All it took was that first coach’s whistle to jolt the Miami Dolphins players back to reality and remind them that their bye week is over.
Four days away from the team’s practice facility enabled the veterans and rookies to recharge their batteries and refocus their minds on the big divisional game this Sunday at the New York Jets. So this bonus first practice was a chance for Head Coach Joe Philbin and his staff to get a jumpstart on what they want to accomplish this week.
“We had an aggressive schedule with good meetings in the morning and a workout,” Philbin said. “I think the practice was decent. I haven’t seen the tape yet but I think having been through a couple of first days back after the bye I thought it was a good start to the week.”
Some of the players never left South Florida and opted to spend time with their families while at the same time making sure they did a little conditioning work on their bodies. Others traveled either to their hometowns to reunite with friends and family members back there or to the islands to truly get away from football for a few days.
When it was time to put on their helmets and shoulder pads again, there was eagerness among the players to ramp it up and recover some of the momentum they gained in back-to-back victories over the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams. They had to temper that enthusiasm a little on the practice field.
“A lot of guys were flying around and we had more energy out there today,” said cornerbackNolan Carroll, who has started the last two games in place of the injured Richard Marshall. “Everybody was more aware at meetings and just that anxiety to get started again and get to a rivalry week right off the bye week is something that we acknowledge. We know this is a big game because we’re fighting for that top spot in the division still and it’s a tight race. We see it as a 10-game season now for us.”
Center Mike Pouncey was one of those players that got away as he and his girlfriend took a trip to Jamaica. He still was able to find a television on Saturday showing his alma mater, the University of Florida, beat up on South Carolina to the tune of 44-11.
Being as he at the center of the action in the trenches definitely takes its toll on Pouncey’s body, so he welcomed the four days off perhaps more than anybody. He also can’t wait to see the Jets again after experiencing the 23-20 overtime loss to them back on September 23rd.