On the eve of the Miami Dolphins season opener against the Jets, new Dolphins coach
Through the midpoint of the 2008 season, no team has shed its skin like the Dolphins, sitting squarely in the playoff hunt at 4-4, facing back-to-back home games against the injury-prone Seahawks and inept Raiders before welcoming New England on Nov. 23.
While teams go from irrelevant to contender every year in the NFL, the Dolphins could barely claim irrelevance last season. They were one Week 15 overtime win against Baltimore from going 0-16.
Parcells, in his first year as vice president of football operations, and Sparano happily gutted the roster during the offseason, rebuilding Miami starting with the offensive and defensive lines and moving outward. Rookie left tackle
Rookie defensive linemen
And while the team is high on the future of rookie quarterback
There have been other important developments for the Dolphins, including Brown's return to health and ability to thrive in the Wildcat formation after a torn ACL last year. Another plus has been the complementary play of running back
Asked if his teammates accepted him despite his past suspensions and brief retirement, Williams said: "It's a whole new regime. There are only two or three guys who were on the team when I retired. People look up to me as a leader more. A lot of these kids on the team were in high school and junior high when I won the Heisman. The bad blood is gone."