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Tanking vs. Rebuilding

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Galant, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Advisory, this thread is entirely centred around semantics. In the spirit of Inigo Montoya I'm going to ask, "You keep using that word. Are you sure it means what you think it means?"

    The media have been talking about the Dolphins recently more than I remember in recent memory. They've talked about the players who have been cut, the players they might be drafting, and more significantly several have raised the question about whether the 2019 Dolphins season might be ground-zero for an outbreak of tanking in the NFL (as opposed to the NBA or MLB). Could the Dolphins be the typhoid Mary for NFL tanking?

    At the centre of those debates, though, a question keeps resurfacing - are the Dolphins tanking or is this just a legitimate rebuild - and is the distinction real, and does it matter?

    Those who argue that the Dolphins are definitely tanking point to the fact that the Dolphins have cut away tons of talent making it very unlikely they'll be able to win, despite the best efforts of Flores and whoever takes the field. Everyone is agreed that this is a Front-Office lead tanking job and not a Head-Coaching/player lead tanking job. As such, the essential point is that the players/coaches are NOT tanking, but the management IS tanking.

    On the flip side, those few arguing that this is simply a rebuild from scratch, want to define tanking as an intention to lose games/throw games, and that although a rebuild may see talent jettisoned, that's very different from intentionally pursuing losses. They say that since the Dolphins haven't been winning, since they've been stuck in mediocrity, since none of the cut players have been picked up by other teams, it all points to the fact that a severe pruning of the franchise was needed, and that this is exactly what Ross and Flores say it is - an extreme rebuild where the aim is always to win, but that mediocrity isn't acceptable.

    What's the difference, well, you could argue that if the team is tanking then winning (to whatever extent) is NOT acceptable, it's losses that are pursued. If they're not tanking, then losing isn't the aim, but instead it's about winning and building the right way. From the outside they might look the same, which makes this difficult, but internally, in conversations, in attitudes, that could make all the difference in character, team spirit, etc.

    So, Fins fans, what are your thoughts - are the Dolphins tanking, how do you define that, and does it make a difference?
     
  2. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    The front office has "tanked the season" to the point where coaching or remaining talent doesn't matter any more. Just because Flores will try to win doesn't change the narrative- the Dolphins are intentionally losing.

    Some will say, "Wait, didn't the Browns just do that?" Not really. Yes, they sucked and were void of talent for a little while, but they tried to win every single game and remained competitive. Two years ago they lost 10 games by 7 points or less...they were competing. I don't think the Dolphins will be able to replicate that because they emptied the trenches on both sides of the ball- those 8-10 guys alone can create an 0-16 season.

    It's clear that Grier did this on purpose and despite his intentions, I PERSONALLY FEEL that it violates NFL bylaws on how owners should conduct themselves and run their teams. This is not in the best interest of the sport and it's definitely not in the players or fans best interest, so I'm honestly hoping that the league forces Ross to sell. We'll still suck for a few years regardless but at least a new regime will have a ton of picks to try and build a contender with.

    The ironic thing is that Grier's plan may work- but what good is it if you lose the team and the entire fan-base in the process?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  3. mlb1399

    mlb1399 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Ross go away. Outside of the Tunsil trade, I’ve liked every move this team has made. I also can be objective enough to understand why they made that trade. And let’s be real, except for the Tunsil trade, everything else has just been taking out the trash.
     
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  4. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    It's both. Tanking means intentionally losing, and Ross and the front office seem to be doing exactly that. But why intentionally lose? Because there doesn't seem to be any other legitimate way to get that franchise QB. That franchise QB issue is the ONLY reason to tank during a rebuild. Otherwise you can rebuild without tanking. So it's both, not either or.

    And as KeyFin pointed out the "tanking" is only by the front office, not the coach or players in-game, but that's sufficient.
     
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  5. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    But the key difference is in intention - wanting to lose/intending to lose, and not wanting to lose but wanting to re-start/reset. Is there room to argue that even the front office, with all the cuts, are simply hitting the reset button (because they have to) rather than put a team on the field that guarantees they lose?

    Or is that an irrelevant difference?
     
  6. Sceeto

    Sceeto Well-Known Member

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    Tank building
     
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  7. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    I already gave my opinion on that. You HAVE to tank to get that franchise QB with any high degree of probability. So I think the intention is definitely there by the front office. As stated, that QB issue is the only reason it's both rebuilding and tanking.
     
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  8. The Guy

    The Guy Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    The league hinges on the quarterback position to such a great degree that it makes good business sense to suffer financial losses in the short term to be able to land a franchise quarterback in the draft who creates financial gains in the longer-term.

