Jarvis Landry has absolutely no back-down.
During an NFL UK tour of England back in the spring, Landry predicted that the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots this year — which has not happened since 2000 — and, as Sports Illustrated reported, having Tom Brady in his prime would make it even sweeter.
Seven months later, the Dolphins season has not gone as planned. The Dolphins have lost four straight and now they not only need to win Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts — the first of two games against New England in three weeks — for bragging rights, but also to save their season.
Landry met with reporters after practice on Thanksgiving Day, and showed no signs of easing off the prediction he made a world away.
“Honestly, it’s a pride thing and also, it’s something for us, a mindset,” Landry said. “I spoke about it. They’re a team that I have great respect for always. I know guys over there, Tom. It’s nothing against them. It’s just something that, as a competitor, you want to win. Just like every game, I approach it the same, and that’s the mindset.”
Was he surprised that those remarks became national (and even international) news?
“Of course,” Landry said. “Of course. I knew you guys wouldn’t let that die. ... I’m just excited about the opportunity, excited about the challenge with these guys. We have the opportunity to go up there and compete, just like every week.”
You cannot sweep the Patriots without winning in Foxborough, which Miami has not done since 2008. New England is arguably the hottest team in the league, and oddsmakers don’t give the Dolphins any chance to win up there. The line? Seventeen points.
“I don’t care about Vegas,” Landry said. “I don’t care about Vegas. I don’t care about numbers. Any given Sunday, anybody can beat anybody. That’s the beauty of this league, that’s the beauty of the NFL, and that’s why I love this sport so much. You never know. This may be the game that turns our season around. You never know. For us, we just focus on ourselves and put good days together so that when we get to the game, we’re confident, we’re playing fast and we can pull one out.”
If the Dolphins are going to shock the world, they need an all-world game out of Landry. He is having a bizarro season — Landry already has set a career-high in touchdowns (he has six) even though his yards-per-catch average (8.5) is a career low.
Here’s why Adam Gase believes Landry is having unprecedented success in the red zone:
“He’s getting open. It seems like we got some different looks this year than what we were getting last year. It allowed him to get some opportunities where he’s had some one-on-one matchups. Last year he was getting doubled a lot. This year, it hasn’t been as much, so we’ve been able to get him the ball. Even a couple of times when I think he was doubled, he found a way to get open and we found him. I don’t think we’ve changed anything schematically to try to really emphasize getting him the ball in the end zone. It’s just worked out.”
Landry was aware he has a personal best in touchdowns, but did not dwell on it Thursday. He has a far more pressing matter: closing the Grand Canyon-sized gap between his team and the one from Massachusetts.
“It’s something that I can’t look into the future for, but it’s right now, for us, it’s putting together this great week to allow us to be in position to start that,” Landry said. “We have the opportunity to start on Sunday. For us, that’s our focus. Just winning one game.”