MIAMI GARDENS - I've been covering the Miami Dolphins since 2007 and I've never seen a more confident Dolphins squad heading into a Patriots game.
Not the 2008 season when Miami dethroned the Tom Brady-less Patriots and won the AFC East division.
Not the 2009 season when Channing Crowder's interception of Brady actually sealed a 22-21 fourth quarter win inside Sun-Life Stadium.
And certainly not during the seven straight losses that followed.
There's something about these Dolphins heading into today's game. Everyone on the team - from coaches to players - are super confident they can beat New England.
This isn't optimism, like usual. This isn't hope, which is normal. I'm referring to an arrogant confidence, which comes off like a "WE GOT THIS" mindset.
It is two hours of Dolphins talk that features me breaking down the Patriots-Dolphins game, talking about Miami's playoff chances, and explaining why this franchise APPEARS to be headed in the right direction.
Earlier this week I explained the feel of the locker room as a kid who is tired of being picked on by a bully, so he's hunting him down in the streets. And when the youngster finds the bully who has tortured him for years he plans to punch him right in the mouth. He (the Dolphins) doesn't know if he can beat the bully (New England) in a fight, but he's tired of cowering in fear.
He's tired of handing over his lunch money (supremacy of the AFC East) and intends on not just standing up for himself, but actually picking a fight.
We'll learn today if this change in approach works against a Patriots team that will be playing without tight end Rob Gronkowski, and receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, who have accounted for 12 of Brady's 21 touchdown passes.
In their absences, the Patriots turn to rookie Josh Boyce, a fourth-round draft choice out of Texas Christian, who has caught five passes for 79 yards this season. But Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be the main receivers Brady leans on.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun