Some Dolfans that had a wide view of the season-finale against New England figured the Dolphins might be playing for a playoff spot while the Patriots wouldn't really have much to play for as they had already qualified for the playoffs and perhaps a rest for the postseason beckoned.
Well, it turns out the Patriots have a lot more to play for than Miami. So forget the idea of Tom Brady taking the day off or the Patriots laying down against Miami.
Indeed, with the Dolphins season all but over, it is Miami coach Joe Philbin that is concerned about his players not going to the game with the same attention span and intensity that they normally carry. And he made that point to the team at their meeting today.
"Obviously it's a concern," Philbin said today. "When I signed on to coach the 2012 Miami Dolphins, I knew there were 16 regular season games to be coached. I have the same focus and our staff has the same focus and same sense of urgency we had when we opened the season in Houston. There shouldn't be guys talking about what I'm doing New Year's Eve or I'm doing this, that and the other thing. Because we know the task at hand is a large one. So absolutely it's a challenge."
Nope, Philbin doesn't want to see his players packing their golf clubs in the their trunks this week. And as for that happening in New England? Forget it.
The Patriots may be playing for a first-round bye if they win and get help elsewhere.
"I'm sure we’ll all be aware of that, yeah. No question," quarterback Tom Brady said. "But I don’t think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think we’re trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but that’s really out of our control. We’re just going to go out and try to win.
And why is winning so important regardless of whether it means a first-round bye or not?
"We’re trying to build some confidence this week in what we’re doing, go out and have good practices, and go out and see if we can execute better than we have been," Brady said.
"I'm sure we’ll all be aware of that, yeah. No question. But I don’t think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think we’re trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but that’s really out of our control. We’re just going to go out and try to win.