    Even when you boil it down to business and finances alone, it makes no sense not to tank. I suspect someone explained that to Stephen Ross and got him on board with this process in precisely that manner.
     
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  9. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Financial losses? Ross is GAINING almost $100M in financial savings by not spending any money at all. Others will point out that it can be applied to next season's salary caps....but can you realistically see us bringing in guys like Khalil Mack and Suh a year after gutting the roster?

    Make no mistake, the biggest winner here is Ross. As a financial guy, he was pitched how to build a contender and bank $200M in the process, which is why we're in this position. I guarantee you that it's been a major factor in the decision process.
     
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  10. The Guy

    The Guy Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That’s a good point. He may not be losing all that much, if anything. I was thinking more about ticket and merchandise sales, which will likely plummet.
     
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  11. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    You trade your starting right tackle 3 months before the season, and then sign a career backup to replace him. You cut your starting left guard and replace him with a rookie. Same at right guard. Then you trade your dominant right tackle a week before the season starts and replace him with a rookie who was 4th on the depth chart....because you cut the guys in 2nd and 3rd. We literally have nobody to protect the QB's blindside now....Gisecki would probably be more effective at LT than what we have now.

    There's no way to look at that line and say it was built with the intention of winning a football game this season. The front office is unquestionably tanking the season away.
     
  12. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Most profit comes from the TV rights, which is paid whether people show up for games or not. And season tickets for the 2019 season were sold months ago, well before all the big trades/cuts took place. So the vast majority of season income is already paid- concessions and jersey sales make up a very tiny portion of the remaining profit.
     
  13. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    But you can argue that they looked at those players and didn't like what they saw long term. They might have been trying to trade them previously but had not success so when the deadline came they were forced to cut them. The motive might be getting rid of what you're not 100% happy with, and doing it now, rather than trying to field the worst possible team.
     
  14. invid

    invid Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    There's too many nuances to settle on a singular answer here, which is why these threads end up being a lot of arguing without getting anywhere.

    Does one season constitute a tank job? If not, how many seasons, then, would it take?
    Is it a tank if our goal is to reset the roster for one year, in order to rebuild the team for longer, sustained success in the future?
    How much roster turnover constitutes a rebuild vs. a tank?
    If the FO is cleaning house, but the coaching staff is earnestly trying to win during a given season, is it a tank?

    There's just a lot of unknowns and every person's definition is different, that's why these threads kind of feel like a waste of time.
     
  15. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    And yet, many, many people want to talk about 'tanking', thus it's very worthwhile to attempt to understand, if not come to a consensus, on what that word actually means.
     
  16. invid

    invid Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Sorry, that was just a personal opinion, not a knock on your thread @Galant
     
  17. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    You could argue that- but since we're talking about an American league then let's use two primary American law concepts as a basis here.

    #1 Intent is 9/10th of the law. Does Miami intend to win this year with that roster? It's hard to argue for that point since players specifically said they'd revolt if Tunsil was traded. In fact, every analyst in the mix has stated that Miami is clearly tanking- this roster has no chance at competing.

    #2- When a something isn't clear, use common sense to determine the most probable intention. Since we don't know Grier's intentions, what's more likely- he couldn't find/afford the right pieces to fill out the roster OR he neglected to even try? If you're going to argue that he actually tired, despite cutting 1st and 2nd stringers from his own head coach's depth chart, then you're absolutely nuts. The only effort he made at all over 4+ months was Clowney while cutting/trading over 15 former starters.

    There's simply no way to argue that this isn't an intentional tank when there's upgrades sitting at home right now after not making a roster. Grier chose to lose on purpose this season and save the team a boat-load of money. It's clearly a tank to anyone looking at the details.
     
  18. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    The NFL is not going to do anything.
     
  19. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Exactly! The FO is tanking this season in order to rebuild in the long term. So from the top of the organization, it is in fact both. That doesn't mean that the coaches or the players won't try to win every game. Of course they will. They wouldn't be competitors if they didn't.
     
