Adam Gase, as he often does, took a moment away from practice this week and schmoozed with reporters, this time about the Dolphins’ work schedule Thursday. Yes, the Dolphins are thankful and all that, but they’re also working Thanksgiving Day.
“It’s a meal,” Gase said, that wiseguy edge he sometimes can’t hide peeking through his words, “it’s not a day.”
Be thankful Gase is the Dolphins’ coach. Although he’s not up there with health and family and provision, we should appreciate he’s the coach of this team because he has brought a new day and better way for what had been a lost franchise.
Gase might not win it all this year. He and the Dolphins might not even make the playoffs. But Miami’s coach is a leader who has hired leaders on his staff and isn’t intimated by leaders in his locker room.
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Be thankful for that on Thanksgiving as you watch other football teams play. The Dolphins are turning a corner. They’re no longer a laughingstock. And that’s just one of the many reasons to be thankful as it pertains to the Dolphins now.
Be thankful seasons don’t end after five games, because the 1-4 Dolphins looked worse than the group that last year got an entire coaching staff fired.
Be thankful seasons don’t end after 10 games, because the 6-4 Dolphins are likely to play their best football the final month now that players are finally understanding their new schemes and coaches are more familiar with what players do best.
Be thankful games are not 54 minutes long, because otherwise that would have been a loss at Los Angeles.
Be thankful games aren’t 59 minutes long, because otherwise that might have been a loss at San Diego.
Be thankful for 11-day road trips that deliver the season’s first two road wins and break a five-game road losing skid.
Be thankful being benched isn’t permanent, because Byron Maxwell.
Be thankful starting isn’t permanent, because Mario Williams.
Be thankful Brandon Marshall doesn’t know the difference between a good trade and a bad one, because Maxwell and Kiko Alonso … and Laremy Tunsil.
Be thankful for 180-degree turns, because Ndamukong Suh, surly and almost universally disliked throughout the training facility last season, has this season emerged as a leader other players look up to and staffers no longer despise.
Be thankful for people keeping an open mind, because Suh, who decided early in 2015 he didn’t love Joe Philbin or Kevin Coyle, is in 2016 one of Gase’s strongest advocates in the locker room.
Be thankful for senior defensive assistant Jim Washburn, the last assistant Gase hired, because he has always kept Suh on the right path to stardom.
Be thankful for Terrence Fede, because he hasn’t forgotten his people in Haiti need help.
Be thankful for Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills and Jelani Jenkins, because — agree with them or not, and I mostly do not — they showed courage by taking a stand, or rather, a knee.
Be thankful solid college receiver Tony Lippett is on track to becoming a solid NFL cornerback.
Be thankful cornerback Xavien Howard will eventually be back from injury, which is good because coaches were convinced he was headed toward stardom based on what they saw in practice before he was injured.
Be thankful cornerback Brent Grimes’ wife Miko is gone.
Be thankful for selflessness because of Cameron Wake …
“I’m not a guy who needs to be out front,” he said. “I’m not a guy who’s me, me, me. It’s about the team winning.
“And if the best situation and best scenario is me stepping back, I’ll step back. If it’s about me stepping forward, then I’ll step forward. If I have to sit out, I’ll sit out. I don’t have that in me. I think about the team. I think about the ultimate goal. And the ultimate goal is not Cameron Wake being on the front page or whatever.”
Be thankful for selflessness because of Jarvis Landry …
“In cases when you want to be part of something great — when you want to play on great teams — it is bigger than you,” he said. “Sometimes it takes you sacrificing not catching 10 balls a game, not catching touchdowns or not having the opportunity to run the ball. But at the same time, when you unselfishly do these things to make sure that the team’s success comes first, eventually you’ll get yours.”
Be thankful for the Dolphins’ athletic trainers, the sports science department, the team nutritionist, the team masseuse and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, because making DeVante Parker’s hamstrings great again has been their project this year.
Be thankful for assistant to the head coach Jay Kaiser, because he makes certain the many people attending to Parker’s hamstrings are all on the same page.
Be thankful that Hard Rock Stadium is not Pro Player or Landshark or Sun Life and the name isn’t going to change for at least 18 years.
Be thankful for a stadium that will host Super Bowl 54 in February 2020.
Be thankful the Dolphins are showing signs of becoming a franchise more interested in playing in a Super Bowl rather than hosting one.