The lockout is over. A new collective bargaining agreement has put the helmets back on the player’s heads and the cleats in the grass. As soon as the hands were shaken, players made for some new homes. The Eagles picked up the best cornerback in the game (Asomugha) as well as Vince Young and our own Ronnie Brown to back up Vick and McCoy. They’re contenders, I’d call them a lock but I believe the team’s about as cursed as the Madden cover.  Regardless of how my Dolphins do, I’m glad to see Football happening. It does wonders for local economies and gives Sundays in September a sense of purpose– for what it’s worth. In my opinion the only thing about the NFL that should be still be locked out is Faith Hill and that godawful song that opens Sunday Night Football on NBC.

Preseason is happening. Chad and Matt are taking snaps. Reggie Bush is our new star under the lights on Sun Life with fellow rookie running back Daniel Thomas showing strength and something to prove. And don’t count out Lex Hilliard who sat in the shadows of injury while the Rickie and Ronnie express rolled on the yards. But then again it’s still preseason. It’s just the preseason. And with the additions of the Jets and Patriots, the Dolphins on paper are looking like a DeviantArt piece with noticeable errors wishing and begging to be stolen by Chad LOVE.

Sure, watching Tim Tebow run around a little alongside other backup QBs is fun to watch. But the preseason can be deceiving. For one reason only, it doesn’t count. Honestly, I haven’t changed the channel from Bravo to ESPN yet. The Dolphins are just in a bad place at a bad time. The Millionaire Matchmaker has a better chance of getting herself a man than the Fins do of getting that division. But that doesn’t mean the season is lost or that you shouldn’t give your home team a chance. Though it may really suck if the Dolphins miss the playoffs and the Heat stay locked out.  We have Jason Taylor back and though he’s old and a dumbass traitor for going to New York last year, his heart has always bled teal and orange. He is deserving of a farewell tour down here for all the things he’s done for us. Like those few games in 2007 and 2008 when he was our leading offensive player as a defensive end.

The Dolphins have had some bad years. And while I don’t really see Reggie Bush, Thomas and a healthy Hilliard as upgrades to the Rickie and Ronnie express, the latter was showing wear and tear and it’s probably the best to part ways. It’s just that Miami was a time-of-possession team with 2 receivers on the field at a time. Reggie Bush flourished with 5 wides. Not to mention Bush hasn’t played a full season in the best of health since his rookie year when he still had that Heisman. Maybe alongside with Marshall, Davone Bess’ improved play, and a damn good O-line the field may spread a little bit. But it will also involve improved decision making from Chad Henne.

Look, don’t expect the Fins to have a perfect year. It’s not going to be Cam Cameron-bad, but there will be growing pains. Embrace them. This is a team that will grow as players, and we should adapt and grow to as fans. And you know with all the drama and slumps the Marlins have put on year after year, the overhyped Biscayne Boulevard-parading Miami Heat showing off championship rings they have yet to win, and The Miami Hurricanes facing unimaginable NCAA penalties stemming from the ownership of Nevin Shapiro (of course they didn’t know of his actions…they only named the student lounge at the University after him and put his private suite right next to the school’s president–who was also pictured accepting a $50,000 check of his ponzi money at some tricked out bowling alley at the Dolphin Mall). Maybe a young, humble, and hard-working unit of athletes giving it their all for better or worse might be something this city needs.

I want to be wrong. I want this team to surprise me. It happened in 2008. On a fine Monday morning, a day after the pathetic Patriot fans saw their first loss in Gillette Stadium in over a full season. I remember watching that game from my old sports desk when I was doing the sportswriter gig full-time. I wrote this in my personal notebook.

The Dolphins won yesterday. Good for them. I’m proud of this team. I still remember the first win of the season over the Patriots. The Quarterback Chad Pennington lined up as a wide receiver with Ronnie Brown calling for the snaps with Ricky Williams at his side. The offensive line gathered in unbalanced fashion and everyone. I mean everyone.
We at the office watching the game and recording statistics.
The broadcasters.
The Patriots.
And all Dolphin fans.
Were just saying all saying, “w…t…f?”
Ronnie Brown took a few draws and then threw a deep bomb to Ricky for a touchdown.

We described the victory as Tony Sparano busting out the “high-school playbook” but as time passed they disclosed that it was an offensive set known as “the wildcat formation.” The Wildcat isn’t the perfect formation, but it does shake things up. Even if the ‘Fins don’t make the playoffs, I think that making the wildcat cool in made the season memorable as is.

Of course the Wildcat got old and eventually had to be put down. I honestly don’t see it operating with Henne/Thomas/Bush/Hilliard/Marshall. But it was a moment watching it dismantle New England’s defense from tackles-to-safeties. And that’s all I’m honestly asking for. I just want a moment. Damnit Dolphins… give me something to remember.