Rolling into Thanksgiving on the heels of a loss isn’t the way the Miami Dolphins wanted to celebrate the holiday this weekend, but make no mistake about it — the big picture of this franchise should certainly have Dolphins fans everywhere waking up this morning thankful for the progress the team has shown this season. Just how far ahead of schedule are the Dolphins? There were plenty of fans after Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Broncos that felt completely devastated and deflated by the loss, which was Miami’s first since Week 4 to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Dolphins sit at 6-4 in the second year of Brian Flores’ tenure with the team, having already surpassed their 2019 win total and sporting an 11-8 record over their last 19 football games between the 5-4 finish to 2019 and the 6-4 start to 2020. Miami’s 6-3 start was their best 9-game open to a season in nearly two decades. Miami’s +62 point differential is the 6th best figure in the entire league. The offense, despite their struggles, sees better days ahead with the fanbase’s preferred heir to Dan Marino at the helm in Tua Tagovailoa and two (or three, depending on the week) rookies along the offensive line with additional rookies contributing to both the offensive backfield and wide receiver room.
The Dolphins are disciplined; they’re the NFL’s 4th-least penalized team per game. Add in one of the better special teams units in all of football and the team has enough tools in their toolbox to fly close to the sun in their bid to develop rookies while simultaneously winning football games.
Oh, right. And the man atop the daily operations clearly has a vision for the team he’s creating. Brian Flores’ Dolphins have adopted the same personality as their coach: they’re tough, relentless, focused on the process and illustrate a fiery passion for the game.
Thanksgiving one year ago offered a plenty different story. The Dolphins were 2-9 and had just conceded 78 points in two losses at the hands of the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns (plus an additional 891 yards while forcing just one turnover). From 2-9 to 6-4 and a game against the winless New York Jets looming this weekend on the schedule, which offers the Dolphins a prime opportunity to climb back into the win column and “get right” for the final push to the end of the season.
All of this said, Miami’s future is much brighter than the present. They are again stocked with NFL Draft capital and the Dolphins have watched the Houston Texans’ season tailspin under the lack of direction from their own ownership and the failures of Bill O’Brien the head coach and general manager alike. Miami will possibly recoup top-10 picks in each of the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft courtesy of the Texans.
So let that bitter taste of defeat from Week 11 go, Dolphins fans. This Thanksgiving, take a look in the rear view mirror and appreciate how far this team has come in 12 months. There’s no doubt you have plenty to be thankful for.