Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum has a new favorite talking point, and he used it again Wednesday in Mobile.
The question: Is your team close to competing, or is this more of a long-term project?
Tannenbaum’s answer was familiar. It was the same one he gave a few weeks earlier:
“When you just look at the big picture of our sport, I think that’s one of the things that is attractive about our sport is how things change. When you look at the NFC playoff teams, like five of the six teams were new this year.”
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That’s true. The Falcons were the only team from last year’s field who made the tournament in 2017.
But just because teams have turned it around quickly does not mean the Dolphins necessarily will.
They have issues. Lots of them. Offensive line. Tight end. Defensive end. Linebacker. Defensive backfield. Wide receiver, if Jarvis Landry walks.
And even quarterback is enough of a question mark that the team is considering taking one in the first round — even though the club insists Ryan Tannehill’s rehab is apace and he will start in 2018.
“I would say we have a lot of work to do,” Tannnenbaum said. “I think to have sustainability in our system, you have to evaluate your own correctly. We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about that and trying to learn from what happened a year ago.”
Tannenbaum continued: “From the draft class to the work ethic of our guys, we’re very excited about our future. We have a lot of work to do, but we do feel like things are going in the right direction. We’re going to have to make some obviously hard decisions and choices along the way, but in terms of our view of the program and what we want it to be, we feel like it is going in the right direction.”
The Dolphins are early in their self-scouting. The coaching staff is not officially in place yet. In a few weeks, the team will have an organizational sitdown, a two-day hash-out session to identify what went wrong and how it needs to get better.
General manager Chris Grier hopes that at the end of that meeting of the minds, every person involved in the football side of the Dolphins will be on the same page, and a general vision will be in place to get Miami back to the playoffs.
“Some of our depth was tested early and it didn’t respond as well as we had hoped,” Tannenbaum said. “Again, I think the three of us [Grier and Adam Gase] talked a lot about that — building a team for a long season knowing that the way our sport is now, all of these guys are eventually going to play and some may have to play sooner than others.
“Are we, within reason, prepared for all of those situations that may occur?” he continued. “We look at every year as an opportunity to get better and to learn, not just because we were 6-10; but we try to go through that process every year.”