Miami Dolphins players react to rampant roster revisions

Mike Pouncey has said his Miami goodbyes. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

AVENTURA — Bobby McCain was thinking about how Ndamukong Suh is gone now, and as McCain is a defensive back, he was looking at it from the perspective of a Los Angeles Rams defensive back.

The combination of Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald at defensive tackle should be — lethal.

“Suh’s a great player,” McCain said Friday. “If you’re a DB for the Rams right now, you’re really excited with those two up front. With him not coming back, we’ve got guys that are going to fill his shoes, such as (Davon) Godchaux and Jordan Phillips and VT (Vince Taylor), guys that are young. It’s big shoes to fill, but we can get it done.”

Last October, the Dolphins dumped Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi. Since the season ended, Miami has traded Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry and released Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Suh.

“I mean it’s out of my control, you know?” Godchaux said Friday. “I’m just here to do my job. Next man up. Be consistent. Can’t anybody replace Ndamukong Suh because he was his own player. I can’t feel like anybody can replace anybody because each player is their own player. So I’m just going to do my job and be consistent.”

It was a bit jarring to many players in the locker room when Ajayi was jettisoned last season. Miami had come off a 10-6 playoff season, and at the time, had a winning record. It seemed as if players who spoke Friday at the Dolphins Cancer Challenge Celebrity Golf Tournament were less shocked at the roster overhaul, because of the 6-10 season.

That doesn’t make it any easier.

“It’s tough,” Dolphins offensive tackle Sam Young said of Pouncey’s departure. “He’s a tremendous player. I got to know him over the last couple of years and unfortunately it’s part of the business and I know he’s going to do great things. I’m happy for him to start a new chapter and I hope he does the best with it.”

Added Miami offensive lineman Jesse Davis: “At first I was kind of bummed out, but good for (Pouncey). Everybody deserves to get as much money as they can in this sport, I believe. That’s where he found it, that way. And our management thought differently, and so more power to everybody.”

Players like Kenyan Drake learn quickly how things can change.

“It’s a business,” Drake said. “It’s rare that you’re going to the same team for two, three, four, five years in a row. But I feel like (coach Adam) Gase has a plan. He’s brought the guys in and let the guys he’s let go for a reason. And I feel like now it’s just kind of the people that are in the position to step up. It’s their opportunity to do that.”

Young was asked if he agrees a culture change was needed.

“That’s a question for someone other than me but I know whenever there’s opportunities for guys to step up, guys will,” Young said. “And I think that you look at the guys that have been brought in and the guys that are in the locker room and guys will rise to the occasion, across the board, really.”

Miami is leaning on free agent acquisitions such as wide receiver Danny Amendola, guard Josh Sitton and Frank Gore to provide veteran leadership from the perspective of players who have often won.

Former Miami Dolphins Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey

But with the club reporting to Davie on Monday, how long will it take for all these new players to gel?

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Young said. “It could be a day, it could be not until training camp. You never know. But I think you’ve got to start somewhere and that starts on Monday, getting in the room, watching film, getting everyone on the same page. Not only that but we’re working out together. We’re doing all these small things to build trust, build a rapport and I think if you do things the right way it’ll happen sooner rather than later.”

Miami moved on from some popular, well-paid, successful players, because they did not feel they were not the right nucleus to lead the organization to a Super Bowl.

So what do the players left behind need to do?

“I guess everybody needs to buy in to what coach is telling us and do your job, focus on what to do and not what everybody else does,” said Davis, the lineman. “That’s how we need to go about everything, just do your own job and don’t worry about somebody else does or what moves they’re making. Don’t worry about upper management. Just focus on your thing.”

Drake said he and his teammates must strive to gain confidence with steadiness in 2018.

“I feel like once coaches have that trust in you and teammates and fans, it’s hard for you to be replaceable,” Drake said. “Everybody has a duty. Everybody has talent. But to be able to do it on a consistent basis. And to not only go out there and say it but also do it.”

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