MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tuesday’s blockbuster trade for Bradley Chubb doesn’t just have the Miami Dolphins thinking Super Bowl. It has them talking Super Bowl, too — a remarkable reversal for a team that wouldn’t even breathe the word playoffs publicly in years past.
“I think throughout OTAs and throughout training camp, we could see the potential that we had as a team offensively and defensively, and we’re not afraid to talk about Super Bowls here,” Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said Wednesday.
“We’re not afraid to talk about going to a playoff game, having an opportunity to go to one and then hopefully winning one. But yeah, if you were to ask me that, I would say I have full belief that we are capable, even with the trades that we’ve had.”
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Love the newfound confidence. But is it rooted in reality?
The Dolphins are still 30-to-1 to win it all, according to Caesars, giving them the 10th-shortest odds among NFL teams. By way of comparison, AFC East rival Buffalo is plus +230 — which means the bettors believe the Bills are roughly 10 times more likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy than the team that beat them just a few weeks ago.
But Miami’s midseason talent upgrade — the Dolphins not only traded for Chubb Tuesday, but they also added for 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. — isn’t properly reflected by the latest betting odds. The Dolphins hope that adding Chubb will do for them what adding Von Miller did for the Rams’ Super Bowl chances last year.
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“That 2019 year, you saw what happened,” said running back Raheem Mostert, who was part of the Niners’ NFC Championship team three years ago. “You see what we did – we made it to the Super Bowl and we added Emmanuel Sanders to the roster. So it’s always good to have guys come, whether it’s on the trade deadline or a little bit before, being traded and coming to a team and just boosting our morale up even more.
“It’s always a good feeling knowing that we’re sitting in a good spot right now, especially at 5-3. We just have to put the pieces together, get those guys going with us and let’s see where it takes us.”
Added Mike McDaniel, who was on San Francisco’s offensive coaching staff in 2019:
“I think some symmetry in that there’s a common denominator where you have a team that is having a season that they’re very much in the mix of everything, that’s winning football games more than they’re losing, and then you add a quality NFL player or players, and if they’re the right type of people, if they’re the right type of personality, it can really breathe some added life, not new life, but really added life into the monotony of the season,”
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The Dolphins last made the Super Bowl 38 years ago, in Dan Marino’s second season. They haven’t won the Super Bowl since 1973 — the 11th-longest active drought in the NFL. But with a top-five offense, a blossoming quarterback in Tagovailoa, and now — at least on paper — one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, the idea of them representing the AFC in the title game doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
The Dolphins gave up a first-round pick to lure Chubb from the Broncos, and protected that investment by signing him to a long-term deal Thursday. The reported details on the five-year extension: $119 million in new money, including $63.2 million guaranteed.
“We’re gonna get after this playoff run and Super Bowl and accomplish all the goals we’ve got here and fight for,” Chubb, who has 26 sacks in 49 NFL games, said in his introductory news conference Thursday.
“.. I see the sky’s the limit, man,” Chubb said later. “The leadership, that’s what’s gonna take it to wherever we need to go. You know what I mean? And I’m just now getting here, we’ve got player-led meetings on both days and really meeting something to guys, you see how we practice in jog through yesterday, running to the ball 30 yards down the field and, and I’m looking around like, ‘Oh, am I doing this? Bring me along too.’ So I feel like the sky’s the limit, man, because everybody in this organization, in this building cares, and they understand that to play championship football, you’ve you got to go the extra mile.”
For his part, the guy who made the Chubb trade happen — Dolphins GM Chris Grier — was characteristically on message Wednesday. Grier in the summer declined to declare the team he and McDaniel assembled a Super Bowl contender, and stuck to that script when asked again Wednesday.
“I’ve always just viewed it as always just trying for us to put together the best team we can,” Grier said. “So for us, I think we have a lot of good players. I think Mike and this coaching staff have done a great job of working with these guys, implementing their scheme, and doing things that give us a chance to win. I’m not into predictions and everything, but I do think we have a good team that has a chance to compete and win some games in the future.”
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