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Miami Dolphins: Similarities Between 2010 and 2013 Seasons Must End Soon

Members of the Dolphins’ defense celebrate Sunday’s win over the Colts

The similarities are almost eerie.

Offseason champions to a 2-0 start — it’s the way two Dolphins teams over the past four years have defined their March through early September calendars. Of course, I’m referring to the 2010 Dolphins and today’s team.

This past spring wasn’t the first time Miami’s general manager, Jeff Ireland, was extremely aggressive in an offseason.

In March, 2010, Ireland, with assistance from football czar Bill Parcells, threw a five-year, $43 million contract at free-agent Karlos Dansby, making the then former Arizona Cardinal the league’s highest-paid linebacker.

But Ireland wasn’t done. A month later, he traded two second-round picks for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, then handed him a $50 million deal.

See the connection?

Six months ago, Ireland inked two of the offseason’s most-coveted free agents — Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe. Wallace, a receiver like Marshall, signed a five-year, $60 million deal and Ellerbe, a middle linebacker like Dansby, agreed to another five-year contract, which is worth nearly $35 million.

Ireland and the Dolphins were more aggressive this time around, additionally signing sought-after players like Brent Grimes, Philip Wheeler and Dustin Keller. But in both offseasons, Miami amplified expectations for the franchise with an all-in player acquisition mentality.

How were and how have those expectations been met?

The Dolphins opened the season with back-to-back road games in 2010. A revamped defense led Miami to wins over the Bills and Vikings, 15-10 and 14-10, respectively. The Dolphins were 2-0, sitting atop the AFC East with a great opportunity to compete for a playoff spot and possibly a division title in front of them.

See the correlation?

This year, Joe Philbin’s Dolphins were forced to open the season with two games in hostile environments. Just like three years ago, Miami won both with a stingy defense, topping the Browns in Week 1 and the Colts this past Sunday.

Under Tony Sparano in 2010, the undefeated Dolphins marched into Weeks 3 and 4 — two primetime games against division opponents — with a chance to prove that they were a legitimate contender.

In the next two weeks, the Dolphins won’t play any division games, or conference games, for that matter. But they will square off against two Super Bowl contenders. And they will have the same opportunity those 2010 Dolphins had — the chance to validate themselves as a real threat in their division, conference and league.

Those Dolphins were exposed as a fraud, losing to the Jets and Patriots at home in consecutive weeks and conceding 72 combined points in the process. How will these Dolphins fare?

The 2010 Dolphins couldn’t win the big game. Yes, Chad Henne was far from the answer at the game’s most important position, but that team did have the ceiling of a wildcard squad. They were talented enough to play in important games. They were just void of what it took to actually win them.

After the back-to-back primetime division losses, Sparano’s team went on the road and beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The next week, when the pressure was back on and when Miami, once again, had the opportunity to prove themselves, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in a game in which they had every opportunity to win.

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, in Weeks 3 and 4 for this year’s team, present the same challenge that faced those Dolphins. Beat at least one of them, if not both, and continue the climb that began in the offseason and has sustained with a 2-0 start.

It should be noted that the 2010 and 2013 Dolphins aren’t exactly parallel with one another. The promise which has stemmed from Miami’s impressive start this season feels more genuine this time.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks the part considerably more so than Chad Henne ever did. Kevin Coyle’s defense is more talented than Mike Nolan’s unit was.

But until they prove it on the field, until they halt the comparisons, Dolphins fans should proceed with cautious optimism. Although, it’s tempting given how well this team has come together, they shouldn’t buy into them as a contender…yet.

Win on Sunday, and that changes.

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9 Responses to “Miami Dolphins: Similarities Between 2010 and 2013 Seasons Must End Soon”

  1. Kyle says:

    Well done, definitely feel this team is better but they have to prove it!

  2. Pauly Finstermaker says:

    Although the Dolphins have started 2-0 I also would have to concur that let’s not get to carried away. They beat a very bad Browns squad and a Colt’s team that just can’t play hero every game. So let’s sit back and watch the next 2 games and find out who they really are.. I’m thinking 10 and 6 ceiling, 6 and 10 basement

  3. Dolph Fin says:

    I think it would appear without question that the Fins are going to out do that ol’ 1972 squad. There is not a better team in the league and not a better running back in the game than Lamar Miller.. 19-0 Super Bowl Champs no question….

  4. Peter Vaiker says:

    Dolphins Suck

  5. joselpacheco says:

    This is what I’m seeing this team better then the 2010 team,and that’s a fact my dolphin’s are playing as a unit one for all, and all for one and that’s how you win championships love them dolphins and the defenses resembling the 1972 no name defenses…….

  6. Braden Heath says:

    I definitely see some of the comparisons but it stops, for me, with the differences at QB/HC.

    Sparano was as inept a head coach as you’ll find in the league and Henne was no more than a backup.

    It is clear to me, even just using the ‘eye test’, that Philbin and Tanne are far superior than their predecessors were in every facet of the game.

    I think we beat the Falcons this weekend and at the same time we break the “Dolphins mold”…

  7. […] – Similarities between the 2013 Dolphins and the 2010 team must end soon. […]

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