"Every goal that we have as a football team is still obtainable," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said Tuesday.
Is he talking about the goal of winning the Super Bowl, or the simpler goal of getting off a punt without the sickening thud of resistance?
There were times during that 41-14 drubbing by the New England Patriots that one seemed as unlikely as the other.
This doesn't look like a playoff team anymore, and I don't believe that it will again. The 2-2 start isn't that much of a problem, but the next four games on the schedule? Good luck keeping the record at .500.
We're talking Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore, with only the Steelers at home. Chad Henne could pass for 300 yards in each of those games and lose them all, which has become the disturbing trend. Whether he remains as starting quarterback for the rest of the year is as much a test of Sparano's long-term job security as it is the quarterback's.
Whether the Dolphins retain a legitimate shot at the postseason, meanwhile, is a mathematical equation in which "x" equals a minimum of eight more victories and "y" equals "Why not?"
Miami won the division two years ago after a 2-2 start slid all the way to 2-4, but that rally came against the easiest schedule allowed. The NFL prescribes that sort of extreme competitive antidote to franchises that are deathly ill, and there is no better definition for the state of the Dolphins following Cam Cameron's 1-15 campaign in 2007.
In all of Dolphins history there are just two other teams that reached the playoffs from 2-2. Don Shula had one of them in 1978 and Jimmy Johnson had the other in 1997. In neither case did any of the early losses come at home.