Count NBC’s Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison among those who view the Dolphins as a potential wild card team, but with their fate resting largely on the play of quarterback Jay Cutler.
“I believe it comes down to Jay Cutler and his attitude as far as not just when things are going well but also when things start to go downhill,” Harrison said on an NBC conference call for the network’s NFL studio show. “Will he stand up? Will he be the face of that locker-room? Will he be able to go ahead and have conversations?
“We’ve see the way he’s acted in the past and conducted himself where his teammates would say that he’s selfish, that he’s not a leader. These type of things - you have to be a leader if you want to go to the playoffs, go to the Super Bowl. You need the leadership at the quarterback position.
“He could not have walked into a better situation with weapons he has at tight end, two wide receivers, the running game, a coach that he worked with. You cannot ask for a better situation. It comes down to Jay Cutler. I still believe that defense has taken a step forward last year but I don’t think it’s as good as people think, particularly in the secondary at the cornerback spot. But their season definitely hinges on Jay Cutler and his attitude in terms of leadership.”
“I think Miami definitely can be a contender,” the former NFL coach said. “They were right in the mix last year. Ryan Tannehill, I know coaches down there on the offensive staff and they felt like this was his year to take the step forward. It’s all going to depend on their quarterback play.
“They’ve got a running game. They’ve got an aggressive defense. They’ve got some receivers that can make plays. To me, this is all going to be about Jay Cutler, how fast he gets back in the swing of things. He knows the offense that coach [Adam] Gase likes to run. He’s got to get the chemistry with this team and come out firing. If he does, they certainly can be a threat this year.”