DIXON LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT

For those who know him, it shouldn't come as a surprise that guard Mark Dixon isn't happy with the way he's been performing during training camp. The fact that he's rarely satistied with his work has helped make him a top-notch NFL offensive lineman.

"He could have a great game, but to him it's an average game," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "He's the type of guy where it's never good enough. He's got a Zach Thomas attitude, and that's why he's such a good player."

Dixon has been limited in training camp so far because of a troublesome back, which he injured while lifting weights during the offseason. Because of the back problem, Dixon has often skipped one of the two sessions when the Dolphins have practiced twice in the same day.

But don't think for a second that Dixon has enjoyed the time off. On the contrary, he asked Wannstedt Wednesday for more snaps at practice.

Dixon has battled minor injuries for a couple of years now, but said Wednesday he was feeling fine.

"I think I'm as close to 100 percent right now as I am going to be," he said. "I don't know if I'll be 100 percent against the rest of my life. This is how I'm going to be from here on out.

"I can play this way, but I have to be in better shape and do some things in the weight room to be better prepared physically."

Dixon has been the Dolphins' starting left guard for the past three seasons, but there has been talk he might be moved to left tackle if newcomer Marcus Spriggs falters during the preseason.

It's a move Dixon would rather not make.

"I need to learn how to play guard right now," he said. "I'm not happy with how I'm playing there. Marcus is definitely a better tackle than I can be. I'm happy where I'm at. I'll do whatever they ask of me, obviously, but barring some catastrophe, I want to compete at left guard and win that position."

That last statement is another example of Dixon's humble nature. He doesn't have to win the left guard job. It's his. He has earned it with solid work over the past couple of seasons.


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