If the Miami Dolphins are tanking this season, they aren’t doing a very good job of it. The Dolphins won for the second consecutive week, and now are not (very) close to having the league’s worst record.
At 0-9, the Cincinnati Bengals are the league’s only remaining winless team, giving them a two-game lead (or should that be deficit?) on Miami for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins are 1-8, so they are ahead — or behind — the Dolphins as well. The Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, and New York Giants all have the same number of victories as Miami.
The Dolphins beat the Jets, so that’s another team that is currently in front of them. If Miami keeps winning, they could conceivably be out of the top five of the league’s bottom-five teams in next year’s draft.
Dolphins Coach Brian Flores isn’t ready to say the team will earn a playoff spot, but he did tell reporters they are making progress.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Flores said. “There’s a trust and a belief in the process.”
Can Non-Tanking Miami Dolphins Still Get Tua?
Miami is still in the hunt for projected No. 1 draft pick, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After their recent performances, however, the idea that they will land Tagovailoa is far from a given. If the draft was today, Cincinnati would get the first pick. The Bengals benched longtime starter Andy Dalton, and the team would definitely be in the market for a signal caller.
So, Tagovailoa could go to the Bengals.
There are still two quality QBs the Dolphins could get, depending on where they end up in the draft order. If things stand as they are now, however, Washington would go second, and with the Dwayne Haskins experiment a failure, they could pick a second quarterback in as many years.
LSU’s Joe Burrow and Oregon’s Justin Herbert would probably be the next players at that position to get drafted. Burrow, who is the overwhelming choice for the Heisman, might go to the Redskins.
That leaves Herbert, and the Jets and Giants have much greater needs than quarterbacks. They are probably staying with Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones.
Atlanta, however, is another story. Matt Ryan will be in the third year of a five-year deal. Chances are, the Falcons won’t be able to trade him, and will probably stay with a known quantity. If they don’t, however, they may take Herbert, and Miami would miss out on the top three quarterback prospects.
To Tank or Not to Tank
Flores has been adamant about the team not throwing away the season, and the Dolphins recent results seem to prove he is serious. The first-year coach told reporters before the team even played a game that he wouldn’t dream of taking a fall.
“This game means a lot to me,” Flores said. “I wouldn’t disrespect the game with that. Again, no, we’re not. We’re going to try to win every game. I think that’s disrespectful to even to say that. … It’s disheartening to hear people talk about it, to even say that. For a guy who respects the game as much as the game has done for me, when people say that, it’s extremely sad.”
Veteran center Daniel Kilgore said he wouldn’t let his teammates even think about giving less than 100 percent.
“I’ve been in this situation before with the 49ers, and people got mad when we won,” Kilgore said. “I wouldn’t want people to go and do their job and fail at it. You got 53 guys busting their [butts] every day during the week, competing, trying to get a win, trying to figure out what we can do to get a win.”