At a season ticket holder gathering I attended back in June, Jason Taylor discussed his first couple of years with the Dolphins, which involved his training camp battles with former Dolphins great Richmond Webb.
I had to go against Richmond Webb, who does not get anywhere near as much credit as he deserves. Richmond Webb, beat my you-know-what everyday. It was so smooth and easy for him and I’d be trying and sweating and frustrated and yelling and cussing at him and trying to fight him and grab his facemask and, he seriously would do it with a smile on his face, and I would get frustrated sometimes. Tim Bowens and Trace [Armstrong] and some of those guys would tell me, ‘look, he’s going to make you so much better because you play against him every day in practice.
The rest, of course, is history in regards to the Hall of Fame career of JT. So what does this have to do with Ja'Wuan James?
James is matched up against Cameron Wake in training camp, and he can already see the long-term benefits of this pairing, just as Taylor came to see the benefit of his battles against Webb. James would tell James Walker of ESPN.com about his battles with Wake:
I love it because I’m a competitor. He’s a great player and he’s going to get me better. As long as I keep going as hard as I can against him, these constant reps we have, it’s going to get me ready for what I’m going to see in the season.
It will be a rare occurrence when James faces a pass-rusher the caliber of Cameron Wake during the season, so if James can hold his own against Wake, it should be a good sign for Miami.
So far, the results are mixed. On day one of training camp, James allowed two sacks to Wake, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Only eight days and seven practices later during the Dolphins scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald would report that neither James nor the rest of the offensive line allowed a sack.
That's progress that can get you excited about a player, and it shows the strides that Miami's new King James has made over the course of camp.