Miami Dolphins fans were not thrilled Tuesday when ESPN.com released its post-NFL draft Power Rankings. This is the first glimpse of how Miami is viewed nationally heading into the 2014 season. The Dolphins were ranked at No. 24 coming off a solid 8-8 season where they were one win away from making the playoffs.
But perhaps the most interesting part was the vote from ESPN.com NFL Nation columnist Kevin Seifert. He ranked the Dolphins way below expectations at No. 30. Yes, No. 30 -- as in prepare to go 3-13 and enter the Jameis Winston sweepstakes.
This week, I reached out to Seifert to get clarity on his vote. Here was his explanation of why the Dolphins will be one of the NFL's worst teams this season:
“I know this won't satisfy Dolphins fans, but there is just too much bad karma swirling around the team. They've worked hard to rebuild the offensive line after last season's chaos, but it's rare to have so many new starters and it will take a long time for this to mesh. The bullying scandal revealed questionable leadership from coach Joe Philbin, and it's never good news for a coach to be working for a general manager that didn't hire him. There are some nice individual pieces on the Dolphins' roster, but that alone doesn't mean you have a winning team.”
Do you agree or disagree with Seifert's rationale?
If the Dolphins are indeed the 30th best team in the NFL this year, the entire organization might clean house. Philbin is 15-17 in his two seasons and must get the Dolphins to the playoffs this year to prove he is the long-term solution. The same goes for third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has the same 15-17 record as a starter.
Every team in the AFC East is in "win now" mode. The Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills all believe they're capable of making the playoffs. If the Dolphins take major steps back this year -- as Seifert projects -- that will be bad news for many in the organization.