Days ahead of the Miami Dolphins' first game of the 2012 season, owner Stephen Ross is confident about his teams' prospects.
The Dolphins, losers of 10 games in 2011, are not expected to do much by the prognosticators (none of the 9 analysts asked by Sports Illustrated think Miami will make the playoffs). Ross does not share their pessimism.
"At this point, I'm optimistic that we will be competitive and make the playoffs," he told the Miami Herald this week.
"We are a very young team with a first-year head coach [Joe Philbin] and new coaching staff with a new philosophy and scheme," Ross continued. "They are developing the players' fundamentals and technique during this preseason, so it is not surprising they haven't stressed winning yet.
Ross concluded in the blandest way possible, saying, "I believe in this head coach and staff and am looking forward to the regular season, where winning will be emphasized."
Ross can be forgiven for being a little optimistic, being that he needs to sell tickets. But to expect a six-win team to improve its record drastically with a rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) and without last season's leading receiver (Brandon Marshall) is a bit much.
Meanwhile, former Dolphin Channing Crowder has not let his criticism of the team wane in the year since he was released by the team. He says Philbin "has got a lot of Cam Cameron in him," referring to the former Miami coach who led the Dolphins to a 1-15 record in 2007.
Saying he micro-manages too much, Crowder added, "They're worried about rat poop when elephant crap is everywhere."
Miami opens the regular season on Sunday with a trip to Houston to face the Texans, a 2011 playoff team. The Texans are favored by 12.5 points, by far the largest spread in Week 1.