There was that moment on Sunday when the Miami Dolphins still had a chance to make this a tight game.
(Yeah, there weren’t too many of those so you have to assume something interesting is coming.)
Anyway, the Dolphins were trailing 21-10 and had the football on the New England Patriots’ 15 yard line. Quarterback Matt Moore wanted to throw to DeVante Parker in the end zone. And Parker, who the Dolphins believe is their most gifted receiver, was in one-on-one coverage against Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Moore underthrew the football. And Parker, seeing the underthrow, did absolutely nothing to stop his route, convert to a defensive back, and at least knock the ball down.
So on one play the Dolphins were betrayed by a quarterback, who after the game took responsibility for leaving a key pass “short.” And they were betrayed by their most promising wide receiver, because Parker took responsibility for his poor reaction.
And I see two of the many, many reasons the Dolphins are mired in a five-game losing skid, are 4-7 today, and will be home watching TV when the playoffs begin.
The Dolphins quarterback situation is broken. The starter at the beginning of training camp blew out a knee for the second time in less than a year. The man hired to take his place has been inconsistent and often injured. And Moore, the longtime backup who fans have loved, is winless as a starter.
A broken quarterback room from top to bottom.
Parker, meanwhile, disappeared on that fateful play when he should have been stepping up to save his quarterback. And in a game the Dolphins needed him to play big, he caught one pass for five yards.
So this day is a statement about a couple of players the Dolphins have confidence about. It speaks to the quarterback and wide receiver room the team is content with. And this:
It tells you the Dolphins are in trouble long-term because the evaluation the team has made on these players and within these important rooms -- quarterback and wide receiver -- is flawed. And, here’s the worrisome part, it may continue to be flawed.
I say this because if you asked Dolphins brass today if they think they need to upgrade at receiver, they’d probably say no. Adam Gase has said multiple times he likes the group he has. The group that doesn’t make enough plays or enough of a difference to matter in the outcome of games like this is good enough.
Same thing with the quarterback room. As I wrote weeks, the Dolphins expect to give the starting job to Ryan Tannehill again next year. So we’re back to square one on the quarterback issue.
And square two may be Moore again as the backup.
Except that’s wrong, dear friends running the Dolphins who never listen to my suggestions.
This organization needs to select a quarterback next draft. I’m not talking about drafting someone in the sixth or seventh round. I’m saying find someone early enough, viable enough, that he can challenge Tannehill to start or do so eventually. And if that rookie’s challenge doesn’t work in 2018, he should still be good enough to be the backup.
Because Moore, great guy and a team leader despite rarely playing, is 0-2 as a starter this year which makes him by his own admission not good enough.
“I mean, the only stat that matters is the win and losses,” Moore said after the game.
I must tell you Moore and Parker did not lose to the Patriots by themselves. Neither were the quarterback and wide receiver rooms solely responsible for this loss.
I point them out because those are areas the Dolphins think of as strengths. And they are parts of the team unlikely to undergo significant change in the offseason based on the team’s current thinking. And that is frustrating because that thinking is crazy.
It’s as crazy as the Dolphins not addressing the offensive line last offseason to any significant degree and thinking everything would be alright. How’d that work out?
The Dolphins gave up seven sacks against a New England team that was 27th in the league in sacks before Sunday.
The Dolphins, you recall, built their team around a big-name defensive line. And last offseason they addressed the linebacker unit. So they thought those units were complete.
Well, the Patriots rushed for 196 yards. And only a few weeks ago the Carolina Panthers ran for 294. So whatever the Dolphins think they know about their line and linebackers needs rethinking.
This team actually has a lot of rethinking to do. It must rethink its personnel. It’s philosophy for team building. It must even rethink some of its assistant coaches because this staff isn’t teaching well enough or solving problems quickly enough.
So rethink stuff, fellas. Rethink everything.
And if you think spots are good enough -- like your quarterback and receiver and defensive line rooms -- stop it. Rethink that, too.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero