The behind-the-scenes way that Tyreek Hill is even better than Miami Dolphins expected
MIAMI GARDENS — Something was bothering Xavien Howard. Bothering him enough that he confided in Tyreek Hill.
The Dolphins were about to go through the second of two joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the short memory that cornerbacks are supposed to have was failing Howard.
The issue: Howard had given up a pass to Julio Jones the day before.
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“So what you going to do about it today?” Hill asked.
“Man, I’m going to kick his ass today,” Howard said.
These were two of the Dolphins’ best players talking a language both understand. When the Dolphins traded for Hill, they knew they were getting a dangerous receiver and one of the fastest players in the NFL.
What they didn’t know is what else came with the package.
“It’s behind the scenes, which has been even better than we thought,” general manager Chris Grier said.
Nowhere is that more evident than in practices, only a limited number of which were open to the public. There, a receiver known for his speed has shown he essentially has only one speed: full. Every play. Every pattern. Nothing halfway.
“You see him, he’s 100%, 100 miles an hour in everything he does and always encouraging people,” Grier said.
Coach Mike McDaniel believes it’s an effort on Hill’s part to make his mark.
“It was obvious that he recognized the opportunity to where he is,” McDaniel said. “I mean, shoot, he’s been a Pro Bowl player every year of his career and came to a very young team. There was an opportunity for him to take his game to another level in terms of leadership and tone-setting and all those things.
“I’m sure he could feel that his teammates were like, ‘Wow, this is Tyreek Hill.’ When he doesn’t make it an option to go full speed — it is like, if you’re on the field, you’re full speed — it changes the teammates for the better and I think he’s really embracing that.”
Thursday, teammates showed the feeling is mutual. Hill and left tackle Terron Armstead were two first-year Dolphins voted by players to be among the seven team captains for the 2022 season.
Howard also was named a captain. The talk he had with Hill over a single pass conceded left an impact on Hill.
“I’m like, ‘Damn, I got clamped up. I going to attack whoever I’ve got to attack today.’ You know what I’m saying?” Hill said. “Usually when you see guys like that, at a certain level like that, they get real complacent, man. So for him wanting to come back out there and grind and compete with one of the best at all positions, receiver Julio Jones, is amazing for me.
“It motivates me to get better each and every day.”
Hill said he never wants to be the guy who gets criticized in a film session for doing anything halfway.
“I’m going to go hard,” Hill said. “When I’m on the field, I’m going to give my teammates my everything. That’s what I do. And I expect the same thing from them.”
Hal Habib covers the Dolphins for The Post. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Going half speed is never an option for Dolphins' Tyreek Hill