The Miami Dolphins created a motto last year that exemplified exactly what the Miami Dolphins want to show the rest of the NFL: That teams are stronger when they're together. Chemistry, teamwork, backing each other up, all of those things are part of what makes a Super Bowl winning team.
For the Dolphins, the most powerful unit on the team is arguably their defensive line, with the likes of Pro Bowlers Cameron Wake and newcomer Ndamukong Suh headlining the unit. The sometimes underrated and forgotten member of that line is defensive end Olivier Vernon, who a couple of years back, actually led the Dolphins in sacks with 11.5.
Now with Suh and Wake eating up double teams, and up and coming players such as Jordan Phillips showing his potential, Vernon is excited about what lies ahead for the team, and knows that the training camps are going to be crucial in helping the line come together as a true unit.
"This is what we've been waiting for, for training camp to get back in pads, that's when you really see how things start working together." Vernon said after Saturday's practice. "We're only gonna be as good as our unit takes us, and we gotta play like a unit as well. As far as everybody getting on board, I'm excited for this year."
The former Miami Hurricane joined the Dolphins after being drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, and ever since his rookie year, Vernon has been steadily improving, and he isn't yet satisfied with where he's currently at.
"As far as a defensive end, I wanna be better overall. My pass rushing, my run stopping, and my knowledge of the game, wanna boost up my IQ." Vernon said. "That's what you try to do when you wanna learn the different offenses that you have to face every year, and obviously we've got a lot of good teams that we've gotta go against this year in order to get to where we wanna get to."
Last season, Vernon managed to rack up 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks, as well as forcing 2 fumbles. Now with the addition of All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, that number is expected to jump.
"He puts a lot of work out." Vernon said of Suh. "There's a reason why he's one of the top at his position. He puts it in on the field, inside in the meeting rooms, in the weight room, he's an all-around world-class kind of dude."
Vernon is in a contract year, and the size of the contract he gets will have a lot to do with his performance, and with the power on display all along the defensive line, there's no doubt that everyone on that unit will be making a significant impact once the season. This does however leave one question unanswered.
Do Vernon, Wake and Suh have a bet going on who'll get the first sack when the regular season begins?
Vernon's answer: "No, but I'll bring that up."
It'll be interesting to see who wins.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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