The last time the Dolphins made the playoffs, Brett Favre was a Jet, SpyGate was still fresh in everyone’s minds, and Barack Obama had just become the 44th president of the United States.
In other words, it’s been a long time. Too long if you ask those close to the team.
“We want to win. That’s what we’re all here for,” Dolphins first-year general manager Dennis Hickey said, via the Associated Press. “We’re really excited about this team and what they’re going to be able to accomplish.”
On Friday, the Dolphins’ training camp officially kicked off, the first step in potentially erasing their postseason demons of seasons past. Center Mike Pouncey believes it’s a step in the right direction.
“Coach Philbin and Mr. Ross have done a bunch of things to change that,” Pouncey said of the Fins’ culture. “Right now we’re heading in the right direction. Everyone has bought into the way we want it done around here.”
Every team is chock full of optimism in late July, before any games are played and contenders are separated from pretenders. Miami’s particular brand of optimism has the bar set at its highest point since 2008.
“We want to play deep into January and February,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Our goal is to win the division and play in the playoffs. Anything less than that is not up to our standards.”
If there’s a time to preach unbridled sunshine and hope, it’s now. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn’t let the opportunity pass by.
“I don’t think I start any season without wanting to make the playoffs,” Ross said. “If you don’t have those expectations, you shouldn’t be in the game. You own a team because you want to create a winner.”
The clock is — and has been — ticking.
(Photo credit: MiamiDolphins.com)
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