Suppose you were a member of the Miami Dolphins and it was getting a little hot out on the practice field and getting a little loud with coaches climbing all over everybody for missing assignments.
Well, one thing you know is that head coach Adam Gase and his assistants like to trash talk during workouts in order to ramp up the competition and the fun. So an idea pops into your helmet. Why not pair a couple of those staffers against each other and see how they hold up under the heat and the pressure.
My suggestion in this scenario is wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson vs. defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Both played in the NFL and both were pesky enough to contribute to wins over the Dolphins.
Jefferson, 47, had the longer career, playing in a couple of Super Bowls with the Chargers and the Patriots and catching 29 passes overall. Not bad for a guy who was drafted in the ninth round out of Central Florida and had to scrap for everything he could get.
Don’t hold it against him, but in 1998 Jefferson caught the winning 25-yard touchdown pass in a 26-23 New England victory over the Dolphins.
How long ago was that? Well, Drew Bledsoe was the Patriots quarterback and Pete Carroll was their coach. Also, the game was played at 60,000-seat Foxboro Stadium, clunky predecessor to Gillette. The old place was rocking that Monday night, however, when Jefferson crossed the goal line with 29 seconds to play.
And what about Joseph, 43, who played 17 games as an NFL cornerback, including six starts with the Jets in 1995?
One of his career highlights was a 39-yard interception return to help hold off Miami late in a 17-16 Jets win at the Meadowlands. Again, this would sound like ancient history to the Dolphins he is coaching now. The Miami quarterback he intercepted that day was Bernie Kosar, and the opposing head coaches were Don Shula, in his final season, and Rich Kotite.
Anyway, Jefferson and Joseph surely are competitive enough to line up one more time against each other for the entertainment and the motivation of their particular units. It sounds like the kind of thing that used to have the Dolphins hooting and hollering inside the practice bubble during those crazy days when Dan Campbell was running the team.
Sounds like the kind of alpha dogfight that Gase enjoys, offseason or on.