I figured all along the Dolphins would be improved this season. But I truthfully never imagined they would reach this level so quickly, certainly not with so many new players trying to contribute without the luxury of a productive offseason.
So, what a nice surprise it has been, seeing the Dolphins reel off five straight victories and watching how they have gotten better each week, now attracting the adulation of the national media who also never really saw this coming.
So that’s where they are. The question now: Where do they go from here?
You look at the schedule and you see three straight games against teams with losing records, starting Sunday at Denver, continuing the follow week at the Jets and then finishing it off with the Bengals are Hard Rock Stadium. After that, the final four games are a whole lot tougher.
So a 9-3 record heading into a game against Kansas City certainly no longer seems preposterous does it?
Whoa. Let’s slow down a minute. Nothing in this league is a given and the worst thing the Dolphins could do at this point is start paying attention to the long haul instead of the step right in front of them. I’ve seen that happen to so many Dolphins teams over the years. Put a nice winning streak together and heads become too big for helmets.
But this group appears to be different and how refreshing is that? There is a hunger coming from every corner of this team, a hunger fueled by Coach Brian Flores and accentuated by a group of players who are smart enough to understand they really haven’t accomplished much of anything yet.
Go up and down this roster. You’ll see that the fabric of this team, the team this brain-trust so meticulously put together, has been weaved with high-character veterans (most in their mid to late 20’s) who lead so well by example. Don’t take this for granted. Many teams don’t have it. This team apparently does.
Sunday’s challenge is a trip to a mile-high altitude against a team who has lost three of its last four to fall to 3-6. The Dolphins should win this game and it should look like many of the other victories: strong on defense, special on special teams and some more tasty morsels from Tua Tagovailoa.
I expect it to remain close much of the way because that’s what usually happens when you’re on the road. But this team, I firmly believe, understands and embraces the position they are now in. It’s been too much fun to stop now, too much fun seeing three become four and four become five and who knows how long this run of victories can last.
No, the Dolphins aren’t a great team. But they are a very good team and in these next three games they will face teams with a combined record of 5-21-1. Yes, the prospects are enticing and, as previously noted, these players haven’t experienced enough success to let it adversely affect them.
Last week in this column I picked the Dolphins to beat the Chargers 28-20 and they ended up winning 29-21. Not bad, don’t you think? With that in mind: Dolphins 27, Broncos 23