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  Phins.com Interview with Greg Camarillo
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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Greg Camarillo is no stranger to adversity.


In 2005, he was an undrafted free agent out of Stanford when he was signed by the San Diego Chargers. He managed to last two seasons with the Chargers before being waived and subsequently claimed by the Miami Dolphins. Dolphin head coach Cam Cameron was familiar with Camarillo from his stint there as offensive coordinator and moved quickly to sign him.


It turned out to be the best personnel move that Cameron made during his brief stay in Miami.


Without the scrappy Camarillo, it can be argued that the Dolphins would have become the first team in NFL history to go 0-16. On one of the most famous plays in Dolphin history (Scat-Left-Ernie was the play call), Camarillo scored in overtime versus the Ravens to earn the Dolphins their only win of that miserable 2007 year.


With the arrival of Bill Parcells in 2008, a new coach and philosophy were introduced and Camarillo would have to prove himself all over again. Camarillo not only made the team, he started all 11 games before tearing the ACL in his left knee during a November home loss to the New England Patriots. It was a terrible setback for one of the teamís up-and-coming young players because he was on pace for a 75 catch, 1,000 yard season.


ACL injuries tend to affect a player well into the following season; there is always some lingering physical encumbrance and mental hesitation for a period of time after a player returns to the field. Camarillo was no different when training camp opened. He was sluggish, more tentative, and lacked the explosiveness in his route running that he enjoyed prior to the injury. To his credit, Camarillo refused to use this as an excuse. He simply continued to work hard and compete. When the dust settled he not only managed to keep his starting job, he started all 16 games.


While his numbers were down from the shortened 2008 campaign, with no touchdowns to show for his efforts, the Dolphins remained patient throughout in allowing him to find his game again. Indeed, Camarilloís production went up by 10 catches over the back half of the year versus the front as his strength and explosiveness began to return.


With a solid offseason of conditioning and a strong, young QB in Chad Henne, Camarillo expects to enjoy a fine 2010 season. This is a good thing given the teamís need for improved play from the passing game.


I visited briefly with Camarillo at the Dolphins Training Facility in Davie to get his take on this past season, and what to expect in the future.


Itís been over a year since the injury. How are you feeling?

I feel good. Iíve not had any setbacks, knock on wood, through the course of the year. Iím happy to say my knee is no longer a factor.


But isnít the rehab an ongoing thing to keep the knee strong?

Yeah, you always have to keep an eye on it and make sure nothingís wrong. But everythingís been fine, getting my strength back. Itís a long process but Iím happy to say it doesnít hinder the way I play.


Scat-Left-ErnieÖyou still get asked about it?

You know, I named my dog Ernie (laughter). So itís a constant reminder. A lot of teams run it, so we see it on scout team that same play. I always try to hint to our offense that itís time to throw that in (laughter). So it comes up pretty often.


Have you tried to make a case to the coaches to get more touches?

No. You know, when you capitalize on opportunities theyíll give you more opportunities. We have four solid receivers who have been playing in games and the most I can do is catch the ball when itís thrown to me.


Has there been any thought to expanding your role on special teams in the future?

I do whatever the coaches want me to do. If they want me to play special teams, Iíll play special teams. If they want me to (just) be a receiver, Iíll be a receiver. If they say Ďgo out there and play DBí Iíll give my best shot at that. Whatever they tell me to do, Iíll do it.


How do you approach your work during the offseason, outside of conditioning?

You have to take an honest look at yourself and find what your (biggest) weaknesses are and focus on improving that. If you take a general approach and say ĎIím going to fix everythingí, you might not progress as well as if you just focus one or two things and perfect those. Every offseason Iíll find what I felt needed the most work and Iíll focus on that aspect of my game.


Some guys believe you can improve your speed over time. Do you agree with that?

Of course. You can always improve (that). Thereís all kinds of different drills you can do to focus on your speed. Contrast that with if strength is your focus, you can get a lot stronger. Itís a matter of whether or not you want to work at it.


Will any of your preparation need to change this year with the change from Chad Pennington to Chad Henne?

Not really. A receiver-quarterback connection is built on chemistry. I can only do my part as a receiver (by being) consistent and running the same kind of routes so he knows exactly where Iím going to be.


What are your personal goals as a player?

Iím trying to get into the playoffs and win some championships. Thatís a personal goal as well as a team goal. I personally want to have that on my resume. I personally want to wear a Super Bowl ring. Thatís our goal. Whatever I have to do to get there, Iím willing to do.

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