The Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the draft last April after parting ways with Peyton Manning and closing the book on an era.
Little did anyone know they'd be this good this fast. But here we are a couple of days before the Dolphins play the Colts and I am seriously concerned about this game. What's more, the Dolphins are seriously concerned.
Even as preparations go forward and little seems different with the Dolphins on the surface, there is legitimate worry in the halls of the team's Davie, Fl. training facility. Joe Philbin, the personification of an even keeled sort, has seemed a bit tight this week, according to a couple of players I've spoken to privately.
"Not just [Philbin] but I think everybody," one player kidded. "The F-bomb count in practice has been a little higher than normal this week."
Philbin's shown some concern this week in that he asked players to do more than the usual amount of preparation for this game. That from a guy who wants his players doing a ton of preparation for every game anyway.
"Our focus is going to be, again, this is what we call an uncommon opponent because we don’t play these guys a lot," Philbin said. "They’re new. I’m sure we present some of the same challenges to them obviously, but we kind of appealed to the players that we have to spend some extra time in preparation. It’s not like the Jets who we knew relatively well. We go against those guys all the time, but it’s a different week and we have to be prepared for it."
Philbin has also been worried about the status of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is nursing a swollen and bruised left knee and is likely to be listed as questionable for the game on Friday. Philbin has a phobia about discussing injuries as a matter of policy. But this week he has been actively trying to shut down the conversation of Tannehill's injury, been trying to limit how much reporting is done on what Tannehill is doing in practice, and been trying to even limit the amount of questions the media asks on the topic in press conferences.
The past two days he's made a statement relating Tannehill's limited practice status and then told reporters that's all he'll say on the subject -- the inference being don't ask anything else about it.
"Ryan Tannehill practiced on a limited basis," Philbin said Thursday. "There’s really nothing else new to report on that. We’re going to see how practice unfolds and make the best for the team when we have enough, appropriate information. Beyond that, that’s the quarterback discussion for the day."
Basically, Philbin wants as little information getting to the Colts as possible. And that speaks to a greater issue which is the Dolphins believe they need to find every shred of advantage they can to win this game because, well, they're concerned about the Colts.
The Colts, you must remember, have players with big-game experience on their roster -- much moreso than Miami. Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, Adam Vinatieri, and Antoine Bethea have won a lot of playoff games and even a Super Bowl in Indy.
The Colts, you must remember, have done unexpected damage to teams with playoff hopes this year. They beat Minnesota. They beat Green Bay.
The Colts are at home where they are 3-1, with their only loss coming when Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert completed an 80-yard TD pass to Cecil Shorts with less than one minute to play.
This isn't your run-of-the-mill rebuilding team. They're dangerous. The Dolphins recognize this.
And they're concerned about it.