Tuesday saw the opening of the Miami Dolphins’ opulent new training center next to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Before the ribbon cutting, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross appeared to suggest, with a bit of humor, that he is expecting an immediate return on the nine-figure investment from his team. Coming off a disappointing ending to the 2020 season, are the Dolphins under pressure to perform in 2021?
Stephen Ross sets high expectations for the Miami Dolphins ahead of the 2021 season
During the opening of the new training facility, Ross made a statement that included multiple references to winning a Super Bowl soon.
“We want to do as much with the community as we possibly can, we want to be the best in class in the NFL, and we want to win the Super Bowl. Well, I think we are two-thirds of the way there, and the rest, I hope we are hoisting the Super Bowl in a very short time, with the emphasis on short.”
“It takes all these small details when putting together a great organization, that will be used to winning and winning often.”
“If you can’t win with a facility like this, then you never will.”
Even if Ross was joking, it would be wrong to dismiss an underlying level of truth in his words. The Dolphins have overachieved in the last two seasons. In 2019, they were widely viewed as the worst team in the league but managed to win five games. Then in 2020, not many expected them to be in the thick of a playoff race, especially while also trying to develop Tua Tagovailoa on the field.
But the standard has now been set. Expectations are high. Ross now wants them to deliver more than just a promising season.
The Dolphins expect to be in the race for the playoffs in 2021
While the Buffalo Bills appeared to be the class of the division in 2020, the Dolphins did push them close in their first meeting. The Dolphins also defeated the New England Patriots and New York Jets in three of their four matchups last season. Therefore, anything less than a 3-3 record within the division would likely be viewed as a backward step. Equally, after falling short in the final week, the Dolphins have their eyes on at least a Wild Card berth in 2021.
Tua Tagovailoa’s second season could shape Ross’ feelings about the Dolphins’ front office and coaching staff
While there were plenty of promising signs from Tua in his rookie season, the success of Justin Herbert has added an extra layer of pressure for the Dolphins’ front office. When the player that was passed up by a franchise succeeds immediately, that leads to questions being asked. Ross certainly made it apparent the front office and coaching staff are now the ones under pressure to deliver.
“We got a lot of input from Chris Grier and Brian Flores, but now the pressure is on them. We delivered guys.”
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Adam H. Beasley is PFN’s NFL Insider and Analyst. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.