Miami Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross dismissed the notion that the team was trying to tank this season to get a high draft pick.
Ross, whose team traded some of their best throughout the season from Laremy Tunsil to Kenyan Drake to Minkah Fitzpatrick, released a statement Monday defending their 5-11 season.
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“There were a lot of narratives this year about our approach that was incorrect. We objectively looked at things and determined that we were a long way from being a championship-caliber team and we needed to take a different approach,” Ross said in an interview published on the team’s website.
“We’ve been bottom 5 in point differential in the NFL 4 of the last 5 years, including 30th last year. So the idea that we made decisions to try to be bad on purpose is ridiculous. We were a team with an aging roster and the most dead salary cap money in the NFL. So we knew that we needed to build it from the ground up, and that’s what drove the decisions. A year later, we are now well-positioned to be a very good football team in the future. We have to keep working hard and we have to make good decisions.”
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Miami started the season seven straight losses, leading to criticism over how the organization was handling the season with the idea of getting a quarterback with a top draft pick.
However, the Dolphins somehow managed back-to-back victories over the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts and finished the season with an overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals and an almost imaginable victory on the road against the New England Patriots.
Ross praised Brian Flores for how he handled his first season as head coach.
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“Brian has proven to be what we were looking for and I believe we found the right head coach,” Ross said. “He is establishing an identity for this football team as a smart, tough, aggressive, disciplined team with players who play together and play for each other. He has high standards and holds people around him accountable and he is straightforward and consistent. I think we’ve gotten better as the season has gone on, so as long as we keep getting better, eventually, we will get where we want to be.”