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The leadership voices in the Miami locker room

A few weeks ago I told you what former Dolphins Nat Moore and Shawn Wooden had to say about the need for veteran leadership in the locker room and how that helps young players learn to be professionals.

The subject fascinates me because it goes beyond the field, into relationships and team chemistry and things that may not be readily apparent but still matter.

Looking at the Dolphins locker room I don't see a ton of veterans, as we all know this is a very young team, so I've been wondering about what players fit the leadership role.

In a recent rundown of the leadership voices in all 32 NFL locker rooms, Thomas George of NFL.com names the loudest, most wise, most effective or most attention-grabbing voices in each NFL locker room. He named Joey Porter Miami's defining voice.

And I cringed.

Don't get me wrong, Porter's voice has a place in Miami's locker room. He is the team's resident motivator, and agitator. If there is a confrontation to lead, be it before, during or after the game, Porter is there. If there is an opposing player to call out, he will do it.

But this approach has its limitations. Porter is awesome on the attack except when his attacks ring kind of hollow. Remember when he guaranteed a victory over somebody or other in 2007 (not worthy of looking up, frankly) and the Dolphins got whipped? Remember when he called out the NFL and, to an equal degree, Jacksonville receiver Matt Jones, last year on a national conference call?

Jones, arrested in the offseason for having cocaine in his car, was still playing during the regular-season and Porter ripped the league for allowing that to continue. He also took a couple of swipes at Jones. What he apparently didn't know is that Jones had already been suspended but was playing while awaiting an appeals hearing.

Jones fired back at Porter for getting in his business and it was stupidity unleashed for about 24 hours. Jones eventually served the suspension after his appeal failed.

Porter also famously declined to come off the field last year even as coach Tony Sparano was demanding he do that during the first Baltimore game. Sparano was not happy the incident was caught on TV, making him look powerless to get the team's sack leader off the field and so he fined Porter.

The point is Porter's is something of a cartoonish voice. He is loud and intimidating but not always effective or bounding with wisdom.

I think in searching for locker room voices on the Dolphins one has to go beyond Porter.

On defense I see Jason Ferguson as a rock. He's neither quiet nor loud. He strikes the right balance between keeping teammates loose and tightening the screws when necessary. He has been mentoring several younger defensive linemen, Paul Soliai among them.

Ferguson is a voice other players respect.

Chad Pennington is that on offense and perhaps throughout the locker room. When he tells the receivers they are going to work on pass routes with him, no one complains. They work on pass routes with him. When he calls meetings to study opponents and tells other players to show up, well, they show up.

Pennington is a voice other players respect.

I assume Jason Taylor will regain a piece of the leadership mantle he gave up when he was traded to Washington last year. Taylor, along with Vonnie Holliday, were the defensive line leaders for quite some time and Taylor was admired by some of the younger players.

If Taylor can play well and is willing, he can regain a voice other players respect.

Ronnie Brown is gaining that kind of voice. Ricky Williams has that voice when he wants it. Justin Smiley and Will Allen can also, on occasion, and their mentorship of Jake Long and Vontae Davis is proof of that.

The Dolphins, a young team, are not overflowing with veteran leadership. But as I think we can agree, they are not a team with only one loud leadership voice in the locker room.

Discuss ...

[BLOG NOTE: Remember to come back here tomorrow for the Sunday column update. The column this week centers around Miami's search for a No. 1 receiver.]


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Porter's voice as an agitator, I like that. Agree Armando


Agitator, kinda reminds me of how Ace is on this blog to some.

I think you are right that Chad is the voice on the offensive side. On the defensive side, if not Porter, then maybe Taylor can claim that voice on defense. We will see how it plays out.

Yeah i agree Porter is not our lone Voice, even though it can seem that way at times with his statements getting the most publicity because he doesn't hold back ever.

Has anyone seen my camera?

Hmm... Chad Pennington, Jake Grove, Justin Smiley, Vernon Carey, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Jason Ferguson, Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Matt Roth, Channing Crowder, Akin Ayodele, Reggie Torbor, Charlie Anderson, Yeremiah Bell, Gibril Wilson, Will Allen and Nate Jones are all proven NFL veterans. They're all in their 5th season or more.

