The Miami Dolphins have been an enigma over the past decade. It always seems like they have the talent in place to make a run at the playoffs and perhaps the Super Bowl but they always fell short. Media and fans put the blame on coaching staffs, injuries, the quarterback, bad luck and more. Under the reign of Joe Philbin the past three years, the same has occurred. However, Mike Pouncey believes that the team has everything in place to be special.
“When you look at our football team, you look at our roster, you can tell we have a really good football team. But I’ve been on a lot of really good football teams and it takes more than just having a good roster. It takes chemistry. It takes for you to play for the guy right next to you, it takes for you to build this chemistry over time, over the offseason. I just can’t wait to get back in that locker room on Monday with the guys and see what we can do. I really think this year is going to be a special year for the Miami Dolphins.”
Part of the reason why Pouncey believes it’s going to be a special year is because they locked up one of the best, if not the best, defensive player in the NFL in Ndamukong Suh. With Suh now in the fold, Pouncey can’t wait to go up against him in practice.
“I can’t wait. I think he’s the best defensive player in the NFL. I had a chance to block him this year when we played them. At guard, you’re a lot one-on-one, you’re by yourself really, and he’s the best. I think he’s worth every dollar. One thing about him is that he make’s guys around him better. That’s what our defense needs.”
Another piece of that playoff puzzles include one of the most important jobs that Pouncey will now have, which is to anchor the offensive line that will work to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill. In the past three seasons, he has been sacked 139 times, with 93 of those coming the past two years. Pouncey knows that he, along with everyone else up front, needs to do a better job.
“We’re going to work our tails off this year to keep him up on his feet because, when we do that, we all know what he can do. He’s a really good football player, he’s really talented. He’s grown over his career, over the year in the NFL, and I think he’s ready to be that guy. We’ve got to help him out. It’s going to be all on us, but our offensive line group’s going to be really good. We’ve got a really good group of guys in that room. Last year was just the beginning of it, to what our offensive line can do. (I) can’t wait to see how it’s going to look this year.”
With another year of Ja’Wuan James, the expected emergence of Billy Turner and a healthy Branden Albert, the Dolphins offensive line looks primed to be one of the best in the NFL. With Pouncey moving back from the guard position to center, it makes it even more likely and Pouncey is excited to head back to the position he has played since his senior year in college.
“I can’t wait. I’ve always felt like center was my natural position. I feel like I’m one of the best centers in the league when I’m playing at the top of my game. I just can’t wait. Playing guard last year really made me appreciate what center does. I never really appreciated the guys that much at guard, but, man, when you go out there and you’ve got to play that position, it’s tough. It made me look at the game a lot different, but I just can’t wait to go back. I feel like center’s just always been my natural position as a leader. I like to go out there. I like to be the guy that sets everything up and I just can’t wait.”
That work will begin on Monday, April 20 with the first phase of offseason workouts and Pouncey is looking forward to getting started with the 2015 season.
“Now that it’s over with, I can only look forward. I’m happy. I think our football team has a really bright future. I think it’s headed in the right direction and I’m just happy to be a piece of the puzzle.”
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
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