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What They're Saying

Time to take a look at what some people are saying about our Miami Dolphins.

Armando Salguero recently wrote an article that talks a little bit about why he thinks the Dolphins could reach the playoffs this season.  Here are some excerpts:

Coach Cam Cameron's crew opened training camp Saturday under no pretenses of being a playoff contender, much less a Super Bowl or division title challenger.

Even some of the team's veterans who previously have been sucked into a rosier-than-reality view of the team during past training camps are resisting that temptation this year.

''We had expectations even early in my career, and we always flopped,'' Zach Thomas said Saturday as the kickoff to his 12th NFL season began. ``So I don't buy into all that stuff anymore.
It has indeed been tough as Miami transitioned from having the highest winning percentage of any professional sports franchise since the 1970 NFL merger, to being one of only five teams -- along with Arizona, Detroit, Houston and Buffalo -- not to make the playoffs since 2001.

But this year could be the breakthrough season.


No, seriously.

''As opposed to last year when everybody said we were going to the Super Bowl because we had Daunte Culpepper at quarterback, this year people aren't really counting on us,'' defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said. ``The expectations have changed. They're not really looking for us to be a good team.

``When that happens, a lot of people underestimate you. But we still have the talent in this room to make a run. I believe that. Now, I know this time of year everyone believes that. But having played on some teams, I think we have an opportunity to surprise and shock a lot of people.''


Salguero goes on to talk about why he agrees with Vonnie Holliday.  The first point he brings up is the defense, which Channing Crowder believes got better:

''We didn't change much on defense,'' linebacker Channing Crowder said. ``We traded out Kevin Carter for Joey Porter, so maybe we got better.''

I can't argue with that.  I expect big, big things from this defensive unit.  And, like Salguero, I also expect much better play from the offense (couldn't get any worse, really).  For once, this team has an offensive-minded head coach who is innovative and knows how to really get the most out of the offense's talent.  And for the first time in quite some time, I'm actually confident in who this team's quarterback is (Green), as well as who will be the QB in the future (Beck).

Salguero also points out the fact that the Dolphins are likely keeping a close eye on how the Pete Kendall situation is playing out in New York.  Like many of you, I do think that, should Kendall get out of NY, the Dolphins would act quickly on getting him in, providing experience and solid run blocking to an offensive line loaded with questions.

But right now, Salguero believes the most important first step is a successful training camp:

Right now the Dolphins are simply trying to rehabilitate their reputation, and the first step to doing that is a successful training camp.

And what will make this a successful camp, you ask?

''If,'' Holliday said, ``in January we're in the playoffs.''

It could happen.

I concur!  Right now, we all just got to believe!

Barry Jackson had a good article in Sunday's Miami Herald that talked about what it is that makes Cam Cameron's offense so effective.  Here's some of what was said:

-Cameron's greatest strength as a play-caller? ''He knows how to counter any defense,'' Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. ''He made our offense so explosive by creating match-up problems. He forces people to play the way they don't want to play, forces you to put a linebacker on a receiver. Miami's offense is definitely going to be better.'' (Cameron will call the plays this season.)

-Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer, a former player and assistant coach, said ''the beautiful thing about'' Cameron's offense ``is its flexibility -- its multiple personnel groupings and formations. It's as much shifting and movement as any team, and great coaches do that. That creates confusion. Defenses are calling signals and often that communication breaks down and you've got guys running free.''

-Look for Cameron to experiment with creative sets, Bauer said. In San Diego, Bauer said he used five receivers at times and surprised people by passing out of one set featuring three tight ends, a running back and a fullback. Chris Chambers is pleased he'll line up in the slot at times, unlike last year. ''Expect the unexpected -- reverse passes, halfback passes, throwbacks to the quarterback,'' Bauer said. 'You'll see something and say, `I can't believe he did that.' It makes defenses tentative.''

-Chambers complained one year about not being able to adjust his route during a play. Cameron's system allows that at times, Green said. ''If you're running a 12-yard comeback, that will be run three or four ways depending on how the defensive back is playing,'' Bauer said. ``It's impossible to stop.''

I think that this year's offense is going to be the most fun to watch since the Marino days.  Besides adding a ton of speed (Lorenzo Booker and Ted Ginn), Cameron's offense is very creative.  No matter what, he always finds a way to create mismatches and capitilize on his offense's strengths.  Moving Chambers around, especially into the slot, will certainly increase his productivity.  And Ronnie Brown's productivity is likely to go up as well, as he'll likely see more handoffs as well as more passes thrown his way.

And don't forget about Lorenzo Booker.  In fact, Channing Crowder thinks that Booker will have a big impact on this offense:

Channing Crowder said coaches installed a package, including draws and screens, to seize on Lorenzo Booker's quickness and predicts ''Lorenzo will have a big impact earlier than Ted Ginn.''

That's right, Dolphin fans.  For the first time in a while, we are going to be watching an innovative, efficient offense that should actually put points on the board.  It's been a while since we've seen this, so be sure to soak it all in.