I don't know about football, but the Dolphins are in midseason interview form.
As you know the Dolphins are taking it on the bottlenose from national pundits saying the team is basically a big pile of poo. Sports Illustrated picked them to finish last in the AFC East. No one at the four-letter monolith picked them to get to the playoffs. ProFootballtalk.com slated them the 29th rated team in the NFL.
The Fins don't seem to care much about those opinions.
"A lot of people are doubting us and they better get ready," linebacker Koa Misi said. "Because we're ready for the challenge."
Said Jake Long: "We're not listening to anybody out there questioning us. We know what we can or can't do. And we know what we're going to do. We're working real hard and coming together as a team and doing a good job."
The Dolphins open the season with a primetime game against New England on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium. They come back the following Sunday with a 4:15 game against Houston at Sun Life Stadium.
Back-to-back home games to open the season. Advantage, no?
Coach Tony Sparano believes this game isn't quite the advantage it should be or could be, if say, some billionaire and marketing folks weren't screwing stuff up for the football side of this organization.
"Yeah, it should be an advantage, it's probably more [of an advantage] at 1 o'clock in the afternoon," Sparano said. "It should be an advantage. Playing a game at 7 o'clock at night, it'll be hot for both teams. But it won't be 1 o'clock hot."
Anyone who has followed this team knows one reason the Dolphins are lately not playing as many (or any) 1 p.m. home game early in the season is because club owner Stephen Ross actually asked the NFL to schedule the home games later in the afternoon or at night.
By the way, Ross also authored the infrequent use of the team's old fight song -- you know, Miami has the Dolphins, the great football team, we're in the air ...
Ross dislikes the song. It used to play after every score. Now it plays only at the start of the fourth quarter. There have been grumblings it would be brought back, but so far ... nothing.
I reported in the previous post that the Dolphins piped in crowd noise today during their practice. This is a routine thing during weeks a team is going to travel. But this week the Dolphins host the Patriots. And, yet, they have to get their offense ready for loud visiting fans.
I asked Sparano if he'd ever seen a team pipe in crowd noise for practice on a home-game week while he was coaching anywhere else in his career.
"No, never did it before," Sparano admitted. "One of the reasons we do it here is we are in South Florida and the New England teams and New York teams, there's a a lot of fans out here. They have a good fan base themselves. Somehow they make their way into our stadium.
"That being said, you have to prepare for it. The way you prepare for it is two-fold -- in other words, our people being loud when we're on defense, because those guys do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage. We want our fans loud. And then I imagine however many fans they have here, that will be the case, too.
"I want no surprises for our football team when we walked out there. So that's what we did."
The realities of being a South Florida team that doesn't sell out.
Running back Reggie Bush addressed that very topic during his interview session. He sees himself as a conduit for helping the area get re-energized about football.
"We want to bring passion back to Miami," Bush said.
On a football note: Long has been practicing at his typical left tackle spot for several weeks now despite the fact he didn't play a down in the preseason. Yet Sparano said he's not worried about Long being ready for the season.
"The guy's played about 5,000 plays in three years. I'm pretty confident I know what's going to happen and pretty confident I know what it's going to take him to get ready to play. Going into today he had close to 200 snaps [in practice] and going into the game he'll probably have close to 350 plays, which to be honest is a couple of hundred away from where the rest of the guys are."
What does Long have to say about the matter? Watch. Listen. Learn.
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