THIS IS WHAT TANKING LOOKS LIKE


The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks in 2020, including the Steelers’. They shed almost all their respectable players in an attempt to get the first choice overall, projected as Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Conflicting with that severe rebuild is the Dolphins trading two great young players; Former first-round picks Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 22-year-old safety, and Laremy Tunsil, a 25-year-old tackle. Fitzpatrick, of course, is now a Steeler. Rebuilding is aided, not damaged, by keeping proven young talent.

Miami also seems to already have its QB of the future in Josh Rosen, 22, Arizona’s first-round pick in 2018. Rosen was acquired from the Cardinals at the 2019 draft.

The Dolphins also have two first-round picks in 2021. So they are banking on the future big-time, and trying to maximize return by tanking.

That was evident when the Dolphins tried a two-point conversion with six seconds left on the clock in their 17-16 home loss to Washington yesterday. Both teams entered the game winless.

If Miami converts, it wins. As a precaution against that, a terrible play was called. It looked like a bubble screen, but without much screen. At any rate, the execution of the blockers doesn’t matter when you drop the ball.

When a team tanks, the players don’t try to lose.

Management and coaching do. They assemble a terrible roster, and put those players in a position to fail, not succeed.

It worked for the Penguins in 1984 when they tanked to draft Mario Lemieux. That play by Miami reminded me of when goaltender Roberto Romano won three straight games for those Penguins, so he got sent to the minors. He was replaced by Vincent Tremblay, who went 0-4 with a goals-against average of 6.02.

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