With seven full days of the Miami Dolphins' 2010 training camp on the books, there has been much to process and absorb in the way of new information.
Fans are getting quite a bit of insight from Tony Sparano's daily press reports, and headlines have certainly been outlining each significant aspect of camp, but what interests me most is getting to see the players interact with the media. This gives us a perfect opportunity to evaluate each guy's mindset, which we all know is a vital aspect of any player's field-readiness.
I combed over player interviews of the past week and found quite a few key statements that I felt best reflected the overall state of mind in Davie, Florida.
"I love the support of the fans and the community and I am going to do my best to do right by them.”
This is my favorite Brandon Marshall quote thus far by a wide margin. One of the main things the media has done over the course of his career is paint Marshall in a light that makes him seem like someone who is only out for personal gain. From the moment he stepped off of the plane from Denver, he has expressed his desire to embed himself in the community; the more I see of the new Brandon Marshall, the more I start to believe that the old Brandon Marshall is gone.
A community leader, and modest to boot? When someone asked him if he thought the fans had only come out to camp to watch him, he took it as an opportunity to boost not himself, but his teammates:
"No, not at all, not at all. Jake Long, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams—Bess, I heard one guy say, ‘absolutely D. Bess.’ I love that."
If Marshall hasn't turned over a new leaf, he sure is doing a great job of fooling me into believing otherwise.
It's tough not to like Chad Henne. Though he may be a bit soft-spoken at times and does not exactly look at home in front of the camera, it's clear that he is doing everything he can do to improve himself and his team.
Most of his responses seem conditioned, and understandably so, but there was one snippet in particular that caught my attention and seemed like a genuine sentiment.
"We were away all summer, we were away from each other for six weeks, and coming together and having the camaraderie with our teammates is the most important thing right now."
The reason I immediately took notice of this quote was because it illustrated perfectly, Chad's comprehension of one key aspect of fielding a winning team. Chemistry. Not all players at his age fully understand that all championship teams have something in common: seamless cohesion and a one-minded, selfless approach to playing the game.
He knows it's his job to bring the team together as one and command the unit as a whole. While not an outwardly emotional leader, I suspect Chad's passion for the game is boiling just beneath the surface.
Channing Crowder is as vocal as ever, and I think he knows that it's going to be on him to become a more of a playmaker on the Dolphins' D. He seemed excited to talk about Mike Nolan's defensive philosophy and about how much working with newcomer Karlos Dansby is helping him to prepare for the season.
But perhaps the best insight he offered into what fans can expect from the defense in 2010 was in his evaluation of rookie Koa Misi and the level of heart he brings to the team.
"Misi will hit anything. Misi will run into a brick wall." Crowder said, grinning from ear to ear. "He'll run in there and hit guards, whatever. Donald Thomas pulls around the edge and he just runs in there full-tilt and just hits him helmet-to-helmet. So yeah, Misi brings it."
It's up to Crowder to play a more active role on defense now that he is one of the senior players on the squad, and hopefully his help in cultivating the team's new defensive talents is a preview of things to come.
Perhaps the most inspirational quote so far this summer in Dolphins' camp came from number three running back Patrick Cobbs. Knowing that his time in the backfield may still be greatly limited by the Ricky & Ronnie Show, he appears ready to aid the Dolphins in any way possible.
"Anything I can do to help out, I'm willing to do it. You know me, there isn't any job too big or small for me."
For a great competitor like Cobbs to accept such a support role with selflessness and grace is a rarity, especially for someone with his abilities.
Humility has certainly been a theme of Dolphins' camp 2010, and Patrick Cobbs exhibits that all-important quality in spades.
If all of the media coverage coming out of camp in Davie isn't causing you unbelievable anxiousness for the season to begin, there may be something very wrong with you.
All of the players' attitudes seem to be in the right place, with a team-mentality saturating the group. If the Dolphins enjoy success this year, they will do so as one.
The board is set, and all of the pieces are in place. Are the 2010 Dolphins a team bound for the Super Bowl?
Just ask Randy Starks: "I think we have a Super Bowl team, now we have to go out there for 28 weeks and just prove it."
It's as "simple" as that. Just prove it.
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