Not sure about this article. There are plenty of veterans and you contradict yourself.

We need Jason Taylor to step up and be the leader he once was for the defense..hopefully he will fall right back into that role but for some reason I feel he will have to prove himself on the field before he gets that respect..we also need that leadership from veterans such as yeremiah bell and will allen..players such as cameron wake, vontae davis, and maybe Jason Allen (aka garbage) need leaders to learn from..on offense pennington is the best leader we can ask for..I think his qualities on and off the field were a huge part of our success..this will be good for our new rookie receivers because he wlll help them learn and adjust to the NFL..lastly we need maybe one more leader on offense..I think ronnie can fill this role. Btw J-E-T-S suck suck suck

MIA baller don't you know by now that Mondo does not let the facts get in the way of his stories.

why i feel there's some one talking to himself right now ?

Miami really needed a person like Joey, had we had him a few years earlier Miami would have faired better in some games that we let slip away. That Jets game we lost after going into the 4th quarter up by what 3 TD? If I recall correctly....is one example.

JT and Zach were our leaders and how could they let that happen?

In fact Zach would often say how "WE SUCK" in referring to his own team. Joey is exactly what we need his approach is exactly what’s been missing on this team for years, I just hope it’s contagious and our young defensive players play with the passion Joey plays with.

definitely Penny's team for now. which is a relief after years adrift with no confidence at QB. hopefully Henne if taking notes.


I just saw the pole on the Miami Herald which suggests that Ronnie Brown is en elite RB, even comparing him to Adrian Peterson!!!!!! Brandon Jacobs, Marion Barber!!!!!..... ARE THESE GUYS SMOKING THEIR BREAKFAST???? ....
They are not even close, Ronnie can not be compared to ANY of these backs, he is mediocre running, passing and blocking so please do not insult the readers, I know we are in Miami and we love the Phins but c'mon be realistic and honest with yourself.

Dear Mr. Salguero

"Porter also famously declined to come off the field last year even as coach Tony Sparano was demanding he do that during the first Baltimore game"

Good Leadership is always set by actions.(sorry mr. Porter)

Soiled :)

jason taylor should be the voice of the defense. he has proven himself a leader for 11 years. when he talks everyone listens unlike porter who just shoots his mouth off. ferguson is very good too like vonnie was. i really hope its open competition this year because jason taylor will earn his spot on the first team defense ahead of porter.

I will say 1 thing Mando, you are a courageous little man!! I know I wouldn't have wrote that about Porter working in such proximity!! I hope he doesn't unleash his pitbulls & they eat you like they ate that mini horse back in Pitt..

I think leadership is not something you select in a locker room just because you like how one individual plays..... leadership comes from within a person and has to happen naturally for it to be effective.

i feel some one is talking to himself right now , mr gergz aka fake gopats aka markeya

Although Porter is a good football player, he does not appear to be particularly bright. Pennington is bright and he is making the rest of the offense smarter and the unit's production last year exceeded it's talent. In order for this team to win a Superbowl, it will need to add a couple smart and intense leaders on that side of the ball.

Leadership is created from within a player and it spreads to other players. It is created by the desire to be the best and work the hardest to acheive that goal. Leaders are guys who make the game changing plays. They don't show up hung over or do things to make opponents look bad. They only worry about the team winning.
The media may think that Joey Porter is a leader, because he has a big mouth. I think JP is a leader because he has some big sacks and a lot of the time his play is on the field. The big mouth takes away from his ability to make players be better and therefor his leadership skills may be questions. Yelling and screaming only goes so far and people stop listening. He motivates the other team with his constant talking.
The true player leader on the Phins is Pennington. Jake Long is also a leader. There are a lot of guys that left it on the field last year. So we can't question most of them on the performance.
The other leaders are Parcells and Sparano. No panic, just find a way to win. It builds confidence right down the line.

Does this mean Scorpio Barbers and Anthony Armstrong are the voices of the practice squad?

Taylor is on record, in this very publication, as saying he is not a leader and has no desire to be a leader (don't you read the Herald, Armando?).

And he's right. If we learned anything during the 2007 season it's that Taylor played for Taylor and no one else. This wasn't his team - he made that very, very clear - and you can't be a leader in that case.