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  20. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    So you're simply subsituting your own notions of what Miami's intention should be. You're assuming that 'winning this year' was their priority or intention, and yet, we know that Gase was criticised for wanting to "win now", which is essentially the same thing. That tells us that Miami's priority this year is not inline with your own. Instead we can ask, what could it be then? You're stating that it must be their intention to lose, and, by inference, as badly as possibly. However, it remain a possibility that while Grieg has accepted that they will lose this year, he's not building a losing team but rather creating a blank canvas on which to build a winning team. Part of that is cutting dead weight and another part is trading assets in order to gain draft/trade flexibility. That's a different thing from want to lose, wanting to reach the bottom. It's similar, related, but different. For example, one could ask would Grier have gone further if he felt another team would be worse this year, or is he happy that he made the moves he wanted to do? If he would move to beat the other team in the 'worst team 2019 sweepstakes' then he's trying to lose. But if he wouldn't, and accepted that another team could be worse, then it's evident he's not trying to be the worst, he's just making whatever moves are necessary to re-build the team. Of course, we don't know the answer to that question, but the distinction is real, wherever he comes down.

    It's fair to argue that Miami has been said to be "close to contention" for years and that Ross and Grier were done trying that route any more. Instead they are now committed to blowing it up and rebuilding the team in a different model. If that's the case then no, Grier couldn't afford the pieces necessary, the whole structure needed to go, and key pieces, needed to be acquired over the next season or two. That's a reasonable approach. It's arguably backed up by the fact that many of Miami's cut players simply weren't picked up by other teams. That's an indictment.

    Bottomline - maybe he is trying to lose, but I don't think that's certain or provable. Their version, about blowing it up and rebuilding is plausible.
     
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  21. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    It is like the movie Major League
     
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  22. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    You're missing the entire point here. If you're a member of a professional sports league, it's a given that the #1 priority is to win. Nobody watches sports hoping to see their team lose.

    Almost all of Miami's projected starters were picked up, but that's not what this is about anyway. If the structure needed to go- fine, get rid of it. But you can't sign other team's 3rd stringers, promote them to starters and then pretend you're actually trying to win. Again, every single analyst in football is screaming about this....it may be the only time in history the media has been unified on anything.

    Your point that cut players weren't picked up by other teams is untrue- just about all of them were. Those who weren't signed didn't belong on an NFL roster anyway though and that does not back up your point...it just shows how low the bar was for non-Miami veterans.


    We didn't sign a single starting caliber player this off-season from the league except for the CB Rowe (Fitzatrick is a career backup, Rosen really shouldn't count since he's a project). Everyone else is CFL players or draft picks. Yet we got rid of 15+ starting caliber players and semi-replaced 3 of them with guys that can sort-of be considered starters.

    No team can shed that many players and expect to compete- that's about as clear proof as you'll find these days.
     
  23. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    The weird thing is, before the purging of players that everyone is so upset about, most pundits and posters had us pegged as the worst team in the league.

    Yet now that we got rid of a lot of players that weren't good, except for Tunsil (whom we we weren't actively trying to get rid of) and Stills (who was going for political reasons) all of a sudden people are freaking out.
     
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  24. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Sorry Key but you're just repeating the principle you clearly believe in and not acknowledging that there is an alternate perspective out there and one the team have themselves acknowledged. Sports is about winning but in the NFL in particular there are so many moving parts it may be that a team has to concede that they will not be competitive one year in order to become more competitive in following years and, hopefully, perpetually. That's also an attitude that's focused on winning but which has eyes beyond one particular year.

    Is it an admission of failure? Sure. A team only does this because it hasn't been winning, for a long time. But it can be a good stance in order to become a winning team.
     
  25. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    But where's that magic line in the sand? Surely there's a point where a team is so bad that people feel cheated. Because although this is a sport, the NFL is ultimately a business and it can't function long-term if someone is intentionally trying to lose and "rig the system". What if it actually works and we win a Super Bowl in 3-5 years? Now does every .500 team fire everyone and take a few years off? That would topple the whole league.

    That directly effects all 32 teams, the viewership, etc......I do not believe your premise that teams get the luxury of taking a year of competition off.
     
  26. The Guy

    The Guy Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Because now it looks more intentional.
     
  27. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    It is semantics. But as is often the case with those disagreements, that doesn't mean that one side is clearly right while the other is wrong. Over the past months, I've seen many of our posters insist that "tanking" can only mean one thing - that a sports team is intentionally trying to lose games. Tantamount to actually throwing games, even. Many give examples of basketball teams doing something along those lines.

    I don't watch basketball at all, so I don't really know what goes on in that area. But I am a big baseball fan. And a few years ago, my team - the Cubs, decided that they wanted to start completely over and were tired of being mediocre. So they traded away any veterans that had value for prospects, did not sign any long term free agents, signed cheap inexperienced managers (equilivant to the head coach in football), and fielded one of the worst teams in baseball for several years running.

