MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Nothing ever truly goes to plan, and they certainly have not for the Miami Dolphins. But even after shocking coaching changes and national controversy, general manager Chris Grier still has a real chance to get the Big Thing right.
When Grier and Stephen Ross pulled the trigger on their organizational teardown in early 2019, the vision was for the team to compete for championships in Year 4 and beyond.
Well, it’s Year 4. And while it would shock the betting public — they’re 40-to-1 to win the Super Bowl on most books — it’s certainly possible. Even Grier — a reserved man by nature — acknowledged Tuesday after paring his team down to 53 players that he thinks this is the best roster the Dolphins have had in some time.
Do the Miami Dolphins have enough to win it all?
“Yeah, I mean, I do,” Grier said. “When you add players like Tyreek Hill to the roster, and [Terron] Armstead and Cedrick Wilson and the guys, Raheem Mostert, it’s some talented players that are good players and are good teammates too, and guys that know how to win, know what it takes.
“We feel like we got a good, deep group,” Grier said. “It’s a good mix. … We’re still very young, but we feel good about it. We feel good about the roster. But again, we’ll always, like we do, keep looking and improving and trying and get it to where we can compete for championships.”
The Dolphins haven’t competed for championships this century. Their last appearance in the conference title game was in 1992. And for sure, questions remain.
Does Tua Tagovailoa have what it takes to win it all? Do they have enough cornerback depth after a spate of injuries? And what will be the lasting impact of the NFL’s tampering investigation — with the league docking first and third-round picks for rule violations “of unprecedented scope and severity” — be on a team that has had more than its fair share of controversy?
Grier addressed all three topics during his first media availability since the NFL Draft.
On Tagovailoa, perhaps the most divisive player in today’s NFL: “Just seeing his personality come in, just how he is and with the team and stuff and you know, I think his teammates see it, feel it. You guys here talk to the guys and he’s taking steps. … He’s very excited. He likes the offense and thinks it fits him, some players we added, so it’s been good watching growth and then watching him enjoy himself playing football.”
On the Dolphins cornerback room, which will be without Byron Jones for at least the first four weeks of the season: “We will be searching the waiver wire tonight into tomorrow. But for us, you know, we feel good about the group we have. So for us right now, that’s not a position right now, we feel it’s critical for us right now.”
And on the NFL’s knuckle-rapping for organizational misbehavior: “For us it really doesn’t affect how we do business around here. you know, we’re just kind of focused on the team right now and we’re moving forward but you know. You know the league did their investigation and but at the end of the day, this team is not affected by it and everyone’s just moving forward and we’re focused on trying to win as many games as they can this season.”
In a way, Grier was right. The hay for 2022 is in the barn. This year’s team doesn’t care about next year’s draft stock. The team’s success or failure this year will depend largely on how players from Grier’s last four drafts perform in the deepest AFC in recent memory.
“We feel good about the roster,” Grier said. “… We were actually talking about how difficult the cuts were here for us. A couple of guys that we are battling on at the end here, you know, just trying to make the right decision for the team. So we feel there’s some players that got released that will be on NFL rosters which is always a good thing. That wasn’t the case here for a while, but we felt we’ve been building it up and we feel good about the roster and excited for what it could be in the future.”