JT seems to be a different guy now. I sincerely hope he is. If it turns out he isn't, I hope the Trifecta recognizes their mistake and cuts him before he turns into the locker room cancer he became the last time around.

go Pats, why don't you get a life, to even suggest that Ronnie Brown is an elite RB just shows how much of a jack azz you really are.... I bet you can't even find NE on a map lol...

Gopats, Yes I am going back to school to do your mom, douche bag! get out of this post no one likes you!

in any team that was able to win a super bowl in last few years , we never heard of leaders. the loud and deep voices crap are gone form the nfl,today the head coach is the leader and the one who sets the role for every player on the field ,Tony.S turned this team around by doing just that last season .

Chad .P showed leadership by putting up the wins not by BLA BLA, as tuna would say " shut up and go show me how you do it on the field "

joe watts, that was fake gopats who spoke to you.
p.s....my mom passed away few years ago

gopats who was your best mentor and why?

joe watts is the poster who talked to himself all day today as markayh aka gergz aka joe aka MIA Baller and the cuban assassin , every day he has set of names to talk to himself

lol....i forgot ranchito aka all the names above

Mike, you got it wrong I only post with this name, I don't have to hide like most here and also I'm not here to insult people, just here to view different opinions and express mine. Its a shame that we have douche bags that have nothing better to do with their time than insult but that only shows how ignorant and miserable their lives truly are.

Armando, often I disagree with what you are putting out there about my beloved Fins. This entry about Joey Porter being the voice of the Dolphins made me cringe too. I can think of a half dozen guys on the team that make a better front for the camera. But damn, the Doplhins have needed what Joey brings to the table for some time. At the very least "Miami Doplhins and soft" have stopped waltzing around in the same sports writer's sentences and opponent's mouths, since Joey arrived. Most tough guys that know they are tough guys do not represent the best team mouthpiece. Will allen seems pretty sharp and steady. He does a pretty good interview too, don't you think? I'll confess, I read everything everyday about the Dolphins. Misguided though your opinions be sometimes, I enjoy reading them.

ps. You also attract an inane clusterfuck of illiterate asswipes in the wake of your musing and inspire their response. Kudos for that.

I like Joey Porter as a form of leader. While he plays effectively, the Dolphins defense will not be bullied and have an attitude - he will stand up and punch you in the mouth. He did this last year and he most famously did this during the Steeler super bowl run when they went into Indy and helped ensure that the Steeler defense man up.

We are fortunate here in Miami to have some so talented and combative.

the most productive and smart guy should be the mouthpiece, but the head coach is the real leader.

p.s..Please the guy who talks to himself today w/more than 7 names ...Pretend i am not here.

Joe Watts.. It is ok to dislike a fan of the competition (gopats). Too bad that your name gets added to a long list of others that are not associated with you. Here is a list of bad dudes that are connected:

Cuban Menace
Chanchito and many more

Don't let them put you down.

Joe Watts,

Mike is one to talk. His name should be added to the previous list I talked about. You are dealing with a couple of people that use many names, like Mike or Webster. They know who they are.

Joe Watts,

Mike claimed that should have none it was a fake gopats. How would you know it is a fake gopats. The question is, how does Mike know it was a fake gopats? Unless of course, Mike is not Mike, but gopats himself.

Notice how ryan nj and mike posted within a minute of each other. Luck, nahhh. Maybe the same person.

MIA Baller was best name so far today you used sensei .

Elite Blogger was best name you used yesterday .

yellow pages.....hint......you can find help

Jake Long already seems like a leadership voice. Vernon Carey's been on the line the longest, but Jake's salary and nastiness (and pro-bowl birth last year) give him a lot of credibility.


you crack me up.

Dear Mr. Salguero

I have admitted in the past and will now admitt most of my posts are complete nonsense.

But there is a serious issue with one or maybe more posters posting under many names.

It seems to take away from the flow of true honest exchanges of thoughts and idea's of our fellow posters.

Mr. Salguero in this Blog you are our Leader and there seems to be a problem in the ranks.

Soiled :)

Mike you ar wrong I like Ronnie, not that you care. I noticed you put fake gopats on your list, what about fake sensei. Again I ask how do you know it is a fake gopats.

