"I'm asking him about his season, and he's like, 'We're 0-3 right now, but you guys were 1-15,'" Holliday says with a laugh. "That's what it has come to
-- even your family and friends joking about 1-15. It's serious to me. He didn't know he hurt my feelings, but he did.
"That's the way it has been around here. We're trying to change that."
For last year's Dolphins, the past two games have been the best possible pain relief. With upset wins over January's AFC finalists, New England and San Diego, Miami has back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly two years.
A 2-2 record rarely felt so good. It means regardless of what happens in the next three months, including Sunday's game at Houston, the Dolphins are better than a year ago.
"We're not going to be 1-15," Holliday says.
He's one of 26 players remaining from the 2007 humiliation. For them, the turnaround the past three weeks is especially sweet.
"It's only two wins," linebacker Matt Roth says. "But coming from last year, it seems like we're on top of the world."
Once a playoff perennial, the Dolphins have had little success to savor in recent years. Not one player remains from Miami's 2001 team, the most recent to make the postseason. Losses in the first two games this year made it 20 defeats in the past 21 games.
Then came the abrupt turnaround. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Dolphins became the first team since the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers to beat conference finalists from the preceding year in consecutive games.
Those Steelers went on to the playoffs.
"The Dolphins are here," receiver Greg Camarillo says. "We have arrived. Other teams would doubt us before. Now they have to prepare to play a great team. We're ready to play anybody."
Last year everybody wanted to play the Dolphins, who flirted with becoming the first NFL team to go 0-16 until Camarillo caught a touchdown pass in overtime in the 14th game.
More than half the roster has since turned over under a new regime led by Bill Parcells. The steadily shrinking group of holdovers wondered about job security as first-year coach Tony Sparano and his staff auditioned several dozen newcomers during training camp.
"They were bringing in 30 or 40 guys, and you're like, 'Man, what's this all about?'" Roth says. "But if you make plays, they like you. That's what they tell you from day one. It was a little frustrating to see all these guys come in, but we've jelled real well. The strong survive here."
Not that Sparano didn't appreciate the frustration endured by the team he inherited. He watched the tragedy play out game by game.
"I came here and we dove into the film, and there was a point where I was watching all of this tape where you see them trying so hard, and it just didn't work out," Sparano says. "That part of me is what feels good for this team right now
-- it's that all of a sudden, those players are starting to feel pretty good."
The holdovers are instrumental in the Dolphins' improvement.