After last night's Dolphins-Patriots opening game in Miami and remembering what happened last year, particularly the Dolphins' inability to win at home, two things should be obvious. One, Miami is overrated and the other is their problems are not at the coaching level.
It's well known that head coach Tony Sparano may be fired during or at the end of the season if the team does not meet expectations. After last year and now this first game, it should be apparent that expectations for the Dolphins are not realistic.
It is clear after last night's game, that battles against the Patriots and Jets and probably against other contending teams, are not games between contenders, but mismatches.
For most of the night the Dolphins played catch-up. They hung in the game until Wes Welker's record-tying 99 yard touchdown, which sent most of the fans to the exits.
Coaching can be blamed or praised for winning and losing, but after the repeated defeats of last year and now this first game, the verdict should be in and that is this team is just not good enough.
The coach can be blamed if he doesn't prepare the team properly to play, but that's not the problem now.
The Dolphins don't have the talent to match the Patriots, the Jets and other contenders and that is a management, not coaching problem.
The longer the game lasted, the more of a mismatch it became.
This team is overrated and the game is a mismatch when your starting quarterback has a career game of throwing for over 400 yards, and he still is completely overshadowed by his opponent and the team badly beaten.
This team is overrated and the game is a mismatch when the defense, supposedly the "strength" of the team looks like it can't stop anything and gives up nearly 40 points at home.
Much of the reasons for the high, unrealistic expectations came from the ease from which the Dolphins rose from doormat to division winner in one season.
That year, Patriot quarterback, Tom Brady was injured or still recovering from injury, and the Jets were still rebuilding. Everything that could go right for the Dolphins that season did.
But after last year and this first game, it is obvious that both the Patriots and Jets have better personnel and more depth to withstand injuries.
Instead of panicking, what is needed right now is a clear reassessment and an evaluation about which players can carry the team upward in the future and which areas need upgrading.
This team is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack, not near the top.
The team may eventually decide to fire Sparano and clean out the coaching staff.
However, the real problem is the old cliche: you can't make chicken soup from chicken feathers.
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