I'd like to enter a guilty plea. I openly admit I'm a glass half-empty kind of guy.
That's just my style, my way of thinking. I prepare for the worst in every instance, and if I get something better than the worst I'll be pleasantly surprised.
The worst the Miami Dolphins will be in 2013 is a six or seven win team again. I'm certain of that because that's the worst this franchise has done since 2007, when injuries decimated Cam Cameron's mediocre squad.
And if you factor in the fact this roster - talent wise - is much better than any team the Dolphins have had since '07 it is safe to conclude this Joe Philbin's squad is a .500 NFL team, one that could win more games with better quarterback play.
I expect nine wins this season from the Dolphins. I'm not talking the AFC East division champs. That won't happen until Tom Brady lands on injured reserve again. I'm not talking playoffs, or Super Bowl contenders. That is just crazy talk without an upper echelon, top 15 quarterback.
I'm talking a winning season, and while that might not be good enough for some of you (cough, cough Chris Perkins) it is the "progress" owner Steve Ross is seeking.
I've been so beaten down by mediocrity the past few years I just want progress too.
Since I know my style wears on some of you optimist types I'd like to present a peace offering.
Here are my ten reasons for optimism about the 2013 Dolphins season based on four weeks of training camp.
1. Offensive weaponary shouldn't be a problem this year for Miami. The Dolphins should have three very good receivers in Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, and three decent tight ends/H-backs this season in Dustin Keller, Charles Clay and Dion Sims if everyone stays healthy.
2. The Dolphins have one of the deepest, fiercest defensive lines in the entire NFL. You've seen them eat up the opposition for three straight years, and this season they got better at rushing the quarterback because of Dion Jordan's addition, and the development of Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby.
3. Dolphins got a gift from the injury Gods in Brent Grimes, who the Atlanta Falcons had no business dumping because he's still a top NFL cornerback. Grimes is so good when he gives up a reception in practice I'm shocked. And he faces MIKE WALLACE daily. I expect a Pro Bowl type season from Grimes.
4. Dolphins finally have a safety tandem that will enter their second season as starters together for the first time in a decade. Secondaries are all about communication, and Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons are clearly in a groove together. Jones roams the field freelancing, causing havoc, and Clemons plays center field, letting nothing get behind him. One is flash, the other is substance. It works!
5. Miami has a young quarterback with all the tools in Ryan Tannehill. He needs time and patience to get better in critical areas (third down, red zone, fourth quarter execution, KILLS), but he has no limitations physically and mentally. And truth is, if he's not good enough Matt Moore can win games for Miami as his replacement.
6. The Dolphins will have a far better run blocking offensive line in 2013 than any unit they've put on the field since the 2009 season. Notice I said run blocking, not pass blocking. Based on what I've seen in practice this group is better suited for a zone blocking scheme, and Lamar Miller and Mike Gillislee should excel in that scheme because of their styles.
7. Special teams is strong. Brandon Fields is one of the best punters in the NFL. Caleb Sturgis' leg is FOR REAL, and he showed us that against Jacksonville. And in Marcus Thigpen the Dolphins have a second-year player who was one of the NFL's top returners last season. All the Dolphins have to do is be solid from a coverage aspect.
8. This franchise has plenty of young players - Lamar Miller, Mike Pouncey, Reshad Jones, Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Dannell Ellerbe, Charles Clay, Will Davis, Marcus Thigpen (as a returner) - who have the potential to become stars in the NFL. And that doesn't factor in the players like Cameron Wake, Richie Incognito, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Tyson Clabo and Brent Grimes who have already earned Pro Bowl recognition.
9. If the Dolphins don't produce a winning season in '13 you'll finally get your wish and General Manager Jeff Ireland will be banished from the island. Who survives a makeover of this caliber if it doesn't produce a winning record? At this point Ireland is running out of excuses and quarterbacks.
10. Owner Steve Ross is willing to spend whatever to put a winning team together, stupidly thinking it will make South Florida LOVE HIM. Ross proved that this offseason spending an obscene amount of money to renovate this roster.
My hope is that you'll enjoy 2013. Remember, life isn't about the destination. It is about the journey. Enjoy the ride.
G.G.G.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun