The problem the Dolphins have had since pretty much the start of the Wannstedt era is that they continue to delude themselves about the quality of their roster and keep trying to build on a base of mediocrity. Particularly on defence, we have a unit that performs OK or even well some of the time, so we decide that we just need 'one of two pieces' to push us over the edge. On offence, we always pretend we are just a QB and a few skill players away.
The best NFL teams are usually those who have been the worst, and have completely cleaned house. The Fins have NEVER done this. Record-wise, we have only had a couple of truly awful seasons (4-12/1-15); the rest of the time we are just average or below. A real clearout creates a new type of mental attitude for a team which we have never had.
Players like Long, Smith, Dansby, Burnett, Incognito, Jerry etc are the key of the problem. We have had guys like them for years - good-ish players but who always play under their ability, ESPECIALLY when you really need them. But they are 'solid' and have good moments, so we leave them in place and try and build a team around them. But you just can't build an ELITE team on a foundation like this. That is why we are always mediocre.
Now, thanks to Ross, we have done it again. The problem with keeping Ireland is not (just) his ability; he is simply not in a position to be realistic about the talent base and spend 3-4 years building it up properly. He is going to blow a bunch of cash and picks on trying to fill up a few holes because he knows his job is always at risk and thinks if we can just crack into the playoffs it will save his skin. We could have easily made a wild card this year with a bit of luck, but what would be the point? We all know that a team built on the foundation we currently have will never be a Superbowl calibre team. And in this case, I would rather they do it properly and take their time.
The chances are that all the old failures will be back next year (except Long, but only because his cap number is just too high, not because Ireland doesn't want him). We will get a few picks, a FA or two, and will be 8-8 or 9-7 next year. Because when you really NEED players to step up (eg at New England) we know that these guys will just fold.
There are some guys we do have on the roster we could build around - RT, Miller, Hartline, Bess, Jones, Wake, Pouncey, maybe 3-4 others (I would keep Bush for leadership). Apart from that, the bulk of the roster has no chance to be Elite.
The shame is that Ireland/Ross aside, this offseason is the perfect time for a reset. We have no dead cap money, a good number of picks and a load of guys whose contracts expire. We have a new coach who has a vision at least of what sort of players he wants that I can get onboard with, even if I am not yet totally sold on the quality of the coaching.
I would happily settle for 4-12 next year as long as we were building a new roster full of young, hungry and SMART players. Instead, we are going ALL-IN to try and push this bunch of mediocrity into a wild card contender who will at best go one-and-done.
I don't care about making the playoffs. I want to see the Fins win a Superbowl. Right now, it is like one of those adventure games you have play where you can't actually win from where you are in the game because you have made too many mistakes so far. We need to go back and start again.