The upcoming Dolphins-Jets game on Sunday will be a very interesting one for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, a Dolphin win would eliminate the Jets from the 2011-2012 playoff picture and give all Jet-haters a very warm and fuzzy feeling. The matchup will serve as an excellent test for Dolphin QB Mike Moore against a desperate Jets team that must do everything possible to win. It will also be Jason Taylor's last NFL game. But an observer should look beyond the obvious by comparing two franchises starved for success and their rebuilding methods.
We all know the long. sad story of the Dolphin QB position since the retirement of Dan Marino in 2000. But one can argue that the Jets have been searching for a QB since Joe Namath left in the mid-1970's. First-round draft choices Richard Todd and Browning Nagle were complete busts. Ken O'Brien, another first-round pick, was a decent QB but never outstanding. They signed Brett Favre for a season that ended in complete failure. The Jets organization was so hungry for a franchise QB they traded up in 2009 to get the draft choice that turned into Mark Sanchez. Needless to say, Sanchez has not lived up to expectations. Hints are now being dropped that a 36-year old damaged Peyton Manning might be their answer at QB. Since Rex Ryan became Jets coach, he has similarly "plugged in' veterans such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, etc. Yet, that team is now fighting to salvage the season. If there's a lesson to be learned from the 2011-2012 Philadelphia Eagles, it's that "plugging in" bodies doesn't work. Systems work. The Patriots, for example, have a successful system from which they don't deviate. They only "plug in" players that fit, not randomly as the Jets seem to do.
The Dolphins desperately need management that will institute a winning system, not continually patch over problems for perceived short-term gain as the Jets have done. Not trade draft picks as quickly as the Jets have done. In many ways, I prefer to be in the Dolphins' shoes, not the Jets. The Dolphins now know what they must do to rebuild. They just need to make good choices. The Jets don't seem too certain about their next step and may be mired in mediocrity for a very long period of time. The future of the Dolphins may not be as grim as it seems.