Yes, even when you’re 2-9, as the Miami Dolphins are, you can be thankful, certainly not because of the record, more because of the people.
See, on this Thanksgiving morning there is hope.
Hope because a master plan is unfolding, a plan that has created a treasure trove of draft picks over the next two years and, through prudent spending over the past nine months, has given this team the financial flexibility it needs moving forward.
Hope because some of the pieces of this turnaround are now in place, which in so many ways is what this season is about.
Hope because the goals of this organization are now perfectly aligned from top to bottom and those goals have everything to do with sustained success and nothing to do with quick fixes that might produce an occasional winning season.
So with that hope in mind on this Thanksgiving morning, as that distinctive aroma of turkey permeates through your house, let’s take a closer look at some of the people in this organization we should all be thankful for:
- Be thankful for Brian Flores, for his smarts, his drive, his passion, the way he cares about his players and his unyielding determination to turn this team around. Those two straight victories told us plenty about his coaching ability.
- Be thankful for Ryan Fitzpatrick for giving us the opportunity to be a part of his remarkable eight-city journey and for the way he has embraced being a leader on this team, teaching so many of the young players with his words and his actions.
- Be thankful for the nucleus of young players on this team, who are just scratching the surface of their potential and who will play such a large role in seasons to come.
- Be thankful for the candor and wit of Christian Wilkins, for the passion and energy of Vince Biegel, for the future of Xavien Howard and for that final gear when all Jakeem Grant sees is wide open field.
- Be thankful for Albert Wilson who gives back in so many different ways, especially to young foster care kids who are traveling the same road that he once did.
- Be thankful for some of the real finds this year, players like receiver Preston Williams, who unfortunately saw his season end far too early, but showed us all we needed to see over the first half of the season.
- Be thankful that this franchise saw enough potential in DeVante Parker to bring him back for another season, which is on the verge of being his best season.
- Be thankful for the potential of players like Taco Charlton, Mike Gesicki and Jerome Baker, all important pieces moving forward.
But it’s not only the players.
- Be thankful that Don Shula is still going strong on the doorstep of 90 years old and that Dan Marino remains an important part of this organization, even if he can’t still zip it the way all of us wishes he still could.
- Be thankful for the countless ways this organization gives back to the community, for how many lives are better because of it.
- Be thankful for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, the money it raises, the awareness it brings and the impact it makes.
- Be thankful for RISE, created by owner Stephen Ross and designed to serve as a vehicle to help use the unifying power of sports to advance race relations everywhere.
- Be thankful for every day at training camp when a different high school football team watches practice, tours the facility and mingles with the players. If you saw the expression on the faces of these young men you would know how thankful they were to have had that opportunity.
So no doubt the record is disappointing. That’s the bottom line. Always will be. But at least now there is real hope moving forward, hope because of an infusion of youth with long-term potential and hope because of a coaching staff that seems well constructed for this challenge.
With that hope in mind, here’s wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and, of course, remember to put plenty of whipped cream on that pumpkin pie.