It certainly isn’t the owner, the general manager or the first-year coach — the latter of whom bought himself precious little on Hard Knocks with a restless fan base by having less head-coaching personality than any of his assistants. You trust Jake Long and Cameron Wake to get their jobs done. Maybe Bush and Karlos Dansby, too. Maybe. Is that it? Really? Throw the kicker and punter in there, just to feel better.
Which feels worse? That you have only four starters you really trust to do their job well on a team that starts 22? Or that the general manager you don’t trust to do his job well traded one-third of the six players you might have trusted to do theirs well (Brandon Marshall and Davis)?
Think about that number. Maybe a hopeful Dolphins fan throws a defensive tackle in there or the center drafted higher than any center ever — you read that right; in the golden age of passing, the Dolphins draft a center higher than anyone ever has — but maybe a pessimistic Dolphins fans yanks out Bush and Dansby. Either way, after years and years of management changes and rebuilding, in a league that tilts the rules so that the bad get better, it is simply unfathomable that there are maybe four bleeping Dolphins you trust.
That lack of trust is not a small thing. It breeds the hopelessness that surrounds the organization in a way it never has. Fans want to hope. Sports traffic in hope. But it feels like Miami fans have reached some sort of breaking point after having so many hopes betrayed. Whether it is the inability to get Peyton Manning or Jim Harbaugh or Jeff Fisher, or the retaining of Jeff Ireland, or the trading of Marshall or Davis, something here has snapped.
Even the start of that abominable 1-15 season, and all the goofy Cam Cameron fodder, didn’t start with the lack of trust and hope that this one does … or with the Dolphins being the biggest Week 1 underdog in the entire sport.
So this entire Season Of Lost Hope revolves around nothing more than this:
Praying that, despite the lack of help, Tannehill grows into one of the Dolphins you eventually trust.