After going up against each other in practice without being able to really let loose for one week, the Miami Dolphins will do just that tomorrow morning at Sun Life Stadium. Players will take the field at 9:15 in front of the largest group of fans they will have seen so far as the practice is free and open to the public, with parking also free.
“Being out there in front of the fans is always fun,” said left guard
There is a completely different atmosphere during a scrimmage than at a regular practice, especially in this case since the team will be taking buses from Davie to Miami Gardens and preparing as if it’s an actual game. Head Coach Joe Philbin expects to see a bit of apprehension from the rookies experiencing this regimen for the first time.
From Philbin’s perspective and that of his coaching staff, this will be an excellent chance for them to see their players in a different light and help get them acclimated to game day scenarios. He has the whole morning mapped out in great detail.
“We’re going to get the locker room set up the way it’s going to be set up on a Friday (for the first preseason game), we’re going to bring the team out in staggered groups like we’re going to bring them out on Friday and just kind of get them situated,” Philbin said. “We’re going to kind of walk though some things and say, ‘Look, this is where you’re going to warm up and this is maybe the drill or two that you’re going to do.’ We’ll have a little bit of individual to kind of warm them up and then we’re going to have a little bit of a pass (session) to get some extra reps with our quarterbacks throwing the ball. Then we’re going to put the ball down and play football so to speak.”
That is when the offense and the defense get to square off on even ground as opposed to certain drills where one side already knows what play the other side is about to run. At this stage in training camp it’s the defense that is expected to be ahead of the offense, but since new systems are being installed on both sides of the ball, the action on the field should be quite unpredictable.
Whether it’s running back
“I’m just looking forward to the coaches not being on the field and the coaches letting us play and letting us make mistakes on our own,” said third-year cornerback
Bush and his other teammates on offense are eager to test drive offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s system and see how it performs in an unscripted setting. Some of the pressures the defense has been getting and turnovers have been as a result of knowing what was coming before the snap.
With that first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers exactly one week away, tomorrow’s results are very important in the grand scheme of things. The players fully understand that.
“On the offensive side of the ball, I know it’s a chance for us to kind of start to build some rhythm together as a team and build this as we embark on this journey,” said Bush, who added that his adrenaline still rises whenever he runs out of the tunnel in front of the fans. “I think it will be good for us, just a good test for us.”
Philbin has a pretty clear idea of what he hopes to see once the “live bullets” start flying.
“We’re just looking for the fundamentals, the transfer from the meeting room, to the practice field, now in a game environment,” he said. “We’re looking for guys that can communicate, guys that can tackle somebody, get somebody to the ground, somebody who can make somebody miss and make an explosive play on offense. We’re going to get in a football atmosphere, a football environment so that come Friday night, especially some of those young guys, aren’t overly nervous. It’s a little bit of a dry run so to speak, and we’re going to use it as just another evaluation.”
Gates will open at 8 a.m. tomorrow for the scrimmage, which is being called “Back to Football powered by South Florida Ford,” as fans are expected to arrive early in order to get the best seats. The first 1,000 fans attending the practice will receive two complimentary tickets to one of the two Dolphins home pre-season games courtesy of South Florida Ford.
The practice will also feature a Select-A-Seat at the Stadium program where fans can physically see seats that are available with a season ticket membership. The best seats are reserved for season memberships and they include exclusive benefits such as special access, unique experiences and savings and fans who purchase season tickets at any of the practices will receive additional benefits including VIP access at Training Camp, autographed Hard Knocks poster and 10% discount at the team store.
The players are set to sign autographs at the conclusion of the scrimmage andincluded in the entertainment portion of the practice will be the first full squad performance of the 2012 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, interactive games and contests, fun with TD, the Dolphins’ mascot and a prize wheel where you can spin to win autographed items and memorabilia, with proceeds benefitting the Miami Dolphins Foundation. There will also be an opportunity to purchase items during the Dolphins Equipment Room garage sale. Items that will be available include authentic Miami Dolphins helmets, uniforms, and other sideline apparel
For more information about parking and other activities taking place at the stadium that day go to www.miamidolphins.com.