MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While the NFL season brings all the fun and excitement that football fans crave, the offseason is never anything close to dull.
The Miami Dolphins have certainly kept busy since their season ended, working hard to solidify a roster that won 10 games and earned a trip to the playoffs in 2016. It was the team’s first postseason appearance since 2008.
A lot of the credit for Miami’s turnaround has gone to head coach Adam Gase, and rightly so.
He’s created a winning, hard-working culture that hadn’t been seen around the Dolphins since the turn of the century.
One Dolphins player who is certainly embracing everything Gase is offering is wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Already one of the emotional leaders on the team, Landry is learning how to toe the line between just enough and too much.
Currently, Landry is part of an annual NFL UK tour that is moving through a handful of cities in the United Kingdom in order to promote the game overseas.
Also traveling with Landry is Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, as well as Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King.
While the group was speaking to a collection of fans in London on Monday night, Landry made a bold statement that has caught the attention of many around the league.
He told the audience that the Dolphins would be the New England Patriots twice in 2017.
Yes, that’s bold. But it’s also been done before by other players on other teams, generally to no avail because well, the Patriots are the Patriots.
He added that achieving the feat while Pats QB Tom Brady was still in his prime (which in itself is bold statement considering Brady is pushing 40 years old) would only add to its satisfaction.
That isn’t saying Brady isn’t playing well, but generally an athletes prime comes between the ages of 26 and 32.
Getting back to Landry’s comments, King points out that the Dolphins wideout had no ounce of disrespect towards New England.
Landry is simply very confident in his team, and wants people to know how he feels.
“If you’re a competitor, that’s the way you should feel, and I don’t mind saying it,” Landry told King. “It’s time for a change. I have all the respect in the world for the Patriots, and I respect Tom Brady tremendously. But they’re not our big brother anymore.”
Since winning the Super Bowl in 2001, the Patriots have only lost the AFC East twice. They’ve also won another four championships since then.
The Dolphins lost both games to the Patriots in 2016 after splitting the season series in the previous three years.
As for why Landry was so comfortable and confident, he attributes that to one person.
“Coach Gase,” Landry said. “He’s flipped the switch with us. New England’s won the division 14 of the last 16 years, something like that? It’s ridiculous. It’s a problem. We cannot let that happen anymore.”
Landry is entering his fourth season with the Dolphins and is coming off of back-to-back 1,000 yard campaigns.
In just three years he’s already compiled 288 receptions for 3,051 yards and 13 touchdowns, staggering stats for any receiver in his first few seasons in the NFL.
If one year together is any indication, it seems that Landry and Gase are two peas in a pod.
The pair could help take a team that has been mired in mediocracy for the better part of two decades back to the perennial title contenders that the Dolphins were known as for years and years.
“I love playing in Miami. I want to play my career there,” Landry said. “When I was 8, 9 years old, playing with 14, 15-year-olds, I didn’t care how old they were, I just grew to hate second place. Losing, sometimes I need to just get lost after a game because it hurts so much. I just live for winning. If we sat down right now and played Connect Four, I’d be pissed off if you beat me. It’s in me. It’s a still a hill to climb with New England, but we need to expect to win. That’s it.”