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Why have Florida teams forgotten how to play NFL Football?

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This is the state of Don Shula.

Dan Marino played here. Lee Roy Selmon. And Tony Boselli. Larry Csonka. Derrick Brooks. Maurice Jones-Drew.

The Dolphins won Super Bowls. The Bucs won a Super Bowl. Hall of Famers stopped by. Over the years, this state has figured out a thing or two about pro football.

Why, then, can’t anyone play it anymore?

The Dolphins are 1-2 and in last place in the AFC East. They’re coming off a 41-14 loss to Buffalo. The Jaguars are 1-2 and, by tiebreaker, in last place in the AFC South. They’re coming off a 51-17 pasting by New England. The Bucs are 1-2 and in third place, held upright by only the winless New Orleans Saints. They’re coming off a 19-9 loss to a previously winless Houston team. That’s 3-6, coming off losses that add up to 111-40.

In other words, ouch.

Look at the NFL Hot Seat Rankings. Joe Philbin is No. 2, Gus Bradley is No. 6 and Lovie Smith, the safe one, is No. 8.

The Dolphins have the 18th-best offense in the NFL, and the other teams are jealous. Jacksonville is 24th. The Bucs are 26th. In quarterback rating, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is 23rd, Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles is 33rd and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston is 34th.

Defensively, the Bucs are 16th. Jacksonville is 22nd and Miami 26th.

This week, Miami plays Sunday night against the Jets, the Jags play the Colts and the Bucs are home against Carolina.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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