DAVIE, Fla. There are seven Miami Dolphins remaining from the team's brutal 2007 campaign. So far, none has dared mention that season to teammate Tony McDaniel.
McDaniel then was playing 300 miles north in Jacksonville. Still, he figures the Dolphins, off to a 0-4 start, don't need anybody bringing up how the 2007 outfit began 0-13 and finished 1-15, the worst mark in team history.
"I ain't heard no one mention it yet (inside) the locker room, but I probably would fight a guy if I heard him say it in here, like one of my teammates," said the 6-foot-7, 305-pound McDaniel, a defensive tackle few want to tangle with. "If one of my teammates would have brought it up in the locker room, me and him probably would have gotten in a fight (because) that's negative energy."
Safety Yeremiah Bell is one of the holdovers from the 2007 team that suffering an agonizing 16-13 overtime defeat in the opener at Washington and kept on losing. The Dolphins didn't win until defeating Baltimore 22-16 on Dec. 16, 2007, which interestingly was the day the 17-0 Dolphins team of 1972 was honored on its 35th anniversary.
No, Bell isn't planning to talk to McDaniel about that season.
"It's like a taboo," said Bell, whose Dolphins will try to get their first win this season Monday night at the New York Jets. "That's something that you go through and then you just forget right away once it's over and you never want to talk about it again."
In reality, though, Bell hasn't forgotten. He talked plenty with FOX Sports Florida about 2007.
Bell actually was lost for that season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon suffered in the opener against the Redskins. But he was around that team enough to believe this year's outfit is totally different and no way will come close to losing 13 straight to start a season.
"We didn't have nearly as good players as we have now," Bell said. "It was kind of a nonchalant mood in the locker room (in 2007), like no energy or anything like that. That's one thing you don't see with this team. This team is full of energy and guys want to win. On that team, I can't say that everybody wanted to win.... It's totally different (this year). We still got energy and we know we're a good team... Back then, we may have felt like we were a good team but it was some people who didn't buy in and I feel like on this team everybody buys in."
Bell won't give names of the alleged malcontents from the sinking ship in 2007.
"Just the feeling of every week going into the game and not expecting to win, really," Bell said of what was the worst thing about 2007. "Now, we expect to win. But back then it was more, 'Let's go out here and play and let's not go out here and try to win."'
The Dolphins actually did come close to winning a number of times in Cam Cameron's one season as coach. Including the loss to the Redskins, they dropped six games by three points before finally breaking through against the Ravens.
Now, the Dolphins, with Tony Sparano in his fourth season as coach and on the hot seat, are off to their third start of 0-4 or worse in eight years. And it's not out of the question this season could get really ugly.
The Dolphins in their last game saw starting quarterback Chad Henne go down for the season with a shoulder injury. With backup Matt Moore taking over, the Jets are seven-point favorites Monday in a game wide receiver Brandon Marshall called his Dolphins "under, under, under, under, under, under, under, underdogs."
If the Dolphins fall to 0-5, next Sunday's home game against Denver could mark a good chance to break through. But Miami will be operating on a short week while the Broncos will be coming off a bye week. If the Dolphins fall to 0-6, they would have to win on the road vs. the New York Giants or Kansas City to avoid going winless in the first half of the season.
"We're desperate for a win and we'll do just about anything to do it," said Bell, in his eighth Dolphins season.
In addition to Bell, survivors from 2007 are cornerback Will Allen, guard Vernon Carey, long snapper John Denney, punter Brandon Fields, defensive tackle Paul Soliai and linebacker Jason Taylor. Taylor hasn't played continuously for the Dolphins since 2007 but returned to the team this season after playing 2010 with the Jets.
"Long and terrible," Carey said when asked about his worst memories of 2007. "But this is a different team. We got a lot of players that won't let that happen. We won't let that happen. I just got that deep in my heart where we won't let that happen We got a lot of young guys here. You had more older guys who were more of a different mindset (in 2007)."
The Dolphins are off to their fourth 0-4 start in their history. But they've actually never won when 0-4.
The AFL expansion team of 1966 started 0-5 and the 2004 team began 0-6. Then came the 0-13 start of 2007, when the Dolphins, with the members of the 1972 team watching, nearly provided a mirror opposite of that 14-0 regular season.
"It's a different group of guys that are here now that were here back then," said Fields, a rookie in 2007. "It's a totally different atmosphere and mindset There's no point in bringing it up (what happened in 2007). It serves no purpose."
It looks pretty certain Fields isn't about to talk about 2007 to McDaniel. But it would be incorrect to say nobody has mentioned that season to the big defensive tackle.
"Like maybe getting dinner or something like that, and guys will come talk to me about the Dolphins," McDaniel said. "I have heard a couple of fans brought (the 2007 season) up a couple of times. But I said that's definitely not the case (that these Dolphins could resemble the 2007 team)."
Did McDaniel fight them?
"I can't do that with the fans, man," McDaniel said with a laugh.
If the losses start to pile up for the Dolphins, at least talk radio won't have to put out a warning that fans speak at their own risk should they chose to compare this team to the 2007 Dolphins.