During Mike Pouncey’s first two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, the team’s 2011 first round draft pick was on teams that weren’t in the playoff hunt this late in the season. But this year that’s all changed, as the 8-6 Fins are in control of their playoff destiny, and are looking to make it into the postseason for the first time since 2008.
In an interview with the Finsiders yesterday, the Dolphins starting center talked about the opportunity to make the playoffs, and how it has brought a new energy to the team.
“I think everyone has bought in at this point,” said Pouncey. “They can see the playoffs right now, so they know how important each game is, and we just can’t wait to get out there on Sunday, and showcase ourselves. We have the same mindset each week, and that’s go 1-0 after each week.”
The Dolphins have really been on a roll as of late, winning their last three games, and five out of their last seven. Winning always seems to be the greatest boost to any locker room, and Pouncey thinks it has created a great environment around the team.
“When you’re winning, everything’s better. The food tastes a little bit better and practice is a little easier. Once you get into a rhythm of winning, it kind of becomes contagious, and the guys like that feeling right now. Now that we have something to fight for, guys are coming into work right now with a smile on their face, ready to get better each and every day.”
This week Miami faces off against a team out of the AFC playoff picture in the Buffalo Bills, but that doesn’t mean that Pouncey and the Dolphins are looking past them. In fact, facing off against one of the league’s best defensive line units in football, he believes that the offense is going to have to bring their best against their AFC East rivals.
“They’re a really good football team on defense,” said Pouncey. “They’re leading the league in sacks so we’ve got to go out and play our best and complete football game on offense. As an offensive line we got to play our best of the year.”
Buffalo also features one of the league’s top defensive tackles in Marcell Dareus, who leads all defensive interior lineman in combined tackles with 63. Pouncey knows a little something about Dareus, a man he faced at the highest level in the college ranks.
“He went to Alabama, I’m at Florida, we played in the SEC Championship game and they beat us unfortunately. It’s a good matchup, I like him,” said Pouncey. “I think he’s a heck of a football player, one of the best in the NFL. Every time I get to go against him I feel like I get better as a football player, so I appreciate the matchup.”
With the offense playing their best football of late, scoring an average of 27 points per game over the three game winning streak (their highest average over a three game period all year), Pouncey sees an aura of confidence inside the huddle, which he believes will carry over throughout the rest of the year.
“You can tell when you look into those guys at the end of the game that they’re going to make those plays,” said Pouncey.
Of course that kind of confidence only comes from a unit with great chemistry, and that’s something that he considers one of the team’s biggest strengths, especially on the offensive line.
“We’ve built that chemistry in this offensive line room right now,” said Pouncey. “Whether it’s losing two starters, or two backups coming in and playing as well as they are right now, you can’t break this bond we have.”
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