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Omar Kelly: Dolphins can't afford for winning ways to mask glaring issues

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Football

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Let’s play the “what if game” for one minute with the hopes that it might provide some clarity on the 2021 Miami Dolphins season, and the lessons we should be taking from it.

If the resurgent Dolphins had received the calls and bounces they didn’t get during their seven-game losing streak, and it had resulted in three more wins, would our assessment of the team, coaches, front office and roster be different?

If Will Fuller had gotten a pass interference call in the end zone, and Miami scored at the 1-yard line, turning an overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders into an overtime win, would you view this team the same?

If Urban Meyer hadn’t outsmarted Miami’s entire coaching staff, putting the Jacksonville Jaguars in position to kick the game-winning field goal instead of forcing overtime, and Miami somehow managed to pull off a win, would you view these coaches more favorably?

If Kyle Pitts hadn’t put on a superhero cape and delivered two big receptions in the game-winning drive that propelled the Falcons to a 30-28 win, the Dolphins might be sitting atop the AFC — right next to the 8-4 New England Patriots, the team Miami beat in the opener. Albeit saddled with a horrendous offensive line, a lackluster run game that averages just 3.4 yards per carry (second worst in NFL), an injury-prone receiving unit and an inconsistent defense.

If the Dolphins were on a playoff trajectory and in the AFC East hunt heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants (4-7) instead of being 5-7, would it mean we can overlook this team’s glaring issues?

 

That is why I’d argue this season’s struggles was a blessing in disguise because we needed to see the issues for this regime to build a title contending team.

The Dolphins needed the humbling that the seven-game losing streak provided because it identified their deficiencies — then tested and reinforced the core principles that coach Brian Flores and his staff have been preaching for three seasons.

Flaws were exposed instead of them being masked by wins, which will eventually create change and upgrades that could produce a better team down the line.

At least that’s the hope.

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