    They focused on building through the draft with the high picks that they earned, and making training those players their top priority. After four years of losing and stockpiling talent, they hired one of the best managers available, fielded a team full of some of the best (and cheap) young talent in the sport, and went on a run where they made the NL Championship series four years in a row, including their first World Series title in 106 years. Its become the best period in franchise history in a century, and it happened because they believed in, and commited to, the tank and saw it though. Most of the fanbase was on board too, which is apparently very different from what I see with Dolphin fans.

    So for me, tanking doesn't need to be telling people to throw games. It means tearing a team down to its foundations, going really cheap, and accepting that the players out there are probably going to lose a lot of games in the short team, with the hope that it can be rebuilt better in the long run. For me, this is the key difference from the term "rebuilding", which to me does not imply losing, but rather simply switching out players and/or coaches. An NFL team may rebuild and win seven games the first year.
     
  28. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    I call it rebuilding vs retooling personally.

    I felt like we needed a retool at several positions but actually had some pieces to build around.

    Now we are at ground zero.
     
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  29. mlb1399

    mlb1399 Well-Known Member

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    I think you can build around Baker, Howard, Wilkins, Minkah. The pieces are in place plus a good DE or OLB for our defense to be very good. We just have to fill a lot of holes on offense.
     
  30. AGuyNamedAlex

    AGuyNamedAlex Well-Known Member

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    We arent entirely devoid of talent, no. Though if we dont have some success those players may be a bit discontent after a while. I'm hoping not.
     
  31. DolphinGreg

    DolphinGreg Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    lol, yeah, I think it's just fodder for debate at this point.

    When I hear someone say "tanking" I take that to mean literally trying to MAXIMIZE your chances at losing because you know losing will guarantee something on the other end (i.e. the #1 pick in the draft).

    What you describe is not that though. And this is football where 1 elite prospect does not a good team make!

    When the Dolphins re-signed Xavien Howard and Jakeem Grant and brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick and traded for Josh Rosen...those moves did not help MAXIMIZE the team's odds of losing.

    I think an honest assessment shows Miami has a plan for long-term success that is APATHETIC towards short-term outcomes.

    So to my ears "tanking" is a harsh and probably incorrect word, particularly when tanking has a connotation that involves not playing ethically.

    I honestly don't see anything the least bit unethical about Miami trying to maximize it's chances of a Super Bowl in the next 5 years by being apathetic towards their record this season.

    If I thought Miami was trying to strip it's roster and lose as much as possible with the sole aspiration of landing a particular player without regard for building a team around that guy I would be more cynical I guess.

    I'm more critical of what the Colts did. I think they made decisions that got them Andrew Luck and consequently wasted an incredible opportunity with him largely because they didn't have a good plan in place.

    To me, Miami is simply trying to build it's roster strategically so that they have the most talent at the best price 2-5 years down the line.

    If what Miami is doing is wrong then the NFL needs to change the rules because right now, it's the prudent course of action.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
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  32. Phin McCool

    Phin McCool Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually onboard with this..errm...'tank building' and I really hope that we don't win enough games to screw us out of the number one pick which, as I'm sure many of you will agree, is such a Dolphins thing to do.

    I'll still be watching the games and cheering us on, er, if we're losing. :chuckle:
     
  33. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    Well again. I just don't use the word the same way that you do. But I've used it my way for a long, long time. Live and let live.
     
  34. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    “he's not building a losing team but rather creating a blank canvas on which to build a winning team. Part of that is cutting dead weight and another part is trading assets in order to gain draft/trade flexibility. That's a different thing from want to lose, wanting to reach the bottom. It's similar, related, but different”

    End topic.

    And embrace what our new regime is trying to do, stop bashing and mocking, the past two decades should let you know the true definition of insanity..

    It’s all clear from the owner down.. just have to open your mind.
     
  35. Makados10

    Makados10 Active Member

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    The Dolphins are tanking because I believe they are making moves to intentionally win as few games as possible & be the worst team in football. That is tanking. Everyone in the organization, including the owner, GM, and HC are complacent.

    I have to admit, I wouldnt be upset if it blows up in our face like Tua refusing to play for us if drafted. I also wouldnt be opposed to the NFL fining our first pick if we are a national embarrassment. The NFL can't let their draft turn into the NBA where a handful of teams are tank hardcore every year to get the top QBs. I didn't feel this way with the 2007 team... we just had a bad year but this is different. We shouldn't get rewarded with a #1 pick for tanking and I'm glad we are getting called out nationally.
     
  36. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    They have been talking about this for nearly 20 years. The NFL is different.
     

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