Mike Pouncey is the latest Miami Dolphins player to make a bold statement regarding the teams offense. “I think the Dolphins offense can be ‘great”, he told NFL Total Access. This comes on the heels of Brian Hartline‘s statement that the Dolphins have the best WR corp in the AFC East. While some in the media want to blow this up as overconfidence, to put each comment into real prospective you have to look at the context. In both cases the players were asked about the teams offensive potential.
You can’t ask a player what he thinks about new additions to his team and expect them to say “yeah, we still suck”. Doesn’t work that way. It would have been more of a news story had Pouncey said, “you know, our offense really is going to be fantastically mediocre”. Ummmm, yeah. The reality is that the season doesn’t begin until September but there are players who are opening up their mouths now, or so it would seem.
The reality is that it’s actually a nice change of pace for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since Tony Sparano’s “Wild” rookie season as a head coach. In fact the team hasn’t been above .500 in that span either. There hasn’t been a whole lot of positives in Miami outside of “hope”. Miami fans lauded the Nick Saban hiring. See how that turned out. They lauded the addition of a top offensive minded HC. Yeah, Cam Cameron couldn’t. Parcells? Please. There are a lot bigger fish off the Florida coast.
This is not to say that Joe Philbin is the next savior of the Dolphins. He wasn’t however receiving standing ovations from fans when he was chosen. For one he was chosen by Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross. Two team members not exactly gleaming with fan support at the time. Philbin was viewed more as the fallback option to not landing Jeff Fisher. Yet for some reason, last years sub-.500 season has won him more fans. Philbin is becoming the Dolphins most popular head coach in almost a decade. He will if he turns the team into a winning product.
The pieces have been put into place to make a run. It’s an uphill run but at least it’s a run. Philbin will have to lead these new players and see to them coming together as a team. Positive thinking and positive attitudes are the first steps. While it’s too early to “toot any horns” the reality is that the players are seeing the same thing that the fans are. That the Dolphins want to win and need to win. They are not simply going through the motions and accepting that as a reality. They are talking and more importantly they are believing. They are actually expecting this team to be better.
They will need to do more than believe it come September. They will need to prove it.
Some fans see these comments as bulletin board material for their opponents but it’s not like the games will be played next week. Time has a way. The reality is that they need something to rally behind. If opening their mouth gives them the incentives to go out and play harder and not accept losing as part of the game, then the gap between ready and hoping to be ready has gotten smaller. Let’s also realize this. For the first time, there are monumental changes on both sides of the ball and that alone should get you jacked up. If the fans can be excited about the additional changes and increase in talent, then surely the players should be excited as well. Apparently they are.