MIAMI – As we approach the halfway point of the 2022 calendar year, it is time to take inventory of our local sports teams.
Three are in their offseason.
The Marlins are currently playing and it looks like it will be a typical campaign prompting the players to hold a team meeting this week.
The Marlins won 12-2 Tuesday night.
The NFL approaches its dead period from the end of OTA’s until training camp in late July.
The Dolphins finished their offseason workouts that were open to the media.
While it is difficult to predict anything firm off those practices a picture is being painted.
That picture shows an energetic, optimistic team led by optimistic young head coach Mike McDaniel.
The players love McDaniel and numerous comments prove he will fulfill one of his mission statements; put players in the best positions to be successful.
There is certainly more talent and play-making ability on offense and the defense looks confident with its continuity in both players and coaches.
The Dolphins start playing preseason games in 8 weeks.
It will be interesting to see how the new coach handles starters playing time with a new offensive scheme, coaches, and players.
After 2 straight years of missing the playoffs in the final game of the regular season, there is optimism and expectations of making the postseason this year.
The defense will need to play at the high level it knows it can from the start of the season.
While McDaniel, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the new offensive additions will need to mesh into an explosive and productive unit.
It will be fascinating to watch starting with Day 1 of training camp.
As always, the Miami Heat’s mantra is, “If you don’t win the championship, the season is a failure.”
As the number one seed, they came painfully close to reaching the NBA Finals, but came up short, literally on Jimmy Butler’s shot, in Game 7 at home against the Boston Celtics.
So, Pat Riley spoke after the season and the 77-year-old legend was as fiery as ever.
Riley indirectly challenged the media to a push-up contest claiming he could do more.
That is no surprise from Riles, the ultimate competitor.
The bottom line, Riley must decide if this team’s current roster, with Butler carrying a major share of the load, can win it all next year.
If the answer is no, you know the Heat will do what they can to try and win that ring.
This is the most intriguing team because the Panthers have jumped into the Heat’s territory.
They are now in the same boat, trying to win at all.
After 2 consecutive excellent regular seasons, and finishing first overall this season, the Panthers now need to figure out what it will take to get over the hump and win a Stanley Cup.
The progression has been very NHL-like.
It takes time to break through.
They won a round for the first time in 26 years and have now reached the Stanley Cup playoffs two years in a row.
The Panthers have elevated from a team on the outside looking in, and finishing first overall this season.
After 2 straight playoff exits at the hands of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, it is now up to general manager Bill Zito and the team’s higher-ups to put together what is needed to beat those top teams when it counts, in the playoffs.
Many decisions loom this offseason starting with who will coach the team.