The Worst Teams of All Time, Part 14: The 2007 Miami Dolphins

This is a post in an ongoing series, where we examine and poke fun at some of the most ghastly teams ever to take the field.

This one hurts. Really badly. 2007 was also coincidentally the year I became a fan of the Dolphins, and I was unaware of how awful they were. In 2007, Miami finished with the league’s worst record, and didn’t manage a win until Week 15.

Nick Saban

Nick Saban struggled to get through to his players. A communicator he was not.

The season started more in 2005, in which the Dolphins hired LSU’s Nick Saban to be their head coach. Saban guided them to a 9-7 record, and the Dolphins were Super Bowl picks going into 2006, along with Carolina in the NFC. Well, the Dolphins dropped to 6-10, and Saban, after repeatedly saying he had no connection to Alabama and that he wasn’t going to go there, left the Dolphins in the ditch. He escaped out the side door to coach the Crimson Tide, where he’s been ever since.

Saban was not a professional coach, and his cover-up of saying he “hated” it a few days back is just to hide how insufficient his skills were. He might be able to coach a great college team, but he couldn’t manipulate the media the way he wanted in order to tell them what he wanted them to know. Saban was quite possibly the worst communicator in NFL coaching history this side of Todd Haley, as he couldn’t reach his players no matter what he tried, unless you call undignified shouting “communicating”.

After this debacle, Miami was left searching for a head coach to guide them in 2007. They decided on Cam Cameron, who had been the offensive coordinator for San Diego from 2002-2006. Well, Cameron took the Dolphins and plummeted, winning only one game and then going back to guiding offenses. That said, Cameron’s tools weren’t great, but that’s an understatement.

John Beck

John Beck was often scrambling behind a terrible offensive line.

John Beck was the bottom of the totem pole for quarterbacks playing for Miami in 2007, as he started 4 games, losing all of them. He completed 56.1% of his passes for 559 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions for a rating of 13.73. He also kind of looked like a girl. Beck’s career was summed up in Week 14 against Buffalo, in which an ugly fumble on his throwing windup resulted in a touchdown for Buffalo. They won that game 38-14.

Trent Green

Trent Green looking for the open receiver which he never hit.

Trent Green was brought in, with Miami hoping he would replicate the success he had in Kansas City in 2003. He did not. Green completed 60.3% of his passes for 987 yards, 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. This added up to a rating of 47.0 and a starting record of 0-5.

Cleo Lemon

Cleo Lemon often threw passes to places in which the receiver wasn’t within a few timezones of.

Cleo Lemon (great name) led the Dolphins to their only win, completing 56% of his passes for 1,773 yards, 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. That gave him a rating of 38.48, and he lost 6 of his starts.

The running game never was there, because of the offensive line and the offensive scheme which never ran the ball very much. Ronnie Brown finished as the team’s leading rusher, carrying the ball 119 times for 602 yards and 4 touchdowns, a surprisingly good 5.1 yards-per-carry average.

In all, the offense was left without any spice or play makers, averaging only 16.7 points per game. That’s nice for 1940, but not 2007. Surprisingly, it wasn’t last in the league, ranking 26th/32nd.

The defense, however, was horrid. Despite having Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, they both couldn’t carry the team, and despite occasionally making plays, the Dolphins’ defense was often gashed like the Bears’ is nowadays. They gave up 5.6 yards per play, giving up 6.9 yards per pass attempt. They gave up 27.3 points per game as a unit, ranking 30th in the league.

Futile on both sides of the ball, to an extreme level. Although the Dolphins lost quite a few close games, they couldn’t get over their defense, losing 49-28 to New England, 41-31 to Cleveland, and 40-13 to the Jets.

Greg Camarillo

You can see how afraid they were of losing to an 0-13 team on this pass.

The Dolphins started the year 0-13, and the countdown to 0-16 was on. In Week 15, the Dolphins played the Ravens at home. They took Baltimore to overtime, 16-16, and right off the bat, Cleo Lemon cut through the Ravens’ defense to hit Greg Camarillo for an extremely long touchdown pass that won Miami the game, stopped them from going down in infamy, and also provided Lemon and Camarillo (sounds like a law firm) with a career moment.

That’s all for the story of the 2007 Dolphins. Putrid on both sides of the ball. Predictably, after the worst season in franchise history, Cam Cameron was fired. The next year, Miami rattled off an 11-5 record thanks to Chad Pennington and Tony Sparano (who is now currently guiding the winless Raiders), winning the AFC East title thanks to a gimmicky offense. They were them smashed by Baltimore in the playoffs, in what was somewhat of a revenge game.

Nowadays, the Dolphins are on the brink of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. After a 37-0 beating of San Diego, Miami is 5-3 and are looking for a win over Detroit. The offense is good and the defense is championship-caliber, and the Dolphins are looking to get over the hump, hoping to never return to the depths of the hideous 2007 season.

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