Trivial pursuit: Why Dolphins have struggled to compete in AFC

The Miami Dolphins have generally struggled to compete in the 21st Century. A stat that emerged after the team signed Jay Cutler points to why.

Making the assumption that Cutler will start at least one game, he will be the team’s 18th different starter since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season. That puts the Dolphins in similar company to a team no NFL franchise wants to be compared to — the Cleveland Browns.

Not coincidentally, Miami has notched only one playoff win in that period, making the playoffs only four times.

What makes this stat even crazier is that unlike the Browns, the Dolphins have had relative stability at the quarterback position recently.

Prior to his most recent injury, Ryan Tannehill had been under center for all but three games since getting drafted in 2012. Matt Moore started each of the other three games, all of which came in 2016. By comparison, Cleveland has had 10 different starting quarterbacks since 2012.

Miami can take some solace in the fact that, while it’s had the second most starting quarterbacks since 2000, it’s a distant second. In that same period, the Browns have started 25 different quarterbacks. Unless Cody Kessler starts all 16 games in 2017 (which isn’t a good bet), that number will only increase.

So, the Dolphins have had less stability under center than any team but the Browns, but they’re a long way from reaching Cleveland’s level of despair.