Stanford Looking To Corner The Market

Posted May 2, 2013

Young corner looks to take the next step.

R.J. Stanford spent some time in Costa Rica earlier this month, enjoying a belated honeymoon with his wife of nine months, Keyonna.

But now it’s time for business for the cornerback, who’s getting the chance to do some offseason work with the Dolphins. It’s a luxury Stanford didn’t get to enjoy last year after joining the Dolphins on Sept. 1. It’s also something Stanford hopes will make a big difference in his second season in Miami.

“It’s going to make a big difference just because (of) the comfortability level, the jelling as a team, just working within the defense, with Coach (Kevin) Coyle,” Stanford said. “Just really learning his defense through being able to just play fast this season, not too much thinking because I had a year under my belt with his system and just jelling with the teammates knowing everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and just working as a team in the back end, it’s going to be great.”

Stanford was a contributor on defense last season when he was one of the four defensive backs on the team to appear in all 16 games — the others were cornerback Sean Smith, and safeties Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones.

Stanford contributed two tackles for loss on defense and was among the team leaders with six tackles on special teams. It was, all in all, a solid contribution for a player the Dolphins claimed off waivers from the Carolina Panthers a week before the start of the regular season.

“It was a time for me to just really trust with the defense and just learn the defense, get comfortable with the defense and being able to play fast and also contribute,” Stanford said. “I was just in here trying to contribute where I could, whether it be a starting role, whether it be five reps a game, because we’re just trying to get wins, man. That’s the name of the game.”

When Stanford joined the Dolphins, he was reunited with former University of Utah teammates Koa Misi, Derrick Shelby and Smith. With Smith gone, that not only meant one less Ute on defense, it also created an opening in the starting lineup.

Stanford has no starts in his 28 career games in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to concede anything when it comes to taking Smith’s place in the starting lineup.

Asked whether he thinks it’s the cards for him to become a starter, he replied: “In the cards? Man, I’m going to keep working. I’m going to keep working.

“It’s always a goal.”

Stanford, whose full name is Raymond Perry Stanford Jr., stayed busy in the offseason. In addition to his honeymoon, he took part in the Dolphins’ visit to Baptist Children’s Hospital aas well an ice cream social at His House Children's Hospital. He also posted on Twitter a picture of himself joining teammates Charles Clay and Nolan Carroll for a boxing workout.

The bottom line for Stanford, who joined the Carolina Panthers as a seventh-round draft pick in 2010 but didn’t play as a rookie, is to continue to improve and take advantage of a full offseason with the Dolphins this time around.

“There’s always room to get better,” he said of his 2012 season. “You can’t ever say, man, I arrived and I had a good season because we didn’t make it to the Super Bowl and we didn’t win and that’s the goal. That’s why we’re practicing, that’s why we play when we study and put all these hours in. I wouldn’t say disappointed, but there’s always a lot of room to get better. That’s why I leave it at that.”
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