunteer work in other states.
”I want to find some grass-roots organizations that need the help or might need the recognition, and lend a helping hand in any way I can,” he said. ”The whole idea would be to film the trip, let people track it, and then possibly collect donations, and put all of that money back into the organizations we visited.”
>NFL owners will be presented 10 rules proposals at their meetings next week, including changes to the catch rule and to the length of defensive pass interference penalties, and allowing personal fouls to be reviewed by instant replay.The competition committee and several teams are bringing the proposals, which will be reviewed by owners beginning Monday in Orlando.Other suggestions include making permanent spotting the ball at the 25-yard line following a kickoff; adding fouls for roughing the passer and penalties against players in a defenseless posture as reviewable in instant replay; designating a member of the officiating staff at New York headquarters to instruct on-field game officials to eject a player for a flagrant non-football act that drew a flag; and limiting the allowable time for a coach to throw a challenge flag.Included in a dozen bylaw proposals is allowing a player on injured reserve to be traded, and schedule adjustments for western teams playing in the East.Redefining the catch rule is the highest priority, according to Troy Vincent, the NFL’s football operations chief, and Rich McKay James Washington Jersey Elite , who chairs the powerful competition committee.“We tried to simplify the rule with a three-step process,” McKay said Friday. “Control, two feet down or a body part, and then anything that is a football act. It could be like Jesse James reaching for the goal line .”The Steelers tight end had a likely winning touchdown catch overturned against New England, one of the most critical plays of last season. In 2018, if the new definition of a catch is passed, it would be a touchdown.“We got rid of ‘going to the ground,’ which was definitely causing some issues on these calls,” McKay added of the process of completing a catch that has caused so much consternation.Vincent noted that despite slight movement of the ball in a receiver’s hands, that is not loss of possession. Under the proposal, it would constitute a reception.“With movement (of the ball), you can still have control with movement,” Vincent said. “That’s also addressed in the new proposal language.”Equally controversial has been the defensive pass interference call. The Jets are proposing a change from a spot foul to a 15-yard penalty 鈥?unless the foul is determined by officials to be intentional and egregious. That suggestion drew plenty of discussion among competition committee members; both Vincent and McKay said it had “momentum” heading into the owners meetings.Vincent was an outstanding defensive back in the NFL and has deep insight into pass interference.“The difference between college ball and professional defensive backs is the (pros) were too skilled and too smart, and you can play the play, you can be strategic about it,” he said. “You don’t want a defensive back being able to strategically grab a guy Cheap Isaac Yiadom Jersey , eliminate the options (on a play).“As a former defensive back, on a professional level you can frankly bait a quarterback into doing whatever you want.”McKay noted there was one 50-yard or longer defensive pass interference call last season, three of 45 or longer, and seven of 40 or more.Allowing officiating director Al Riveron or designated staff members at New York headquarters to call for an ejection of a player is a proposal emanating from committee meetings with game officials.“They were quick to point out in these situations where a lot is going on 鈥?a fight or something else in dead ball situations 鈥?many times they are at a loss to capture exactly what happened and the right numbers (of offending players),” McKay said.Also proposed:鈥擨f a team opens overtime with a field goal, then gets a turnover on the opponent’s next possession, that play will be run to conclusion. Previously, if the team that kicked the field goal fumbled the ball and it was run back for a touchdown by the opponent, that TD wouldn’t count because of a change of possession. Now, it would count.Such a situation has never occurred since the rule change allowing each team an OT series.鈥擮wners will be asked to approve allowing video use on sideline and coaches’ box tablets. Now, only photos can be examined.鈥擟oaches will have a set amount of time during a commercial break to throw a challenge flag.鈥擡xtra points need not be converted at the end of regulation after a team scores the winning touchdown.McKay pointed to the end of the Saints-Vikings playoff game.鈥擳eams seeking head coaches after the season be allowed to negotiate and sign a contract, though the coach would still be prohibited from doing any work for his new team until his club is done in the postseason..