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Dolphins Have Had Success Against The West At Home

Posted Nov 15, 2013

Miami’s 80 percent winning percentage bodes well for Sunday.



Every season when the NFL schedule comes out, more attention is paid to those games involving West Coast teams traveling East because of the dramatic time change.

The Miami Dolphins are definitely big fans of those games, which is why they are eager to welcome the San Diego Chargers to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Since 2000, the Dolphins have hosted the eight teams from the AFC West and NFC West a total of 20 times and have compiled a 16-4 record. Prior to the Denver Broncos’ overtime win at Sun Life Stadium in 2011, the last team from either of those divisions to emerge with a victory was the Kansas City Chiefs on October 21st, 2005 by a 30-20 score. Long snapper John Denney, now in his ninth season, is the longest tenured Dolphin and was a rookie when the Chiefs won that game, so he is a believer in the trend.

“The number speaks for itself,” said Denney, who holds the franchise record for most consecutive games played at 137. “That’s pretty substantial, that type of record. It’s a big time change for sure. … I would say I don’t think it would affect me, but when you tell me that record it makes it sound like there is some type of effect.”

Linebacker Philip Wheeler was a member of the Oakland Raiders last year when they made the cross-country trip in Week 2 and was on the losing end of a 35-13 score. He saw up close and personal how his AFC West team handled those road trips.

Oakland went 0-4 on trips to the East Coast and was outscored, 130-59, in those games. The Baltimore Ravens blew them out, 55-20, and they also lost at the Atlanta Falcons (23-20) and at the Carolina Panthers (17-6), but Wheeler had a different theory as to why they lost at Miami.

“I think what affected us was the weather and the humidity change,” Wheeler said. “I don’t think it was the travel because we came the day before, so I think it was just the weather. Some of our guys were cramping up a lot because it was hot, so I think that’s what it was, but hopefully those numbers work out for us in our favor this time.”

YOUNG DBs FOLLOWING GRIMES’ LEAD

From the moment cornerback Brent Grimes arrived via free agency and first took the practice field for the Miami Dolphins, it was hard not to notice how the veteran Pro Bowler always had a football in his hands. His ritual has apparently rubbed off on the other cornerbacks.

Rookie corners Will Davis and Jamar Taylor figured there must be something to what Grimes was doing during the team’s stretching period so they eventually joined in. Now, instead of just seeing Grimes doing calisthenics with a football tucked underneath his arm, you will see Davis, Taylor and veteran Dimitri Patterson doing the same thing.

“It definitely is contagious,” said Davis, who was drafted in the third round out of Utah State in April’s NFL Draft. “When somebody like Brent, who is very talented and good, does it it’s easy to attract other people doing it. You see a guy like him always having a ball in hand and he has good ball skills, too, it makes sense because I pride myself in getting picks like he does.”

Grimes and Patterson have accounted for half of Miami’s 12 interceptions through nine games, with Patterson picking off four and Grimes intercepting two. His second interception he returned 94 yards for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.

So you’d figure with that type of success, these cornerbacks might consider taking the ritual to the next level by sleeping with a football at night. Davis isn’t quite so sure he’s a fan of that idea.

“No, that’s a little excessive,” he said. “Now if your ball skills were just outright horrid that probably would be a good suggestion, but Brandon, he has good ball skills and I feel my ball skills are good, so it’s a not a big problem of mine. It’s just fun to play around with it and it kind of brings the energy during practice and gets us in a good mood.”

OLD SCHOOL TUNES VERSUS NEW SCHOOL TUNES

There were only two songs played during this morning’s stretch routine and they were from opposite generations. Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band opened things up with the classic, “Like A Rock,” and then “Return Of The Mack,” by Mark Morrison closed things out.

THE LAST WORD

“Well, he’s one of those savvy vets. Obviously, he’s a helluva football player but as far as our side of the ball, I think we’ve got some savvy vets on this side as well and we’ll do whatever we can to make his day uncomfortable as the guy leading the show over there on the offensive side of the ball. So it’s going to be another challenge on Sunday but I feel like we’re up to the task.” – two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake on trying to stop Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins