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Dolphins Not Satisfied Just Making Playoffs

Posted Jan 9, 2017

As they exited the training facility, what the players focused on the most Monday, wasn’t so much particular games, but rather the mind-set that was established in Adam Gase’s first year as Dolphins head coach.

As Dolphins players cleaned out their lockers Monday, there was a lot of disappointment looking back but also a lot of optimism looking forward.

“Yesterday was tough; it’s going to be tough until the playoffs and the Super Bowl are over,” guard Jermon Bushrod said. “But at the end of the day, the way this team just grew and the way we fought through adversity, it’s been pretty special because a lot of teams would have tanked when you’re sitting 1-4 and your future in the league doesn’t really look too good. The fact that we were able to rattle off so many wins and we just literally switched up our mind-set and we took it one day at a time, I think that was pretty significant and definitely a turning point, not just this year but hopefully for this organization.”

The Dolphins’ season officially came to an end with the 30-12 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, and the players headed off in different directions knowing that some personnel changes invariably will take place before they reconvene at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University for the offseason program in April.

Safety Michael Thomas said the players were leaving the training facility happy with the season but wanting more.

“We’re not satisfied just making it to the playoffs,” Thomas said. “No, we wanted to go there, we wanted to win. We wanted to go all the way to the Super Bowl. How we played yesterday wasn’t good enough and for everybody who returns here, the mind-set is going to be coming back not just to try to make the playoffs but to try to dominate. Dominate your unit. Have a dominant defense. Have an imposing offense. Imposing special teams. Dominate special teams. That’s going to be the mind-set.”

The Dolphins’ 2016 season will be remembered for the tremendous turnaround after a 1-4 start that featured a six-game winning streak and nine victories in the past 11 games.

What the players focused on the most Monday, though, wasn’t so much particular games, but rather the mind-set that was established in Adam Gase’s first year as Dolphins head coach.

“Starting the season, nobody thought we’d be in this position to win double-digit wins and have a chance to advance in the playoffs,” linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. “Even going 1-4 to start the season off, it was a team that trusted in each other, trusted in the process and ultimately trusted in our coaches because we knew we had good coaches. Within the first five minutes of ever meeting Adam Gase, I knew I wanted to play for a coach like him. Looking over this whole season, this is now just the foundation of what’s to come. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the offseason with coaching and players coming in and out, this team will never be the same, but for the most part, as long as Gase is the head coach, I think we’ll be in a good position.”

The 2016 season, Dolphins players were saying Monday, was just the beginning.

“We truly believe in this room that we could make a run, a serious run,” wide receiver Kenny Stills saids. “And we still truly believe that. So we feel like we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.

“It doesn’t take days or weeks to appreciate (what we accomplished this season). I’m just sick about the game yesterday, but I still understand where we’ve come. I told the guys before the game, look how far we’ve come. And so it’s something that you can be proud of, but it’s not something to hang your hat on. We know what we expect out of each other and we know the potential of this group. We’ve got to come back stronger next year and do it again.”

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