With the airing of HBO's Hard Knocks, the Miami Dolphins demonstrated what a difference a year makes. With last year carrying so much uncertainty and a feeling of being mislead by ownership, the Dolphins appear to be a stable ground. For a once proud and championship franchise, the expectations are high and Coach Philbin and his staff are there to welcome the challenge.
Hard Knocks presented a few compelling story lines. First, the quarterback race was presented as personal stories that tug at the heart strings seeing behind the scenes moments of Matt Moore feeding his young baby and David Garrard playing with his kids at the lake. When it comes down to it, one has to see these two quarterbacks as family men and NFL quarterbacks with a lot to prove. In competition without Ryan Tannehill, Garrard and Moore appear to take control of the offense and demonstrate leadership in the meeting room and on the field.
The second story includes Ryan Tannehill and his abscence was like a black cloud hovering over the head quarters in Davie. While Tannehill was working out his contract, the 89 players on the roster had gotten in two full days of practice and were about to work in pads on day 3. On day 2 of camp, a very telling conversation with Dawn Aponte, an executive who deals with contracts for the Dolphins, shared her negotiations with Coach Joe Philbin as coming to the point that it was either Tannehill took the deal or he would not ever play for the Dolphins. This exchange was captured beautifully on camera and revealed the softer side of Jeff Ireland when he says that he hopes Tannehill is here and wants him to get the best deal that he can and sign and be a Dolphin. One could tell that the contentious negotiations were wearing on him. Not to mention, it was interesting how much the conversation of the negotiations was shared with Coach Joe Philbin since he does not carry personnel power. Of course seeing Ryan Tannehill sign with a picture of Dan Marino in the background was a glimpse of what the cameras at HBO feel is true, that Tannehill is the future of this franchise.
Laslty, the story of Derek Dennis being cut will either make or break the Miami Dolphins in the area of line depth. Even though they cut young Derek Dennis to bring aboard Eric Steinbach, a veteran one year removed from play due to back surgery, Derek Dennis has much to prove after getting another chance with the archrival New England Patriots. Dennis is cut in the first part of the episode and all he does is pass his conditioning test. However, Dennis handled the setback of being cut in stride and demonstrated mental toughness.
The Miami Dolphins franchise remain on the hearts and minds of all Dolfans that were on twitter tonight that viewed this opportunity to see the Dolphins in action as a sneak peak at years to come...years of success or years of failure. However, this much is evident, Coach Philbin won't put up with any garbage that keeps a team from championships. Just ask Chad Johnson!