Kudos to Dennis Hickey

I needed to see one thing during the Bears-Dolphins game this past week to help sum up one of the greater points I don't think is being discussed enough when talking about the 2014 Miami Dolphins. Brandon Marshall can't bring in the 4th down pass in the end zone, and ends up pushing Cortland Finnegan, and immediately, Chris McCain came to the defense of his teammate. My respect for McCain instantly went up in a major way. He didn't care that he was face to face with 6'4, 230 lb Brandon Marshall. His concern was that no one was about to push one of his teammates.

Louis Delmas. Cortland Finnegan. Jarvis Landry. Billy Turner. Chris McCain. Earl Mitchell. Jordan Tripp

Looking at these acquisitions, it is easy to see that they have one common trait among them, toughness. An attitude. Not 'fake guy' toughness like we saw with Richie Incognito either. Toughness that will rear its head when the situation calls for it. All of these guys had one reason or another why they were overlooked, why they were available. All thrive with having a chip on their shoulder. The impact they have cannot be overlooked. This team badly needed a culture change, a shift in identity. A move away from finesse guys like Michael Egnew, Chris Clemons, Jonathan Martin.

The Landry pick is one that Jeff Ireland wouldn't have made if he had 10 drafts to select him. Not fast enough. Ireland focused on "not being able to find guys with this speed on the street" as we heard referring to Les Brown. It is how we had Clyde Gates. Too much of a focus on timed speed, finding solace in numbers that could be measured on a stopwatch.

Hickey had an unenviable task of having to sink significant resources into re-building an entire offensive line, while still trying to generate a shift in the overall philosophy of this team. No more of the Jonathan Martin type personalities. Whether you feel that Joe Philbin deserves to return next year, I think that the fingerprints of success that Hickey has imprinted on this roster are easily seen, and I for one hope that given another offseason to continue to add players who fit this mold, that he can find more of these kinds of guys who help make the Miami Dolphins a team that opponents know will be a bear to play for 60 minutes on a weekly basis.

I think this chip on the shoulder is also the kind of thing that shows up this week vs Jacksonville, Past Dolphins teams would have played down to the competition. I think this team loves the fight, understands the grind, and has an eye towards the end goal, not only getting to the playoffs, but getting there and making some noise. I don't think that any of the aforementioned acquisitions will allow for this team to play down to its competition. I hope that the way I see it is the way that it continues to prove itself to be.

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