Dolphins “rust” hot topic heading into Los Angeles
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins haven’t been on the field for almost a month. Some starters haven’t seen real action in a football game since the second quarter of the third pre-season game.
With the Dolphins losing their bye week due to the hurricane, players have had a long stretch with no action. Naturally there is going to be questions about how well they can execute out of the gate.
The Los Angeles Chargers will have a week to fix or tweak the mistakes they made last week but the Dolphins will have no such luck. The talk of Miami being “rusty” seems to be topic of choice on social media these days.
Armando Salguero wrote about “rust”, several radio shows have brough the topic up, and more than a few websites have discussed it including ESPN. The question is whether or not there is any validity to the talk?
For starters it’s not like the Dolphins have been sitting around drinking milk and eating Krispy Kream donuts. Aside from the break in normal routines after the Dolphin skipped Miami for Oxnard, the Dolphins had been practicing. The team treated the time as if it were a real bye week and let the players have some days off. They returned to practice on Wednesday and had their first team meeting since the hurricane on Tuesday.
The Dolphins are not a team that is a group composed of a lot of youth. They are a good mix of young and older veterans and that should play out well when the club takes the field on Sunday. Miami was able to get some of the bumps and bruises healed from training camp and should be ready to go.
When it comes to rust however it really isn’t about conditioning. It’s about the little details of the game. The fluidity on offense and the ability for Jay Cutler to get down his timing with his receivers. It’s about the defense knowing what the other defenders are going to do as well. It is all relevant and those talking about this bring up valid points. The distractions off the field, the hurricane, the fact they have been on the West coast for what will be over a week, the constant questions about all the distractions.
Miami may not be sharp on Sunday but they only need to be good enough to win. How they do that will be the perseverance of a team and the direction and leadership of a coach who like them has been displaced and inconvenienced. They are all in this together and should be able to shake off any rust together as well.