The Dolphins are excited about Sunday's regular-season opener against the New England Patriots. And apparently, fans are too.
We know because the team is expecting a virtual sellout for the game, meaning the game will be telecast locally on Channel 4, picking up the CBS broadcast
The Dolphins can boast televising every home game dating back to December 2000 when a playoff game against Indianapolis was not on local TV because it did not sell out in time. Obviously, there have been games the past two or three years that have not sold out but still were televised because the team guaranteed buying unsold tickets.
But that apparently is not the concern this week. Although some tickets remain available and for sale, the Dolphins are actually thinking the first couple of games -- including this one -- are either sold out or selling out.
Games later in the year against Minnesota and Baltimore and San Diego still have tickets available and are not yet sold out. The Dolphins' have sold approximately 44,000-46,000 season tickets. That number can change as sales continue.
Remember how Don Shula's teams dominated in September home games back in the day? Remember how Shula loved the idea of playing in the heat and having opponents wilt in that heat because they weren't used to the kind of weather South Florida provides even in September?
Well, Joe Philbin is embracing that s0-called hot weather advantage, too.
Although the Dolphins practiced in the (Nick Saban Memorial) bubble today, the coach is excited that Sunday's game against the New England Patriots will be a 1 p.m. kickoff against a team that could not possibly be acclimated to the kind of heat and humidity South Florida will deliver.
"I grew up in Massachusetts and spent my first 18 or 19 years there," Philbin said today. "I know it's hard to simulate this kind of weather up there on a consistent basis. You're going to get a hot spell here and there and you guys know with the rain or lack thereof in practice we've been out here. We've had 22 practices so far and we've been outside for 20 of them."
The forecast for Sunday is 90 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms. The high in Boston on Sunday is forecast to be 72.
As you know, the Dolphins cut Don Jones and the Patriots claimed him on waivers. And that burns me. The Dolphins today dropped D'Aundre Reed from the practice squad and did not sign a former available Patriots player. They added defensive end Gerald Rivers.
So I asked Philbin why not do to the Pats what they'd done to his team -- in order to download valuable information about the opponent?
"We make decisions based what's best for our football team, whatever gives us the best chance to win," Philbin said. "He's on another team. We're not concerned about that right now. We're concerned about guys in our locker room."
Philbin said he's confident kicker Caleb Sturgis is ready to go for the season and, by the way, he expects the second-year player to be better than the 26-of-34 he connected on last season: "This is his second year. We expect him to have a better year than last year."
Mike Pouncey, talking to the media for the first time since being removed from the physically unable to perform list, said he's "very excited" about his rehabilitation and "getting back as soon as possible."
He said he's "grateful" he is not on PUP but walked back his earlier comments in which he targetted the Sept. 28 game versus the Raiders in London as his return date.
"There's no timetable right now," Pouncey said. "For me when I said that it was just you get to play in London only one time in your career and that would be special for me. Right now there's no timetable but I'm hoping I can be back for that game."
Mike Wallace versus Darrelle Revis on Sunday?
"It's possible," Wallace said. "You never know what people are going to do. I'm prepared to play against anybody. It really doesn't matter. If he does follow me it'll be an exciting matchup. I'll have fun. We'll go after it all day long."
Wallace said he's played against Revis -- when Wallace was in Pittsburgh and Revis was with the Jets --four times. Twice, Wallace said, Revis followed him throughout the game.
"He's a good player," Wallace said "He's a smart, crafty guy, he's going to be in the right spots. You have to move him off his spots because he's not going to be fooled with the movement and jerking around at the line. You have to get going and be fast out of your breaks."
Well, I had an anecdote but decided to hold it until later in the week.