When the Dolphins open camp on Friday, July 27, it will be, of course, the first of the Joe Philbin era. During his stellar 15-year career, Taylor experienced plenty of coaching upheaval, suiting up for eight different head coaches. Taylor said his best advice for his for former teammates, many of whom have yet to participate in a training camp without Tony Sparano, is to be patient.
“Be willing to listen,” Taylor said. “Some guys become uncoachable, and that’s the recipe for disaster for an athlete. Things are going to change. Change is inevitable, especially when you get a new coaching staff in. The scheme will change, the philosophy will change. Heck, the color of the paint on the walls will change; the pictures in the building will change. It’s accepting those changes.”
Surely, some of the day-to-day minutiae–specifically things like the practice schedule–will change under Philbin. From an offensive perspective, though, it will be the ongoing implementation of Mike Sherman’s offense that will keep players on their toes during training camp.
“For us, it’s just adjusting this new attack-style offense, this no-huddle offense we’re going to be running,” Bush said, “because you’ve got to be in shape for that. You’re going to average a lot more plays a game.”
With the pace that Philbin likes to practice with, Dolphins training camp will have a whole new intensity. But for Taylor, no matter how demanding camp is for his former teammates, nothing compares to what he went through with Jimmy Johnson.
“You hate to be that old guys that’s like, ‘Back in the day, when I was a kid, I used to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow,’” Taylor said. “But it’s true. It was completely different.”
Training camp is the time to reinforce the schematic changes that have taken place over the course of the offseason and to start preparing for live, in-game action. Bush sees Davone Bess as someone who could thrive when the completed product hits the field.
“When I got a chance to practice with him, just seeing his work ethic day in and day out, the guy puts in countless hours,” Bush said. “He’s always one of the first ones on the field, last ones off the field. He’s constantly working on his skill, perfecting his craft. He’s one of the most underrated players.”
Though he’ll trading in his cleats for a microphone, Taylor isn’t too far removed to give an insider’s look at the Dolphins defense. After all, despite the constant churn of NFL rosters, he’s played with nearly all of the principals. Of the young players looking to make an impact, Reshad Jones, Taylor said, may be facing the most pressure heading into the season.
“If he’s going to be that starting, as speculation is that he is, he has to make that step,” Taylor said. “The maturation process has to continue in the meeting rooms, on the practice field. If he does those things that he needs to do Monday through Saturday, Sunday will come easy for him.”
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