Multiple times since the Earth around the Miami Dolphins began convulsing, threatening to swallow the team’s season, coaches and team leaders have made it clear to anyone who would listen that complaining isn’t going to solve anything.
Multiple times, folks within the organization have reminded each other that no matter how cruel fate has been, no one anywhere feels sorry them.
Their fans understood the Dolphins’ hardship. And still expect them to win.
The NFL understood a hurricanes wiped out Miami’s home opener and the team won’t play it’s first home game until Oct. 8. But the club’s request to move the Oct. 1 London game to Hard Rock Stadium was denied anyway.
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The Los Angeles Chargers, aware Miami linebacker Lawrence Timmons went AWOL hours before the game last week, still threw nine passes to receivers covered by linebacker Mike Hull, Timmons’s replacement in the nickel defense.
So nobody feels bad the Dolphins have been going through something of a rough patch.
And that’s fine because today I tell you practically every setback the Dolphins have suffered lately has come with a corresponding streak of good luck.
That’s right. The Miami Dolphins are having good luck lately.
The Dolphins lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a season-ending knee injury the first week of August. Normally any team dealt that kind of blow simply bleeds out and dies the next four months of the season. There aren’t 32 good starting NFL quarterbacks in the world and most teams definitely don’t have two.
But when the Dolphins lost Tannehill, they simply replaced him with Jay Cutler. And the move made sense because Cutler knew the head coach, and the offense, and was inexplicably available.
All it took the Dolphins to woo Cutler was a handful of phone calls from coach Adam Gase over the span of three days. Ask Gase about t and he’ll say it didn’t even take a sales pitch to convince Cutler to come to Miami.
“Not really,” the coach said. “I just asked him if he was interested. He said, ˜Yes.’ Really, I think his biggest concern -- kind of taking a step back at the time because everything happened so fast -- was just to make sure he felt like he could really come back without a spring and a training camp. That was the one thing.
“He was like, ‘I’m not really sure how fast my pocket feel will come back. I haven’t done it since last October,’ I think it was. I didn’t feel like I was really selling anything. It was just more of how comfortable he felt coming in with a group of guys that had been together with me that was our second year; but that skill group has been together for three or four years now. I think he was just trying to feel out if he’d fit that group well.”
So, yes, the Dolphins suffered a blow by losing Tannehill weeks before the season’s start. But they were exceedingly lucky to replace the starting quarterback with another starting quarterback who was simply sitting there waiting for them to call.
There is nothing lucky about being in the path of a hurricane and that’s what we all were when Irma threatened and then plowed Florida. The Dolphins decided to pick up and move to California rather than face the killer storm.
The training facility, practice bubble and stadium they left behind? No significant damage. They’re up and running again. Lucky.
The season-opening game the storm wiped out?
Look, that opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was going to be a tough contest. It’ll probably be that when it’s played on Nov. 19.
My point is the Dolphins, who started last season 1-4, could easily have been 0-1 to start 2017. But once that game got postponed, the next two opponents became the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets on Sunday.
The Chargers, in last place in the AFC West for 20 consecutive weeks, found a way to lose to Miami at the last second. That is what the Chargers do.
The Jets? Their new CEO this week had to insist, “We’re not tanking” because everyone has seen that franchise dismantle its roster and set itself up selecting a quarterback high atop the April 2018 draft.
So the Dolphins should beat the Jets and their anemic offense and league-worst scoring defense.
That would make the Dolphins 2-0, which qualifies as a fast start -- just like the team was hoping for but might not have gotten had the Tampa Bay game been played.
There have been other tough moments for these Dolphins lately, mostly involving injuries. I can tell you all of them have come with a lucky silver lining. All of them.
The only issue the Dolphins have faced that is a bad situation from start to finish with no good luck involved is the Timmons saga. There’s no knowing how that will play out.
But considering the rapid combination of gut punches the team has already faced, one blow that connects is not season-breaking.
So, yes, the Dolphins should consider themselves lucky.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero