DAVIE, Fla. — After a sticky morning on the practice field watching his team officially start their preseason program, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross sat down in the air-conditioned media workroom Friday to answer questions from the gathered media throngs.
Ross, who turned 74 in May, appeared relaxed in his white team polo and khakis as he discussed his thoughts going into the season.
"I think we made a lot of moves. We saw where our weaknesses were and I think that there was improvement last year," he said. "We were all really disappointed with the last two games, but certainly everybody feels we should have been in the playoffs. I think we’ve made some improvements. Certainly, other teams have as well. But I like where we are. I think we have a young team that hopefully is maturing."
According to Ross, results of that maturation process will undoubtedly be seen in the locker room, a place where the team had well-publicized issues last season.
"We’ve been emphasizing respect to one another, communication," Ross said. "We’re all professionals and we’ve all got a job to do. The other message was keeping the focus on football and letting guys concentrate on football."
Ross mostly deflected questions about the latest incident regarding injured Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey but said he spoke personally to the former Florida Gator.
"We’ve spoken after the incidents last year and things like that," Ross said. "I think he wants to put it behind him. I think we all want to grow and I think he certainly knows of that mindset."
Ross also addressed the latest developments regarding the upgrades scheduled to take place at Sun Life Stadium starting after this season.
A new seating bowl will be installed and ready for the 2015 season, while the scoreboards will be replaced and the roof installed in time for 2016.
"We’re very excited about the things we’re doing, both from the business standpoint in a lot of things and enhancing the environment for the players," Ross said. "I told you when I bought the team and how I built my own business, I want to be the best in class."
As for improvements on the field, the new offense is something Ross is looking forward to seeing in action.
"I’m very excited about Bill Lazor and what he brings to the team," Ross said. "I think that’s probably a major improvement that I think we did. Like I said, you’ve got to try things and you just hope you’re right."