The Dolphins are 6-5 and still in the hunt for the playoffs. But, they are ostensibly three games behind in the playoff race (The Steelers & Ravens have 8-3 records with a tie-breaker advantage over Miami). Picking up three games to get into the playoffs with five to play is going to be quite a challenge. They almost have to win all five games and even then hope for a significant collapse. The only way this three game advantage is reduced to two is if there are multiple teams tied and the tie breaker goes deeper than head-to-head. But, even then, the Dolphins are presently at a disadvantage with a 4-4 conference record (versus 6-2 records by the Ravens and Steelers). Although loses and wins over the last few weeks could change that. Nevertheless, Miami's only hope is to basically run the table which means victories at both New England and the Jets. A tough road for sure. That said, aside from essentially a stolen game by the Steelers against Miami (wouldn't it be a sad irony if the playoffs came down to a tie between the Steelers and Miami? Quite frustrating), the Dolphins at 6-5 and just out of the playoffs are pretty much where they belong. They are a mediocre team with some ability to compete, but are full of serious flaws. Injuries have certainly contributed to this to some degree. Nevertheless, the Dolphins are starting to define "middle of the pack"; it is where they are right now and it is an identity that has been all too commonplace since the 90's. There is no doubt they could have a run like the Giants did a couple of years ago (hope springs eternal as long as they are not mathematically eliminated! But, the reality is, personnel-wise and coaching wise, though I put more of the blame on the personnel side, the team just hasn't produced the players it needs. When we examine teams that have maintained or continued to produced quality players there are two factors: they "hit" on big playmakers, but they also "hit" on sleepers who get the job done as role players. As much as we all clamor for playmakers at TE or RB or even another WR (some even at QB though that remains TBD at this point), it is equally problematic in personnel moves with mid-level acquisitions. The O-line has remained mediocre and the team has been unable to develop a line along the lines of, say, the Chargers, which just dominated the Colts last night. That's just a single example but the point is by this time - three years into the new regime with a head coach and president who came in with a reputation for having a physical offensive line, they continue to have a merry-go-round at the OL interior. One way or another, this team is what it's record says it is. It is the epitome of the the NFL's parity goals. Which is not great for Miami fans hoping for a return to glory days. It's good for expansion teams that don't have a great tradition. But not for Miami. Particularly in light of the potential lockout, I'm for giving the present GM/Coach another season (barring a 5 game losing streak the rest of the year) even if they don't make the playoffs. But, if it is a 9-7 record again next year (or worse) and similar inconsistency and lack of the ability to dominate - then that's it. They have to hit on some players, however. Unfortunately, the Dolphins will have a depleted draft without a 2nd round pick (unless they pull a trade down again - which hurts in landing a big playmaker); while the rival Patriots once again have accumulated multiple first round picks (as an aside, as much as even some of our gurus have criticized them for failing to draft well with all those selections, they are 9-2 right now - tied for the best record in the league and they are likely to accumulate even more talent this next year) ... the rich get richer. It's not all doom and gloom, but the QB position has to step up and become elite; and they cannot afford any more free agent gaffes - there can be no more Justin Smileys or Jake Grove signing mistakes (though talented and effective when healthy, imo - their inability to hold up physically was a huge flaw that simply cannot happen again). If there is a Steve Hutchinson, I'm all for breaking the bank there. Otherwise, they cannot make such mistakes. The margin for error has narrowed dramatically for the front office however. The pressure is there.