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Week 2: Dolphins at Bills
The NFL Draft is like an desert oasis to true NFL fans. It is that 1 day in the off-season where the problems of the year before are somehow magically solved. It allows the hardcore guys to grasp onto a glimmer of hope that the new draft picks will instantly infuse the team with talent in needed areas and push them into the playoffs in the fall. Nowhere is that more evident than watching ESPN focus on Jet’s Fans chanting J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS after nothing more than a first round pick. Well, things aren’t that different in Dolphin Land either. Last year I had hopes that the Dion Jordan (3rd overall) was going to bust onto the scene Jason Taylor style. I had visions of Brady leaving the game early after being hit so often. Afterall he would be teamed with one of the best DE’s in the game…Cam Wake.
Unfortunately, reality hits just like an NFL MLB….hard and fast. Jordan couldn’t beat out the incumbent and Wake had a down year from all the double teams. Miami became mired in a controversy after one of its Jonathon Martin became the center of Bully-Gate when he claimed he was being bullied by his teammate, Ritchie Incognito. Miami Fans should’ve seen this coming as Martin was bullied all the time….mostly on Sundays by opposing DE’s getting to the QB. But, our aqua and orange sunshades blinded us and like every season, Miami was the ugly bridesmaid of the AFC East. Close…as in most years, but not there. After further review, last year’s draft was extremely light when it came to impacting the season last year. Only 1 rookie, a kicker, made it to the field as a starter. Don Jones became a pretty good special teams guy and Jordan did see playing time and when I isolated him on game film…I thought in limited action he was solid. I could write an entire blog on why wasn’t he given more playing time and why our DC from last year still has a job but I’ll save that for another day. The bottom line, April fools wasn’t on the first of April last year for Miami Fans. It came during the season when the draft results were painfully evident. It was a crusing moment for most of us after what looked to be on paper to be an outstanding draft and off-season.
Fast-forward to this season and last week’s NFL Draft. It was pretty low key with Miami drafting two tackles (1 slated to be a guard?) with 2 of the first 3 picks and a WR in round 2. Last year, I had big expectations. This year I feel like Miami took my expectations and gave them the Aaron Hernandez special. Even my aqua colored glasses seem a little foggy and unable to muster enthusiasm. Maybe it is because I’m numb to high expectations but moreover, I think it looked to me like Hickey was trying desperately to fill needs rather than go after athletes.
So for the first year in a long time, the draft felt like a real downer. Given that the mid-year oasis was dry, maybe it’s the season that will provide the much needed water for my thirst? I guess after being a fan for 40+ years means I’m going to wait and see. I've never been a fair weather fan and while I don't have many reasons lately, I'll be just as excited once September rolls around. As a cheery note, the last time Miami paid this much attention to the OL was in 2008 and 1990. Both years Miami ended up in the post season. Hang your hat on that.
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