“But the fact of the matter is there’s excitement with our coach. There’s excitement with our offensive movement. There’s excitement that there’s a young quarterback in place. There’s excitement about our willingness to put the pieces in place.”
This is about the time in the column where the reader pauses and recalls all the other times the Dolphins have claimed to be headed in the right direction and ultimately failed.
Remember 1995 when Don Shula gathered 19 former first-round draft picks to make one last-gasp Super Bowl push that resulted in a 9-7 season.
Remember the addition of Ricky Williams that was supposed to push the Dolphins over the top. Remember the trade for Daunte Culpepper that had Sports Illustrated picking the Dolphins to go to the Super Bowl.
The Dolphins are aware of those failures so know success the first week of free agency does not equal a title.
“I think Jeff has done a great job with the plan he had in mind. I think the result of what he’s done creates a very exciting team,” Ross said. “We all know you don’t win in March and April. You win in September, October, November. And December. And, hopefully, January.
“But you can’t but be excited knowing what we’ve done to date and having nine draft choices, we have the opportunity of creating a team that is not only exciting but young because we didn’t reach for old veterans to sign and hope they still had something left.”
Aside from adding Wallace to bring a much-need deep threat, the moves Ireland believes have the most promise are the additions of linebackers Phillip Wheeler and Ellerbe.
“We felt like there was an opportunity in free agency for a more physical presence on the defense,” Ireland said. “No knock to Dansby or Burnett, but the two guys we signed are younger, they run exceptionally well, they’re very, very physical. We’re excited about that corps.”
The Dolphins must impress their fans before even one game is played to get them to turn out and vote in favor of upgrading Sun Life Stadium. Happy fans, obviously, can be enthusiastic voters.
“We didn’t do this and sign these players to win a vote,” Ross said. “They’re totally independent acts.”
But it doesn’t hurt.