NFL Football
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Homeless Dolphins seek road victory in L.A.

(TSX / STATS) -- OXNARD, Calif. -- The Miami Dolphins are practicing at the Dallas Cowboys training camp facility this week after fleeing South Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

When the Dolphins take the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers (0-1), they will battle Philip Rivers and Co., as well as their trying circumstances.

Head coach Adam Gase thinks his team will be OK.

"I'm not really worried about this group," he said Wednesday after practice in Oxnard, Calif. "They've been through a lot over the last year and half with some of the challenges we met last year and going into this year. Everything hasn't always been smooth, but these guys, they battle and they fight and they handle adversity as good as anybody I've been around."

Still, players must keep their minds on football, and that won't be easy this week.

"When we're not at practice or in meetings, the real world is going to take over," defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said.

At least players know they'll be returning home after the game. Hard Rock Stadium has been deemed structurally sound. The team's practice facility in Davie, Fla., also has been deemed structurally sound and ready to be used.

Miami had a plan to practice at The Greenbrier in West Virginia if their practice facility had sustained serious damage.

As for the game, the Chargers will challenge Miami both offensively and defensively.

Rivers will try to utilize tight end Antonio Gates, wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin and running back Melvin Gordon to protect their homefield.

The Dolphins, 30th against the run last year, must first stop Gordon and then worry about stopping the passing game. The first line of defense is the defensive line of ends Cam Wake and Andre Branch and tackles Ndamukong Suh and Davon Godchaux.

Offensively, Miami will use running back Jay Ajayi as the foundation and use quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receivers Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills to do the rest of the damage.

Miami's bigger challenge, however, might be staying focused during the days leading up to the game.

Again, Gase expressed confidence his guys won't allow their minds to stray back home to possible Hurricane Irma damage and difficulties.

"I think a lot of our guys, once we started today, they've wired in on what we're doing," Gase said. "They've handled a lot of their business and communicated with the people they need to communicate with back home to figure out what's going on and our guys have done a good job of keeping focused on what we have to do today. That's kind of our job."

Suh only sees this whole California trip as a speed bump.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal honestly, because we did this last year," Suh said in reference to Miami staying on the West Coast for the Rams and Chargers games.

"We were away for two weeks when we played, coincidentally, San Diego and then played L.A. (Rams), so it's something that I think this team is used to, and it shouldn't be an issue, by any means."

--Head coach Adam Gase watched "a good amount" of football Sunday, something he found a bit odd.

"Usually on the bye week you watch a little bit, but you almost avoid it a little bit," Gase said. "You'd rather not watch it sometimes. We hadn't played a game yet. You're watching guys that you've worked with before or friends of yours to see how their season is going to start off. That was interesting to kind of be a spectator that first week."

Gase never got close to facing Hurricane Irma.

"I left on Wednesday, so I was out of Florida on Wednesday after we found out what was going on and then my family was gone that night," he said.

Any damage at the house from the hurricane?

"I have no idea," he said. "I haven't asked. I'm not worried about it."

--The Dolphins can practice at home next week, which is better than the alternative of practicing in West Virginia. The Dolphins had their practice facility declared structurally sound after Hurricane Irma passed, and that's a great comfort.

"The fact that we can go back to our facility, our houses, that's nice," coach Adam Gase said. "Get back on the East Coast and get ready for that next game. We weren't sure what it was going to be and just to get that answer that soon, that was nice."

--The Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys offered help to the Dolphins during their relocation due to Hurricane Irma. The Cowboys offered their training camp facility and the Rams offered technology help.

"Everybody's been great," coach Adam Gase said. "I got here Saturday and it kind of had already started. The Rams helped us out with a lot of stuff. I don't know how many IT guys they had sent over here to help our guys.

"They sent over a whole bunch of stuff as far as equipment that we needed, and made it easy for our guys to get things rolling before our stuff got here. Everybody's been great and making sure we're taken care of. It just seems like all hands were on deck to help us out."

NOTES: MLB Rey Maualuga didn't practice Wednesday due to a hamstring issue. It's unclear if the ailment is related to Maualuga reporting overweight and out of shape. ... QB Jay Cutler said he watched the Los Angeles Chargers-Denver game last week, and he offered this assessment of the Charger defense: "I thought they played a tough game," he said. "A division opponent like that, they fought back there in the third and fourth quarter. I think Philip (Rivers) is always going to give them a chance to win throughout the game, but it's a good defense. The front seven is good. The secondary is talented. So we'll have our hands full." ... RT Ja'Wuan James will have his hands full between DEs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The Chargers move the ends so James and LT Laremy Tunsil will get a shot at both. Ingram and Bosa had 1.5 sacks each last week in a 24-21 loss at Denver. ... WR DeVante Parker will go against one of the NFL best in CB Casey Hayward, a Pro Bowl selection last season after leading the NFL with seven interceptions. Parker must show he can consistently compete with top-level wide receivers if he is to realize his incredible potential, and this would be a good start.

... C Mike Pouncey, who is trying to manage a hip ailment, will be watched closely this week and in the days after the game. Pouncey, the three-time Pro Bowl selection who only played five games last season, will likely only practice once a week, which was basically his routine during preseason. ... WR Jakeem Grant had a nightmarish showing last season against the Chargers, mishandling three punts and kickoffs. Grant, who was dogged by his poor ball-handling last season, must show he has changed his ways from a year ago and the season opener would be a good time to start. ... DE William Hayes will get a chance to continue his reputation as a run stuffer against Chargers RB Melvin Gordon. Hayes, acquired from the Los Angeles Rams, was acquired specifically to stop the run and if he can do that he'll prove to be a valuable addition. Hayes delivered fairly well during training camp and preseason. ... CB Byron Maxwell will be under the spotlight this week as he tries to defend WRs Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams. Philadelphia seemed to pick on Maxwell during the third preseason game, often going at him in 1-on-1 situations and seemingly avoiding CB Xavien Howard on the other side. If Maxwell can't get the job done this week, look for CB Alterraun Verner to get the call. ...

LG Anthony Steen gets a shot at starting this week and he will be tested by Chargers DT Corey Liuget. Steen has showed promise as a reserve but hasn't yet showed he's good enough to be a fulltime starter. .. RB Kenyan Drake figures to be a big part of the game plan this week and all season. The key is going to be getting him touches. But Drake is so versatile he could get carries, receptions and kickoff returns, so there are potentially a lot of opportunities to get the ball in his hands.

Updated September 13, 2017

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2017 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.