Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly has been productive over the past two months since he was reinserted into the lineup, and he actually thinks he's playing the best football of his career.
Over the past seven-plus games, since the fourth quarter of the Washington game, Fitzpatrick is completing 64.7 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His passer rating in that span is 89.3, though it would be a lot if not for two interceptions off perfectly thrown passes that bounced off the intended receiver, another where his arm was hit as he threw, and a fourth where DeVante Parker collided with an Eagles linebacker and prevented him from getting to his spot on a crossing route.
Fitzpatrick's three rushing touchdowns also have come during that span.
"Personally, I feel like I'm better now than I've ever been," he said Wednesday. "Statistically, whatever, just in terms of what I'm doing and my focus and preparation and going out there with the group that I have and my confidence is at an all-time high just in terms of all that stuff."
Fitzpatrick has been a big reason the Dolphins' red zone offense has been the best in the NFL since that Washington game in Week 6.
The 37-year-old quarterback said his 15th NFL season, with his eighth team, has been enjoyable.
"I just came in and tried to do the best I could," he said. "I'm happy with the fact that I've been able to, that I was reinserted into the lineup and able to play and able to grow with some of these guys. The way that some of these guys are playing right now and developing a rapport with them, that stuff has all been really good.
"I don't like losing, but in terms of the day-to-day and the effort that we put in from the top down, the coaches to the players to the kitchen staff to the equipment guys, everybody, this is a really good building in terms of all that stuff and the effort and the 'want to' is there. I've had a very positive experience."
Catching up with Coach
Head Coach Brian Flores will be going back close to his roots this weekend when the Dolphins face the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium and one man he's looking forward to seeing again is his old high school coach, Dino Mangiero.
Flores often has talked about the influence Mangiero had on him while coaching him at Brooklyn Poly Prep.
"He's impacted a lot of young men and I think you learn a lot about life playing football," Flores said before practice Wednesday. "I've told a lot of people this: Everything I learned to be successful in life I learned in those meeting rooms and on that practice field in Brooklyn and from him. Hard work, great effort, compete, preparation, being on time and then just overall just doing things the right way. It will be nice to see him this weekend. It's always great to see him and his family, and hopefully we'll get some of the guys from high school at the game as well."
Flores says he talks often with Mangiero and perhaps the biggest lesson he took from him that he applies as a coach is to remain mentally tough.
"Never get too high, never get too low," Flores said. "You've got to try to stay even. That's something that I've taken with me since 1995 when we first met. He's a great coach, and I was lucky to learn from him, along with a lot of young guys."
Man of many nicknames
As for the "Intern" nickname, Laird again explained Wednesday the origin of it.
"So the story is I walked into the cafeteria that we have," Laird said. "I sit down with one of the operations guys and with him are some operations interns that were here during training camp. So I'm just talking and asking these guys questions. They're all still in college and they're undergrads, so I'm asking them what they like to do, what brought them here, how their time is going here, and then one of them goes: 'So what do you do here?'
"So I told him 'Oh, I'm on the team.' And he was really apologetic. I wasn't offended in any way. I thought it was funny, so I told that story to the team when I got called up one time, because they have the rookies come up during training camp just to entertain the team. So I told that story and people thought it was funny. Then the offensive coaches have been calling me that just for fun. They know I don't take offense to it, so I think it's funny. Then Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) mentioned that to the color commentator or the TV guys at some point. So they got a hold of it."
A memorable first
Cornerback Chris Lammons picked a good time to come up with his first NFL interception: It came on the last play of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday on a Hail Mary throw to the end and it clinched the Dolphins' 37-31 victory.
"We were going to hit it down," Lammons said. "I just saw the ball pop back up. Grabbed it before anybody could. A must-get situation. That's just what it was."
Lammons became the fifth Dolphins defensive back to record his first career interception this season.
"I mean, to end the game, that was pretty cool," Lammons said.