I did post this in another thread as a response, but I was hoping for some other Dolfans 2 cents on the issue. After all the negativity on the board, I thought it might be good to try and be objective AND stay positive at the same time, so here goes...
I like to think of myself as a realist, and looking at this season, I really initially felt that 6-10 or 7-9 would not only be a possibility but a realistic chance for this team (factoring in that with superior teams like Patriots, Chargers, Colts in the head of the AFC, with NE in our division, there would be little chance at a winning record). While it is only week 1, there are a lot of indications that the AFC may not be a 3 team race anymore, as all three mentioned above lost (and/or had some sort of major setback) and teams like Buffalo and Pittsburgh showed they just might be major contenders come playoff time. Looking back at Tony Sparano's debut, despite the loss, I really do see a lot of positive signs in this team.
People can crucify Pennington all they want, but I thought he played like a warrior today, and actually did pretty good with the cast around him. Lets face it, we made Chad a 40+ pass quarterback today (a major step outside his comfort/skill zone), with an ineffective running game and inexperience at his other skill positions, and he actually did pretty good all things considered. I really feel comfortable with him behind center, especially when considering the line of ineffective signal callers we've had since Marino called it quits. Speaking of the line, while Jake Long struggled a bit today, I'm telling the nay-sayers, this kid IS the real deal. While only time will tell, Long has all the tools, now he just needs some polishing. Long may have been the #1 pick, but lets not forget he is STILL A ROOKIE and will need some time to grow (and just because Joe Thomas did it doesn't mean every high tackle picked will be instantly hawaii bound). With some impressive individual efforts on defense from Langford, Roth, and Porter, our pass rush looks to be improved, though I'll admit it would be better with a guy like Jason Taylor (but that chapter in Miami's history is closed, so time to move on). Crowder looks good out there leading our linebacking core. Will Allen was as consistent as always from what I could see today. We have the right stuff to win folks, now we just have to put it together.
For all the miscues of todays game, take away the crappy calls from the zebras and that miracle lob from Favre on 4th down and this game looked very winable. Obviously close doesn't cut it, but the Jets really arn't that much better than us, and likely, we stand to improve the most over the course of a season with such a young team that just needs a little experience. With Brady likely done for the year in NE, I could see the AFC East being a free for all teams involved. I don't know if anyone caught the game, but even Buffalo looked good, totally dismantling the Seahawks with a swarming defense, reliable special teams, and a balanced offense spearheaded by M. Lynch. Brady's injury really could allow even current basement dwellers like Miami the window it needs to grab the division by the throat. I'm not saying that I'd bet money on it, or even promise anyone that Miami will win the division, but I think with less calls going against us (and more discipline on the team's part) and a few lucky bounces going OUR way for once, this team very well COULD find themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Whether you all agree or not, I just have one thing left to say: Even if we don't see immediate results this season, Miami is headed in the right direction and bound for success, this I know. GO PHINZ!!