As we hit the halfway point of the season, there are two teams that have still yet to record a win this season – the 0-7 Miami Dolphins and the 0-8 Indianapolis Colts. On closer inspection, there is a big difference between what these teams are doing and how they are responding to the situation, and I think there’s a very different prognosis in South Florida as opposed to the Midwest.
Tuesday is open tryout day in the NFL, when teams bring in free agents to take a look at possible roster additions. Mike Florio reported, according to a league source, which teams had tryouts with which free agents this week. Here are his results for the Colts and Dolphins:
The Dolphins brought in tackle Joel Bell; quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson; defensive backs Antareis Bryan, Ryan Jones, Brandon Underwood, Jonathan Wade, who was signed; running back Kareem Huggins; linebackers Rashad Jeanty and Nate Triplett; tight ends Ben Patrick and Richard Quinn.
The Colts brought in center Greg Ryan.
The coaching staff should be doing anything they can to improve the team. If you are winless, you certainly have areas of need. Miami took a look at 11 different players and signed one.
The Colts looked at one player… and a center, suggesting that their coaching staff has identified center as their one area of need. The Colts have Jeff Saturday at center – a five-time Pro Bowler. Center might be their only area of strength right now.
Also – look at their last two games. The Dolphins lost their last two games by a combined 6 points, including an overtime loss to Denver on a Tim Tebow miracle and a 3-point loss to the division-leading New York Giants.
The Colts lost their last two games by a combined 72 points, including a 55-point loss to the division-leading New Orleans Saints.
And finally, look at the attitude of the teams, based on the statements coming out of the organizations. Dolphins RB Reggie Bush stepped up in disgust last week and said, “I stink. We all stink. When it comes to 0-6, everybody stinks.” He went on to say, “I don’t care if it’s the front-desk secretary – she ain’t doing a good enough job. Everybody’s in this thing together.” Whether you agree with what Bush said or how he said it, he is taking the losing streak personally and pushing the fact that it’s everybody’s job in the organization to improve to end it. Kudos to Bush, who knows how to win and takes the outcome personally.
In Indianapolis, Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted a very telling story on Monday. Here’s the excerpt: “The late Wellington Mara was watching his Giants struggle woefully 1 year, when 1 of his sons screamed out, ‘What are they doing out there!’ …Wellington sternly said ‘What they’re doing out there, son, is the best they can!’ …a wise steward was he.” Irsay seems to be contentedly watching his team plod through the season winless.
While there remain two winless teams, the Dolphins are competitive, focused and doing everything they can to right the ship. They will get a win or two in spite a tough schedule and playing in the AFC East with the Patriots, Bills and Jets.
The Colts have an easier schedule down the stretch with two games against the Jaguars, plus one against the Panthers – three games against teams that are a combined 4-12. But the only thing the Colts seem focused on challenging is the Lions record as the only team to go 0-16. Maybe the league needs to send a Code Blue team up to Indianapolis to check for signs of life.
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