Dolphins players have been hearing about the Saints, watching the Saints, living the Saints throughout the course of the bye week and this week. Coaches have been telling them how good the Saints are. The media has been telling them how good the Saints are.
And so late this week, players reached the tipping point and screamed a collective, "Enough!"
"I have heard plenty of it," OLB Jason Taylor said of the Saints prowess. "Being off for a week, then having them play the Giants, you hear plenty of this crap for the last couple of days and quite frankly I am tired of hearing about it to be honest.
"We are going to go out there…they are going to run the ball and throw the ball and we are going to go out there and run the ball and throw the ball. We are both going to play defense and we are going to kick the ball when we have to on special teams and let the best team win.”
Taylor, Miami's defensive captain, pretty much reflects the mindset in the Miami locker room that the Saints can be beaten -- even if that has not yet happened this year.
“They have a heck of a quarterback," he said. "They give up hits. The Saints are a good football team. Don’t get me wrong. They have a lot of talent and they play well. They are just like everybody else. There quarterback has gotten hit like I said; you put in a couple of games and you can see them … guys getting pressure on them and doing a good job. They haven’t lost a game this year, but there are plenty of things you can do to try and get some advantages for yourself.
"We need to come out and play and play to the best of our abilities but not overestimate what these guys are too and come in scared.”
The Dolphins are not scared. And some of them think the Saints might be getting a little comfortable with their own record and press clippings and abilities. That's not me saying that.
"They're undefeated, they're probably smelling themselves, rubbing each other's [testicles] and [crap]," linebacker Channing Crowder said.
And maybe they were. But only until the Dolphins started saying so. And then the quotes got back to New Orleans and coach Sean Payton.
"I think paying attention to a lot of it, when you look at the dialogue, [the Dolphins are] looking forward to playing a game," Payton said. "Really if you study it closely there's probably mutual respect with both in terms of the capabilities. I don't think we've really taken it that way looking closely at the dialogue. I think that both teams understand what's necessary to win, the importance of eliminating mistakes in a game like this and being able to handle the weather. It will be warmer. I think they're looking forward to playing a game just like we were. You get a little antsy."
And when he was finished giving the politically correct answer to the media, when he was out of sight of the microphones, Payton laughed a sinister laugh and schemed how he could use the quotes from Miami players to his advantage.
And then he made sure Saints players heard the quotes. According to this video blog from the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "there is no doubt" Payton has brought the Miami quotes to his players in an effort to keep them interested in playing a 2-3 team.
And so now the Saints probably are not rubbing each other anymore -- or probably not rubbing each other as much.
So have the Dolphins awoken a sleeping giant? Did the bye week, which is a preparation advantage, work against the Dolphins in regards to saturating them with so much Saints bile that it leaked into the public sphere? Or is bulletin board material a bunch of hooey, meaning the better team always wins robotically regardless of motivation and emotion and stupid things like that?
My take is the Saints benefitted from the quotes out of Miami. It's human nature that a team coming off a big win last week against New York and facing big games the next two weeks (Atlanta and Carolina) might suffer a letdown game against a 2-3 team.
But when that 2-3 team basically calls you out, that can change your outlook on the game. And I think it has for New Orleans.