|Cameron remains upbeat despite Dolphins' 0-2 start|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 19 September 2007 12:41|
Cam Cameron is off to the worst start of any first-year Dolphins coach since George Wilson, who lost his first five games with the AFL expansion team in 1966.
Despite an 0-2 record, Cameron said he's confident there are better days ahead, perhaps beginning Sunday, when the Dolphins play the equally winless New York Jets.
``This can be a good football team,'' Cameron said.
Like Cameron, his players stressed that the season is young.
``We've got all the time in the world,'' linebacker Channing Crowder said. ``We could go 14-2. Or 2-14.''
Something in between is more likely, and odds are rising that Miami will miss the playoffs for the sixth year in a row.
Tackle Vernon Carey grew up in Miami and understands how the first two games might be viewed with alarm in South Florida.
``When I was a Dolphins fan, I would be pushing the panic button,'' Carey said.
With good reason: Quarterback Trent Green is coming off one of his worst games in a 14-year career, the running game ranks last in the NFL, the defense looks old and newcomers like $32 million linebacker Joey Porter and top draft pick Ted Ginn Jr. have yet to make an impact.
The Dolphins have played poorly down the stretch in both games. They lost the opener in overtime at Washington, then were beaten Sunday by Dallas 37-20, the most points allowed by Miami since 2004.
So what keeps Cameron optimistic?
``Good people will find a way to rise above any circumstances they're dealing with,'' he said. ``I believe this team cares. Just because people get paid money in any business, that doesn't mean you care. But this group of men cares.''
While the Dolphins' desire may be sufficient, doubts about their talent grow. So far there's no evidence offseason moves by Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller upgraded a team that went 6-10 last year.
The next two weeks offer an opportunity to make a better impression. After playing at New York, Miami returns home to face Oakland. Both are 0-2.
In fact, 10 NFL teams share that same record, which makes the Dolphins' situation seem a little less dire. Miami kicker Jay Feely played with the 2002 Atlanta Falcons, who started 0-2 but recovered to finish with 10 wins, including one in the playoffs.
``Just because you lose your first two games doesn't mean the season is over and everything is lost,'' Feely said. ``The key is staying together and not pointing fingers.''
Perhaps, but the poor start magnifies the need to beat the Jets. It hasn't been a good matchup for Miami lately, with New York winning five of the past six meetings.
``There's a lot of importance put on getting that first win,'' defensive end Jason Taylor said. ``You don't want to go 0-3, that really puts you behind the eight ball. Being 0-2 is bad enough.
``We've got to get on the winning side. It's contagious. Once you get a win, people start to believe a bit more, and I think it's easier at that point to win more.''
Taylor others praise the way Cameron has responded to the poor start. His calm, patient demeanor draws comparisons to Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy.
One difference: Cameron is winless as an NFL head coach. He said he's trying to achieve a turnaround with teaching rather than tantrums.
``I can give a butt-chewing as good as anybody,'' he said. ``But in 20-some years, I can count on one hand how many guys it has worked on.''
Still, with his team showing a propensity for costly turnovers, untimely penalties, missed blocks, dropped passes and blown assignments, Cameron's patience has been sorely tested.
``A lot of mistakes,'' he said. ``We've got to get it corrected. We can't be having this talk every week. This is two weeks in a row now. I understand all that.''
It has been 41 years since a new Miami coach tried to dig out of such a hole.
For the record, the 1966 Dolphins finished 3-11, still the worst season in franchise history.