The Miami Dolphins will kick off their three-day veteran minicamp on Tuesday afternoon. But the local media has gotten a glimpse of this year’s team the past few weeks in organized team activities (OTAs).
One thing that sticks out is how quietly confident this year’s Dolphins are. Miami isn’t brash. But in talking to players -- especially Dolphins veterans who have been around several years -- it’s easy to see many players feel this is their best collection of talent in years.
You can count Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake among those who like the early makeup of this team.
“I probably could say this is the year I’ve noticed the most [optimism],” Wake said recently. “You look around the room with the guys, and everybody is hungry. Some guys are older and understand the game more and know what it takes to make that next step. Being so close, it’s really frustrating. It’s really frustrating for a lot of guys. But this year I feel like it’s time to make that next step.”
The Dolphins haven’t had a winning season since 2008. However, Miami has been on the cusp of getting over the hump and making the playoffs the past two seasons. The Dolphins went 8-8 the past two years and faltered in December, when good teams play their best football.
That is one primary reason Miami invested $114 million to land Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency. He gives the Dolphins a dominant game-breaker in the trenches who also establishes a tough identity on defense.
Wake has lined up next to Suh in practices and both are expected to have a big year.
"I’m definitely looking forward to it," Wake said. "Obviously, I’m not a guy who counts his chickens before they hatch. But we are already jelling and coming together. We can kind of read each other’s mind when we get out on the field. I think it’s going to be tremendous.”