Seems like this Dolphin blog has the same issue the Cane blog does

1 guy using a bunch of different names adding nothing to the discussions but looking for attention

JP can sure quiet down a locker when he speaks and nobody will interupt him

After what happened with JT last year its going to take alot to get his voice back

On O I dont think there is that take charge leader quite yet

Dear Mr. Sebastian Dalbis

"On O I dont think there is that take charge leader quite yet"

That would be Chad Pennington.
I believe when he speaks the offense listens.

When he speaks does the Defense listen ?
But I do believe the Defense has faith in him on Offense.

Soiled :)


I do agree to a point on CP, this is just me speaking of course..but I need to see it again this year as well then I will buy into it

I`m far from a CP hater at all he is a solid QB

The way free agency is in the league now its hard for teams to find leaders to stick around

The last few SB winners have had that solid stability of leadership for a few years

soiled, i am going to have dinner around 6;00 to 7;30.as we agreed earlier try to vanish with this name of yours during this hour

G-d bless Joey Porter, and shame on the media for trashing him. Our lives are richer for having having Joey Porter on our team.

Hey Armando, I beleive the game was with NE when Porter refused to leave in the last minutes of what turned out to be a blow out. There are different type of leaders and Joey is one. He will make sure the team is fired up and ready to fight come Sunday and he makes plays during the game. Whenever a the HC, who is the true leader of this team, calls you out in front of the Team and says we need you to make a play in order for us to win....and he does with a big sack on 4th down, Your a leader......and back to NE game, he made a mistake and then went before the team and apologised......Leaders admit when there wrong....

WOW, another breakthru in sports news!!!

Dear Mr. Super Scout

"Our lives are richer for having having Joey Porter on our team."

Since Joey Porter has joined the team.

1-Someone Stole my Mobile Home
2-The wife left
3-My Dog has flea's
4-My job has been downsized
5-My beer is flat
6-I cant' get ahold of my Doctor Yo G for my prescription of medical marijuana
7-When I do have my prescribed medical marijuana there out of chocolate donuts at the supermarket.

Dear Mr. Sammy

Its after 7:30

Soiled :)

how boute Channing!!! he's young but hes got one hell of a mouth on him. everyone loves him, he keeps everyone loose in the locker room. hes one of the nicest guys u'll ever meet and he is hilariouse plus hes matured sooo much over the last year or so. he soon will be a leading voice of the miami dolphin defense.

I hope CROWDER doesn't SUCK this year. I want a Ray Lewis type LB. It's really the only thing we lack on defense (I know...besides NT depth).

gopats get a life and leave this blog. I wish I could meet you in the streets to knock the snot out of you.

jets SUCK SUCK SUCK and also pats

DJA is drunk .lol

I haven't posted in a while, and I'd like to share some input here. I think the Dolphins are in one of the best shapes in the NFL in terms of mentors and leaders. When you look at the guys you mentioned--Ferguson, Allen, Pennington--those guys are all actively involved and active in their pursuit to make the younger players better. In this respect, the younger guys on the Dolphins have a tremendous advantage than they would if they were on most other teams in the league. Those leaders and mentors certainly don't have to offer their experience and tips to guys who are competing for their jobs, but they do. Furthermore, these rookies are getting some one-on-one, close, teaching, and the mentors these newbies have are some really good, if not great, players offering their insight.

For the future of the franchise, if these rookie egos are willing to keep an open ear, they'll have some really great lessons learned. All they'll have to do apply it to the field.

To me, the vets willing to teach can only mean good things for the future of the Miami Dolphins.

It is simple;

Leader on offence will be Chad
Leader on defence will be Porter

As the season goes along then JT will have a increasing role in leadership.

Although I do like the sauce, I am not under the influnce right now, so 'lol' or what ever you cowardly call yourself now, just leave and do us all a favor.

oh,yes jt will be the man and take us to the promise land my azzz

DJA. You couldn't knock the snot out of perez hilton. LMAO !

it is simple.

leader on offece will be Chad
leader on deffence will be Porter

As the season moves along JT will have a incresing role as leader.


I'll knock something else out of Hilton, but from 'lol' it would be vile, repugnant, new england stink.

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