Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in a jovial mood last week. The team announced major changes to Sun Life Stadium and Ross, who worked on that project for the past few years, had reason to celebrate.
However, Ross' football team has been inconsistent on the field. He made his first head-coaching hire in 2012 with Joe Philbin, but the team is 23-25 in the past three seasons. The Dolphins went 8-8 the past two seasons. Yet, Ross believes the Dolphins have a bright future, in part due to the success of third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“I think you saw the development of Ryan, and a lot of the other younger players, and I think that bodes well,” Ross said. “It’s hard. You see all these teams making coaching changes and you see us, and none of them have quarterbacks, [they] mostly don’t. So I think that bodes well for the future as we build something.”
Tannehill silenced a lot of critics by throwing for 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns and posting a 92.8 passer rating this season. All of the aforementioned totals are career highs. Tannehill also proved he could quickly learn a new offensive system under first-year coordinator Bill Lazor. The pair should be even more in sync in their second season together in 2015.
But the team still has a ways to go. The Dolphins finished third in the AFC East for the second straight season, and the division projects to be more competitive next season.
"We were up and down like everybody else," Ross said. "I thought we were getting there, and we didn't make it. But I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic that we're on our way."