Long Looking to Come Back Strong

Jake Long's new haircut was a hot topic when reporters converged on the big offensive tackle Wednesday afternoon. While it's trivial stuff that has little to do with football, it's a safe bet that Long preferred those questions to the ones that followed, the ones about all the criticism that's been directed at him since his rough outing at Indianapolis on Sunday.

"Honestly, I don't even listen to that stuff," Long said. "I listen to what the coaches tell me, I listen to my teammates say. I don't care what anybody says about me. I'm working hard every single day. I'm working hard to get better. None of that stuff bothers me."

But when a follow-up question about his performance against the Colts was asked, Long seemed to take exception.

"Listen, I'm going to have a couple of bad plays here and there," he said. "Geez. But I'm working hard correcting the mistakes. I'll be fine."

The man sitting to the right of him in the locker rook, guard Richie Incognito, shook his head when he was asked about the flak Long has taken since Sunday.

"I guess that's a compliment to Jake and how great of a player he is," Incognito said. "He has one bad game and there's a lot of questions. Jake is a competitor. He had a great practice today. He came out firing and it's exciting to see that. He gets his competitive juices flowing and he's going to have a good game this week."

Long and his teammates will be facing the Tennessee Titans this weekend, and Long will be going up against defensive end Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan, two former first-round picks.

It was another first-round pick, Dwight Freeney, who gave Long problems on Sunday, specifically with his speed around the edge.

"Yeah, I had some bad plays," Long admitted. "But it's going to happen and it's not acceptable and I'm going to work to get better and I have full faith in myself and everything will be good."

As a whole, it was not a good game for the Dolphins offensive line, which was flagged for several penalties, allowed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to get hit often and didn't open many holes for the running game.

But nobody heard about it as much as Long.

Not that the former first overall pick needs to be told when he makes a mistake.

"I'm very critical," he said. " I'm never happy with how I play. I always want to play better. I had some bad plays out there, but they're all correctable and I'm going to correct it and get better. It's just got to get better and I will."

As for the new hair, Long went from having flowing locks to having almost a crew cut.

"Everybody was liking the long hair," he said, "but it was time to go."