Last week I told you how the Miami Dolphins’ offseason work to improve team culture was at risk in the game against the Chicago Bears
I told you that culture — which was a primary reason multiple roster and coaching moves were made — had failed at New England and Cincinnati.
And I told you the culture investment had to start paying dividends against the Chicago Bears because teams with good culture don’t lose three consecutive games.
I didn’t have the opportunity to circle back and tell you how it went until now. But this just in … the Dolphins’ team culture responded like a 500 pound silverback gorilla on the rampage against the Bears.
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The Dolphins got great games from Albert Wilson. He caught six passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
They got a great game from Frank Gore. He rushed for 101 on 15 carries.
Danny Amendola had good day with eight catches for 59 yards.
Gore is effectively the replacement for Jay Ajayi.
But it get better …
The offensive line that fell apart in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati when Laremy Tunsil went down with a concussion did not allow a sack against the Bears. Great response after a week of criticism. A sign of good culture.
“I think it was more of like a team aspect,” Tunsil said. “We all came together and were like, ‘We’ve got to do better. We can’t blow a 17-0 lead like that.’ It was more a team aspect than just an individual.”
It gets better, still.
The Dolphins had to hand the reins of the offense to backup quarterback Brock Osweiler when starter Ryan Tannehill was rule inactive for the game because of a shoulder injury. Talk about a challenge for the team’s culture.
Two consecutive losses.
Facing a tough opponent.
And you lose the starting QB.
The Dolphins rallied around Osweiler. Osweiler played as if he was always the starter after preparing for the game as he did every game — as if he was the starter.
That is a great statement of team culture.
So the report card based on what the Dolphins were facing last week is as follows for Miami’s team culture: A-plus.
But obviously it doesn’t stop there.
The Dolphins are 4-2 and have something of a chance to extend that to making a statement about the first part of their season with a couple of wins within the span of five days. If they beat the Lions on Sunday and the Houston Texans on Thursday night — two winnable games, by the way — that will make Miami 6-2.
And that’s a very, very good first half of the season.
And there’s more.
That record would be great for any team. But it’s downright amazing for any team that has lost its starting quarterback for any significant period of time.
And the Dolphins have already shown that they have a certain resiliency about them. Yes, they took gut punches in New England and in that fourth quarter in Cincinnati.
But responding last week amid the starting quarterback being unexpectedly injured is impressive.
It says good things about Miami’s team culture.