For the Miami Dolphins players, they have become well acquainted with the heart break that comes with being close to making a playoff appearance and then having it ripped away by a failure to execute or having their fate in the hands of other teams.
As a result, there have been several criticisms aimed at the team - most notably quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin - about their inability to make it to the playoffs. While it's easy to blame the quarterback and coach, and that's often what's done in these situations, sometimes the truth is that the other factors on the team are more to blame than them.
So this offseason, the Miami Dolphins went out of their way to overhaul the wide receiver and defensive line units, which was the source of the most of the Miami Dolphins late season woes. Now, with new players who fit the style of the offense and defense, the team has gotten through their workouts and started showing their overall improvements.
“I am excited. I feel great about our progress that we made this spring." quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "I feel that every day we got better and learned something. I like the guys and players that we have. I am excited for training camp so that we can continue to hone our craft and continue to build our chemistry.”
Chemistry is definitely a big aspect of this season, as the Dolphins removed a lot of players who were not only expensive, but also seemed to cause a lot of trouble in the locker room vocalizing their negativity. Now, the team seems united and are actually enjoying working together.
"We definitely have fun. Our chemistry is great at this point for only being together for six weeks, eight weeks or whatever it is." Tannehill said. "I feel like we are in a great spot right now and it is only going to continue to get better the more time we are together.”
But it isn't just chemistry that the Dolphins are after, what they're looking for is a playoff run and ultimately a championship. Being on the edge of the playoffs for three years will do that to a team, and the Dolphins are no exception. They want to win, and they have no problems saying so.
“I think this team is hungry. I think we are hungry to win a championship. I know those things aren’t done overnight, but the way we have finished the last three years kind of has a lot of guys fire inside and that is exciting for me to see everyone just excited to get to camp, get to games and win games." Tannehill said. "The pieces we have added, veteran guys – (Ndamukong) Suh, Greg Jennings and some other guys, along with the young guys we have added, we have a plethora of different options to attack people.”
The Dolphins have done just about everything they can to create a top-five defense, and they've surrounded Ryan Tannehill with weapons that are well-suited to his skill set. Now the last step is to make it all come together and get to the playoffs, and the team is determined to not let what's happened the last three years happen again.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater