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 cornerback
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.
“You feel refreshed and you were able to get away from football for a while, but now you come back and you’re playing a rivalry game against a team you have to beat if you want to be in the running at the end of the year,” Pouncey said. “So we know the importance of this game and we just have to go out there and play our best.”
Pouncey and a lot of his teammates tuned in last night to watch the Jets lose in overtime to the New England Patriots, which was not the result he wanted. Even though he acknowledged the Jets definitely will be a bit worn down having had to go into overtime on the road, there was more at stake overall.
“I was cheering for the Jets just because record wise they would have been in first place and then we’d have an opportunity to jump them if we were to win this weekend,” Pouncey said. “But now we’ve got to go deal with them and then have to wait and deal with the Patriots later this year. We’re coming off a win and off a bye week and they’re coming off a loss and they have to prepare for us, but it won’t be easy.”
One byproduct of an early bye week is the lengthy schedule ahead upon the team’s return for the time off. In Miami’s case not only is it 10 games in a row, but there is a tight window squeezed in there just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Philbin made sure to educate his players on what’s in store and to help them understand the importance of practicing smart and doing everything possible within their power to stay healthy.
“When we kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday we’re going to have four games in eighteen days so we told the team we’ve got to be smart about it,” he said. “This is an important stretch and they’ve got to take care of their bodies. That’s their livelihood so they do have to be smart. You’ve got to be careful not to do too much and sometimes there is a desire to get too much in with that extra practice, so we’ve been keeping a lid on it.”
The team is off tomorrow and then it’s back to the regular practice routine on Wednesday.