Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Every year, they say that the real football season begins after Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving just a week away and the Miami Dolphins sitting at 6-4, they are starting to firmly establish their identity throughout the NFL. What is that exactly? Players and coaches talked about it this week.
“Sound, smart, tough football team," Joe Philbin said. "I told you, we’ve got our fundamentals of how we block, how we tackle, how we pursue, how we catch the ball, how we run with the ball. I want to see our team demonstrate those things, play with great effort. That’s what we preach every single day, that’s what we practice every single day that we’re out here. That has to show up on the film.”
Philbin, who said that he doesn't know if it will take 11 wins to make the playoffs, says that he doesn't look at the team as one that can win a certain amount of games. Instead, he and the players take one game at a time.
“Every single game we prepare the guys, I guess this is our 43rd game maybe that we are going into. We prepare to win every single game we play. I think our players believe they have an opportunity to win every game they play. I don’t know how to do it any other way. So I don’t have an arbitrary number assigned that this is this many win team or it’s not. I don’t know, that’s just the way I’ve always approached it.”
Mike Pouncey confirmed this when he said that he doesn't really look at the playoff standings. He noted that they all understand they have to take care of the division games and for the most part, if they do that, they'll be in the playoffs.
Another part of the team's identity is their improved offense. However, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor says they need more explosive plays and red zone touchdowns if they want to continue their recent success. The leader of the offense, Ryan Tannehill, has improved quite a bit since the beginning of the season and part of the reason is because of his improved confidence. Jarvis Landry put it best when he talked about the kind of player that Tannehill is.
“He’s outstanding. He’s on himself about every bad throw. He’s on himself about every good throw. I think, for us, him being so critical of himself allows us to be successful. But, at the same time, when he is critical, he also doesn’t let it weigh on him. I think that that is the biggest thing for him as a quarterback.”
The NFL playoffs are all about getting hot at the right time and the Dolphins can certainly put people on notice throughout the NFL if they continue their dominance on defense and their recent success on offense.