Just because the franchise has a disciplined second-year head coach, doesn’t mean the unit lacks individuality. The 39-year-old culture-preacher encourages it.
And quite frankly, if the winning continues, who is Adam Gase to impose?
Yes, Landry has been honing his dance moves during OTAs. Running back Jay Ajayi has some more pep and confidence following a Pro Bowl campaign.
But perhaps the most interesting personality is that of William Hayes.
Hayes is the guy who made noise on HBO’s Hard Knocks last offseason while a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
He has theories aplenty. Those theories are separate than the ones the defensive end exercises when trying to get around an offensive tackle for a sack.
“Sea Breeze” was a fourth round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 NFL Draft. He spent nine years with the Titans and five seasons with the Rams, before being traded to the Dolphins in March.
His 34.5 career sacks don’t stand out quite as much as his takes on modern science.
Hayes believes in the possibility of mermaids.
He doesn’t believe man landed on the moon or that dinosaurs ever graced planet earth. He was hesitant to elaborate at first, but eventually took the floor at the Dolphins’ training facility in Davie, Fla.
“I think I already made it clear that I don’t think man ever went to the moon,” Hayes said last week at OTAs. “I don’t know, some of my beliefs might not be good to talk about right now. We might do that…I don’t want to offend anybody. I’ll keep those a little secretive right now. You can hit me up later.”
Hayes then opened up a bit more on his ideas.
“I actually believe in aliens,” Hayes continued. “Absolutely. I believe there is life on other planets. I just don’t think we’re the only ones here. But I don’t know how much sense that makes to everyone else.”
He said he agreed with superstars like Kyrie Irving on a popular theory that the earth is flat.
Hayes said that he thinks that humans put fossils in the ground “so we could have some [stuff] to talk about.”
His mermaid theory is really a theory saying that we can’t prove that mermaids don’t exist because the entire ocean has not been explored.
“I’m not saying there’s necessarily a mermaid out there. I’m just saying there possibly could be,” Hayes said. “There’s a lot of water we haven’t discovered yet.”
“I’m just saying that we can’t say there are not mermaids. We find a different lifeform in the water every day, so that’s my whole theory.”
He also said that he thinks he could get Gase on his side.
“If Gase just hears me out one time, he’ll probably feel where I’m coming from,” he said.
While with the Rams, Hayes explored the National History Museum in Los Angeles with Jimmy Kimmel. The comedian couldn’t convince Hayes to change his stance, despite showing him the scientific evidence. He seems as committed to that stance as he is committed to standing his ground when stopping runs and offensive lineman.
On the coaching front, defensive coordinator Matt Burke could have the most interesting summer plans. He is going to Uganda to hike with mountain gorillas.
“We’re going to go trek some mountain gorillas for a couple of days,” Burke told reporters Wednesday. “There are only like 700 left in the wild, their natural habitat, so we’re … Literally the day after the minicamp I’m flying out and going to be in Uganda for about two weeks.”
Burke said he’ll “pretty much” do the trekking while carrying only a backpack. He’ll make the trip with his girlfriend, leaving Friday. They’ll fly through Amsterdam for a brief stop and then go to Entebbe, Uganda. They’ll spend nine or 10 days in the country.
“You have to get permits and a lot of stuff to do this so we’re basically spending time at this place called Bwindi Impenetrable Forest,” Burke said. “It’s up in the mountains on the Western border of Uganda. There is a base camp lodge that we’re staying at that has about seven little cabins out on a ridge on the side of a mountain. You go out during the day and you track the gorillas and get to sort of witness them in their natural habitat.”
Burke has gone to Africa for three consecutive years. He went there two years ago to do missionary work with Jeremiah Washburn and his family. He hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and went to Tanzania during that trip. Last summer he went to South Africa and Botswana and Zambai where he did trekking and spent time doing safari activities.
“Apparently you’re supposed to just not make eye contact [with gorillas],” Burke said.
“That’s like a pretty threatening situation so eyes down and just no sudden movements hopefully. Adam [Gase] told me, he said if I die over there he’s going to come and kill me twice. I don’t know if I’ll have cell phone service there so I’m not sure I can check in but he told me I have to check in as soon as I get a couple of bars on my cell phone. I don’t know. It’ll be fun. It’ll be good.”
Burke, 40, was named the Dolphins’ linebackers coach in 2016. He coached the position previously for the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals. Burke was an assistant with the Tennessee Titans from 2004 to 2008. He was named the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in January.
Gase doesn’t have a lot of rules for his players, but he lets his veterans keep the younger Dolphins in check.
“I don’t think it’s hard to keep guys loose,” he said Thursday. “We want guys to be who they are. We don’t have a ton of rules. Guys know what the structure of our program is and it’s not hard to follow. If you go out there and treat every day like game day and go out to practice, get better and play fast and be on time, it’s not real hard. Our guys have embraced it, and I love how the veterans (are) holding guys accountable.”
“That’s really the biggest thing, because it’s easy for guys to get loose and you fall off a little bit and get complacent with what you’re doing. You think you’ve accomplished something and when you have veterans that make guys realize, ‘We’re starting over and nobody cares what you did last year,’ when you got that mentality, it gives you a chance.”
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