It was hardly the effort of a player known for being a trash-talker.
The situation surely gave Miami Dolphins cornerback Cortland Finnegan a chance to boast or gloat. He had just finished a three-interception performance during Tuesday's practice.
The microphones and recorders prepared for his outburst of confidence.
Instead, the media got nothing.
"We're out here working, out here competing," a modest Finnegan said when asked about his play. "Coach is counting good things. It's a chance to get better. Sometimes offense has our number and sometimes vice versa. The biggest thing is we're out here competing in the heat and that's a good thing for our team."
Thus far, Finnegan has taken a different approach. Perhaps two forgettable seasons with the St. Louis Rams led to his humbling. Now, he appears on the recovery road.
"He's a guy that knows routes combinations, knows how to play the game," Dolphins cornerback Jimmy Wilson said. "He gets his hands on the ball a lot. What else do you want from a corner?
After being one of the league's brightest stars in Tennessee, he became the most scrutinized at his position. Last year he ranked second-to-last among cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Not exactly the numbers for a player with a $50-million contract.
Eventually, he was released by the Rams.
From Pro Bowler to passed over.
The experience seems to have all but removed the brash from his game.
"It's a work in progress," Finnegan said. "I'll definitely make my mistakes every day. I've got to look at film and try not to make the same ones twice. I think the coaches do a great job staying on us as far as technique and those things. After nine or 10 practices, I feel like we're headed in the right direction."
The Dolphins have plans of giving Finnegan every opportunity to earn the starting spot alongside Brent Grimes. That first chance comes in the preseason opener Friday against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Just play consistently," coach Joe Philbin said. "He's going to have opportunities in the preseason. We're going to give him snaps in the preseason … Then we'll make our decision."
Twelve days into training camp, Finnegan has displayed all the qualities that placed him among the league's elite. After being drafted in 2006, it took him just two seasons to earn All-Pro honors.
His play then began to take a backseat to a series of on-the-field incidents that included being fined for throwing New York Giants receiver Steve Smith to the ground by his helmet in 2010. Two months later, he was involved in a fist fight with Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson during a game that led to both being ejected.
Philbin said he's yet to see any of Finnegan's personality issues affect the team. Finnegan has used his mouth to motivate the younger defensive backs instead of agitate on the field.
"I'm not overly familiar with some of his past, having not been around him before," Philbin said. "The thing I like about him, I think the example of what you do is most important. He's spent an awful lot of time since the day he got here with Will Davis and Jamal Taylor, showing them the ropes … I think he's fit in very well."
Finnegan has been arguably the top defensive back during camp, especially of late. His performance Tuesday gave him six interceptions in the last five practices.
"He's a veteran player," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "He learns fast. If you complete a route on him in a formation, you line up in the formation again and he knows what to expect. You may get him once, but he files that away and you show it again he's ready to jump it and make a play on it."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun