Ed Thompson: What's going on down in Miami? How are you feeling heading into another season with the Dolphins?
Davone Bess: I feel good right now. Obviously, having a year under my belt, I'm going out there a lot more confident. I can just go out there and play ball now. I don't really have to worry about thinking too much or the coaches throwing too much at me.
Thompson: What went through your head as the 2008 NFL Draft closed and your name still hadn’t been called? You had a great college career and I’m sure you knew that you had the talent to be successful.
Bess: Obviously, it was really disappointing not getting drafted. But at the same time, I use every negative thing and turn it into a positive.
Bess ranked third in receptions among rookies in 2008.
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Thompson: I had a feeling that you would be ready to prove to everyone that they had made a mistake.
Bess: Exactly. I love being the underdog man! No pressure, no nothing. You can just go out and do what you've got to do. Just go handle your business and block everybody else out.
Thompson: Talk a little bit about the Miami Dolphins offense and why you think you're able to excel in their offensive scheme.
Bess: We have a great coaching staff, and our offensive coordinator is really smart when it comes to picking certain players for certain roles. We're not a one-dimensional team, we're able to do a whole bunch of things within our offense. A lot of people didn't expect us to do as well as we did last year, to go that far. Obviously, that made us feel good and now we have something else to prove.
Thompson: What have learned to appreciate about your quarterback, Chad Pennington?
Bess: We call him “the coach” in the classroom. He's one of the guys that makes me and all of the other players better. He's a real smart, humble, hardworking guy. For him to be heading into his tenth year is really valuable to our team. He's a big part of why we were so successful last year -- just his leadership role and his experience. You know, experience is half the battle in the NFL. The other half is just going out, playing ball and being confident.
Thompson: I look down through the Dolphins' receivers, primarily at you, Ted Ginn, Greg Camarillo and Patrick Turner, and I have to believe that the training camp competition is going to be very competitive.
Bess: It's stressful, but everybody is working hard and there are no grudges. Everybody's going out and competing. Me personally, anytime the rookies or anybody has a question for me, I'm the first one to give my feedback and what I think they should do better. You know, I'm trying to help myself at the same time, making sure we all have an even shot. At the end of the day, the guys up top make the ultimate decision of who's going to play. All we can do is go out everyday, work hard and leave the rest to the coaches. The best will come out of the competition.
Bess became a favorite target of Chad Pennington down the stretch.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Thompson: Davone, you caught 54 passes during your rookie season even though you only had six starts. You have to be pleased with that since there are veterans who start 16 games and catch maybe 50, 60 passes.
Bess: Yeah, I get excited. It was unfortunate when Camarillo went down and got hurt, but obviously, when he went down my role expanded. I made the most of the opportunity when the coaches gave me that shot and I've never wanted to look back. I take every opportunity like it's my last. Me and Chad built a pretty good connection towards the end of the season and he kept coming my way. Hopefully we can keep things going from the beginning of the season to the end and make it happen again.
Thompson: What is it about Tony Sparano as a head coach that inspires you guys?
Bess: He just means business, you know? When you're a head coach, you've got to be somebody your players can respect. You can't just be a pushover. He's has respect from every single player. And it's a trickle-down effect from (Bill) Parcells and it comes on down to Coach Sparano, and from Sparano to the other coaches. That's what the ultimate goal is, getting all the players to buy into what the coaches are talking about and to believe in them. After that, it's just going and applying it to the field and making it work.
Thompson: What's the mood been like as you’ve all come together and started working out? I've got to think that after the confidence your team gained last year, everyone has to be buzzing about the Dolphins’ prospects for a big year.
Bess: It's real exciting. We've been working hard for the past couple of months with offseason workouts. Next thing you know, training camp will be here, so it's going to be exciting to see what the 2009 Miami Dolphins are all about. We''re putting in the work. We're putting in the time. Now it's just a matter of us going out and wanting it more than our opponents.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.