The New England Patriots have won the AFC East and reached the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Their only slip-up: When the Miami Dolphins went 11-5 in 2008 to vault past the Tom Brady-less Patriots.
Miami hasn’t made the playoffs since, but ahead of a regular season in which Brady could miss time yet again, the Dolphins truly believe this is the year they’ll get over the hump.
“Not being able to play in the postseason in all that time I’ve been here, now is the time,” defensive end Cameron Wake recently said, via The Miami Herald. “This is definitely the year.”
Wake joined the Dolphins in 2009 and has seen the team finish .500 or worse in six consecutive seasons. Yet he isn’t the only one buying the bold prediction.
“We feel like this is our year to make the playoffs,” center Mike Pouncey said, via the Herald. “I know we say that every year, but this year our football team, it’s the mindset we have. We love the direction we’re going.”
Miami made a big splash in free agency this offseason, signing high-profile targets such as Ndamukong Suh, Greg Jennings and Jordan Cameron. The team also selected highly touted wide receiver DeVante Parker in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, so there’s plenty of reason for optimism.
Still, the Dolphins have been in this position before, and the fact remains they likely will have to get past the defending Super Bowl champs if they want to reach the playoffs. But a belief in the team certainly is a start, and there’s plenty of that to go around in Miami.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports Images
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