With 13 NFL seasons, John Denney knows why Miami Dolphins missed playoffs

John Denney is one of the underrated leaders on the Dolphins. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

DAVIE — John Denney has played in 208 consecutive Miami Dolphins game, which is, obviously, a record.

Denney, the Dolphins’ very consistent long-snapper, has played in only two playoff games over 13 seasons, losing twice. Denney knows what happens when teams miss the NFL playoffs.

“You take care of your business and you can make it into the playoffs,” Denney said. “I think this is the time when you look back and think, ‘Man if we would have won this game. And this game. And we should have won these two games and we’d be in the playoffs.’ And if everyone could have that perspective that they have now, looking back on the season, during the season, I think maybe we might find a way to  dig deeper and put off the distractions, and put in a little more focus, and effort on those games we should have had.”

Denney doesn’t speak up often, but when he does he really has the respect of the players and coaches.

Denney is 39 years old (“I’ll be here as long as I can. I want to stay here until I get shown the door,” he said) and he is an under-the-radar team leader on a team that coach Adam Gase conceded this week, could use stronger leadership.

He’s played for Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles, Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell, and Gase. And never, ever, has Denney seen a season as strange as this one. You know the rundown — Hurricane Irma, Lawrence Timmons AWOL, season-ending injuries to Ryan Tannehill and Raekwon McMillan, Chris Foerster’s departure, Rey Maualuga’s bar fight…

“It was pretty abnormal,” Denney said. “It was unique. It wasn’t your normal year. The circumstances. The way the season started off. Just a lot of things going on throughout the season.”

Denney outlined the common denominators among the teams that fall short — there wasn’t the mandated perspective, focus and effort. They’re cliches for a reason. And a guy like Denney can see the shortcomings from a mile away.

“I mean, you just look at the record now and you say, 6-10, you have no chance,” Denney said. “We did have a chance. Two weeks ago, we had a great chance. It’s been disappointing all 11 times I haven’t gone to the playoffs. I mean, it’s for the most part, a lot of the seasons, it’s within grasp. You need those games in your pocket when it comes down to the end of the season. So you don’t have to wait for other teams to lose. So that you don’t have to win these three games or else you don’t have a chance. You can control your own destiny.”

 

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