I'm baaaack. As the Dolphins have been off the past few days, I was similarly in rest mode. The club returns to work Monday and so does the publication of this blog.
Check back this afternoon for updates on nose tackle Jason Ferguson's serious injury. Check back for the status of center Jake Grove, whose status is also in question based on the ankle injury he sustained last Thursday versus Carolina.
In the meantime there are some thoughts I have circulating in my head.
First, as I write in my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald, the Dolphins have rebounded from their potentially catastrophic first three weeks of the season. Remember black September? It brought the Dolphins three losses and a starting quarterback that went out for the year.
It would be a potentially season-killing blow to most teams. It wasn't for Miami.
The column details why not and some other setbacks the Dolphins have overcome to reach 5-5.
Watching the NFL action this weekend was interesting as it relates to the Dolphins.
Watching Cincinnati lose to Oakland, watching Pittsburgh lose to Kansas City, I couldn't help but think about the Dolphins and how they simply don't allow upsets.
Since the Bill Parcells-Jeff Ireland-Tony Sparano era began, the Dolphins have lost 10 games. I would have expected each one of those losses because they came against understandably superior teams -- teams more talented or simply more complete.
But games against inferior teams -- teams such as St. Louis, Seattle, Oakland, Kansas City, San Francisco, Buffalo, or Tampa Bay?
The Dolphins simply do not lose those type of games. They don't play down to the level of the competition. They don't lose focus against such inferior teams. They avoid the mojo-killing upsets.
That's important because the Dolphins have a couple of those games coming in this season's final six weeks. One of those is Sunday at Buffalo against the 3-7 and nose-diving Bills. The Dolphins cannot afford a letdown against such a down-and-out team.
Their recent history suggests they won't suffer that problem.
By the way, if the season ended today, the Dolphins would not be in the playoffs. They are currently on the outside looking in. Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Denver are tied for the two wild-card spots with 6-4 records. Houston can join this group with a victory tonight.
The Dolphins find themselves in the same group with Baltimore and Houston (should it lose tonight) as teams one game back of the wild-card pack. But here's the rub:
The Dolphins play Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and Houston before the season is out so they have the ability to close the gap.
Looking at it, the season's final two weeks at home -- against Houston and Pittsburgh -- are beginning to loom as season-making or season-breaking weeks.
The season promises to hit a climax at just the right time!
Check back later.