In our first installment of Around the AFC East, we talk with Matty I from The Phinsider , SBNation's fine Miami Dolphins blog. There's lots going on in FL and I chat with Matty about HC Sparano's early impact.
New Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano had some positive things to say about the past few weeks of OTAs, but these events can be as much about the coaches as the players. It may be too early to tell, but has Sparano shown signs of good things to come?
The Phinsider : Oh god, do I hope so!
But seriously, there has been a lot written recently about the differences between the new regime and last year's "Cam Cam Crew," which was an utter disaster. And that's exactly what this franchise needed: a complete culture change. The best part, though, is that the players seem to really be taking a liking to Tony Sparano and enjoy the newer, tougher atmosphere in Davie, Florida right now. Says Yeremiah Bell, "[the new coaches] are more serious, more to the point than last year's. Sparano will get in your face if he has to. We needed that. Last year, guys were taking it light because they knew nobody would jump in our face and say anything. Coach Cameron wasn't passionate or adamant about [making points]. This year, they're very adamant, even if they have to yell."
Even the outspoken Joey Porter likes the way Sparano and company do business. Says Porter, "The whole mentality around here has changed. We brought some coaches in here that are not going to settle for less. The whole mindset around here has already changed from what I came into here last year. The guys' effort they're putting in now, the way they walk around here is totally different." Porter adds, "These coaches are not accepting just anything. Coaches now demand a whole lot out of you. They don't accept anything but your best. And even in OTAs, they're not accepting 50 percent or 75 percent of your effort. They want 100 percent."
Just these 2 quotes alone tell you a lot about how poorly things were ran behind the scenes last year. This year, everything is different and I think that's why, despite coming off of a 1-15 season, many Dolphin fans are hopeful about the future. The new coaching staff, led by Tony Sparano, just seems to "get it," while the old staff didn't seem to have a clue.
Just listening to the Dolphins players, it seems like there's a new regime in town and they're forcing everyone to step up and perform. It's that culture of a winning attitude and work ethic that creates winners. Cam Cameron was a disaster. You need to get in players's faces to make them work. Tiptoeing around won't do it; this is football, not ballet. I think Matty I is right on with his answer and you can tell he feels a confidence level that wasn't there before. I predict the Dolphins will be a .500 team this year and will keep getting stronger. Look out.
Head over to The Phinsider to see my answers on our WR situation.