Dolphins Wrap Up Minicamp, Focus Shifts To Upcoming Season

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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their three day minicamp on Thursday at the team’s practice facility in Davie.

It was the final practice for the Dolphins before they go on their five week break, which lasts until training camp next opens month.

With the offseason program now complete, the focus shifts to the upcoming season.

Miami is coming off its first 10 win season and playoff appearance since 2008 and expectations are high, at least within the organization, that they can maintain their success this time around.

Vegas oddsmakers and NFL media ‘experts’ don’t seem to have the same confidence in the Dolphins, at least not yet.

Head coach Adam Gase and his staff has a lot to do with the growing confidence inside the locker room as there has been a clear shift in culture around the Dolphins.

As for Thursday’s final minicamp practice, it wasn’t as exciting as some hoped.

Traditionally the team has done a scrimmage at the end of the offseason program but that didn’t happen.

Instead, it appeared the goal was to coast into the break without any injuries.

In addition to Gase, defensive end Cameron Wake and running back Damien Williams spoke to the media.

Wake’s appearance was interesting because it was the first time he’s spoken to reporters since January.

Among other things, he was asked about Gase’s quotes from Wednesday in which he admitted to mishandling Wake’s playing time during the first several weeks of last season.

Here are the best quotes from each:

CAMERON WAKE

“Well, we’re all human, right? We all make mistakes. Players make them on the field. Coaches make them off the field. As a man in this game, you’ve got to be able to admit when that happens. I think there are probably other coaches who don’t do that and obviously with [Gase] being a different kind of guy, I think that’s part of the reason why guys respect him, why guys relate to him and why guys love him.”

“I spoke about [comparing Gase to past coaches] when he first got here. To start off with, just being younger. He knows how it feels to kind of be the young guy in the situation with responsibilities and also still having a little bit of that fire to go and do some things that may not help as far as your career – coaching or otherwise – and setting up the situation at this facility to let guys thrive. [He] treats us like men; but at the same time, when it’s time to have fun, we have fun but when it’s time to work, we work. Our relationship I think has been tremendous and I’m looking forward to it getting stronger and stronger.”

“At the [beginning of last season], I felt great; but at the same time, there is no way to say … Let’s say I would have played all of those first five games, would I still have played the same way I played at the end of the season? Nobody knows. Of course him being a great guy and saying that he made a mistake, the real reality is no one knows because I could have played the first five games and burned out the last five. I mean, who knows? The way it happened, it worked out for everybody and I’m pleased with the way the season went.”

“Hopefully [just making the playoffs] wasn’t the goal. That was just a stepping stone to obviously greater things. Most of the guys who are still here know what that journey was like. We know what it took, how hard it was, every week, scratching and clawing, winning close games, the sacrifices it took day in and day out to say we only got so far. If anything, now you know what it took to get that far, now what do we have to do to go even a step further to reach our ultimate goal? I like to think that a lot of guys, we don’t have complacent guys. We have guys who are hungry and thirsty to do more and they already know what it takes. It starts now.”

“Physically, [Charles Harris is] very gifted. He’s obviously explosive, aggressive, and obviously to play this position, there’s no other way that you can be successful unless you have those tools. He’s definitely got his foot in the right direction and obviously, again, we’re looking for more.”

“I spoke with [Jordan Phillips] personally about him wanting to make a difference. Not just to be a guy, but be the guy. Obviously being next to a guy who is the guy, being able to train with him, take tips from him, learn from him and be a sponge, I don’t think you have a better mentor to play in the inside of the trenches than Ndamukong Suh. So to be able to sit by that guy and do whatever it takes to put yourself in that position, he’s shown that he’s got it and he’s on task. Again, it’ll all show when the pads come on and the games start playing.”

DAMIEN WILLIAMS

“I came here undrafted. This is somewhere I want to be. This is somewhere I devoted all of my time to. I love every guy that I play with, the coaching staff and everyone who works in the facility.”

“[I see my role with the Dolphins] it’s always been from my rookie year until now – being very vocal and then being that guy on the field that you can count on.”

“I’m sure I’m going to have a better season than I did last year so we’ll see where it goes from there.”

“Me and Coach Gase never stopped talking from the moment we ended our last game until now. We always kept in contact. We always talked. He loves what we’re building here and I love what we’re building here so there was no point in leaving.”

“Whatever [role] Coach Gase has planned for me is what I’ve got.”

ADAM GASE

“You can’t predict [having a fast or slow start to the season]. You just have to … Things have to line up right and you just need to do a good of executing in camp and putting yourself in position to where, when you get to games, you play better than what we played last year. I feel like the first game we probably played about as well as we could have for our first time together. We just had a severe drop off there in probably games three, four and five. We just need to start off faster in this aspect of let’s not have the peaks and valleys. Let’s work on being consistent of improving.”

“I thought guys did a great job [with the offseason program]. Attendance was outstanding. The effort was great. Guys were trying to build off of what they learned last year through what we do in our program and we gave them a little, the littlest things of let’s be better note-takers in the meeting rooms. Let’s make sure that we do a better job in individual and skill development. Skill development needs to be at a high level. Let’s make sure we know how we can get better. We really tried to explain why we were doing everything and let those guys really grasp that and take it from there, and they did a good job of that.”

“I thought guys did a good job of trying to take care of each other. I know every once in a while we just … everybody is yelling on the field ‘Stay up. Stay off the ground.’ Guys did a good job of avoiding any kind of collisions. They did a pretty good job. We just need to keep getting better at learning how to practice without pads because you only get so many [padded practices] during the season. So you have to become an expert at that. We’re still learning. When you’re young and guys are trying to play fast and trying to impress, but we have to be able to protect each other. We have to play under control. We have to understand how we can get great work in without pads.”

“Right now I’m thinking we don’t have any major [injury] issues entering into camp. We’ve got a couple of guys that haven’t done anything. I’m not going to … I know the next question you’re going to ask me; but we should be, we should be in good shape.”

“[Mike Pouncey is] really improving. We feel like we’re on a really, really good track right now and we’ll wait to the next doctor’s visit when we get kind of that report back and see what our next step would be. Or did anything change? Better? Worse? We’re just trying to really focus on the steps that the doctors have us right now. He’s done a good job of not trying to push ahead and say ‘Hey, I’m a fast healer and I’m tough.’ We all know that. The biggest thing for us is we need him healed because that’s really what it is, it’s time. He wants to be out there but it’s no good if we only get him for a couple of games. We need him for the duration.”

“I’ll have my moments [during the five week break] where it’s just some days I just don’t do anything, but I don’t go too far from it. This is fantasyland. You get to do something you love and it’s not really a job. I enjoy it and I’m around it a lot. This is kind of our whole family, that’s just what we do. That’s what we enjoy and if I’m not hearing from everybody in the building, my kids are talking about it or my family is talking about it. It’s what it is.”

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