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NOTEBOOK: Playing On Monday Night Is Special; Other Notes

Posted Sep 28, 2013

Miami goes primetime on MNF for the first time in two years.



Mike Pouncey was a rookie center for the Miami Dolphins the last time they got to play on Monday Night Football, and he did it twice that season against AFC East rivals New England and the New York Jets.

Unfortunately for Pouncey, he came out on the losing end both times, including in his NFL debut against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium. Even though he has also played on Thanksgiving night and on another Thursday night, the third-year lineman admits that nothing can compare to Monday night – and he and his teammates get to experience it again this coming Monday in New Orleans against the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“No question. You’ve got the spotlight, it’s primetime and everyone in the country is watching,” Pouncey said. “We know what kind of environment we’re going into. It’s going to be a very hostile environment. They’ve got a really good football team so we’ve got to play really well and one thing about playing on those kinds of hostile environments is you can’t beat yourself. It’s hard to beat the crowd when you’re playing from behind so we’ve got to go out there and play our best. We’ve got to start and play our game for 60 minutes.”

For rookie cornerback Don Jones, the gunner on punts, this is an experience he’s waited his entire life for. Between growing up in Alabama the very small town of Town Creek and then playing football at the junior college level and for Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference, his exposure to big crowds was limited.

As a junior in 2011, Jones was the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week twice and played in front of a big crowd in the GoDaddy.com bowl. This game is at a completely different level.

“I grew up in a small town of about 1,300 or 1,400 people,” said Jones, who had the biggest hit of the game last week against Atlanta when he forced a fumble on a punt return in the third quarter. “We were a big football town so everybody used to be watching and now I’m assuming everybody’s going to come out and watch on Monday night, especially knowing the fact that I’ll be playing. It’ll be the whole town and I’m looking forward to it.”

Veteran left guard Richie Incognito has played on Monday night a few times before, with the one memory that sticks out being a game against the Chicago Bears when he was with the St. Louis Rams. He remembers Bears punt returner Devin Hester returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2006, so he’s looking to make better memories this time around but that Monday night game never loses its luster in his eyes.

“It’s fun and it’s something you grew up with your whole life,” Incognito said. “You want to play in the National Football League and you want to play on Monday Night Football. You want to play in front of everybody and especially when you’re on Monday Night Football everyone keeps in contact as far as the players. It’s the only game on so everyone’s watching.”

Pouncey appreciates what it means to be featured on Monday Night Football and how big of an opportunity it is for the Dolphins to show a national television audience what they are made of.

“It’s awesome. I’ll tell you one thing, it shows the hard work that we put in this offseason,” he said. “I’ve seen both sides of the fence and it’s a lot better to be 3-0 than 0-3, so our mindset hasn’t changed. We’re taking it one week at a time and when this whistle blows on Monday night it’s going to be a very intense game. I know everybody’s going to be ready to play and I know they’re going to be ready to defend their home field so it’s going to be a good game.”

SATURDAY DAY FEVER

Today’s two song selections during the Dolphins’ stretching period stayed in the same genre for a rare Saturday practice inside the bubble. Young Dro’s “FDB” got things started and the closing number was “Us,” by Rick Ross featuring Drake and Lil Reese.

THIS AND THAT

Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake participated in individual and team drills during the portion of practice. Again, he and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Paul Soliai are doing everything within their power to make themselves available for the Saints game. … Rookie corners Will Davis and Jamar Taylor are looking more and more healthy and active as they try to get involved in the defense.

THE LAST WORD

“Cajun food, definitely. We’d go over to Mike Wallace’s house and eat some real good food. My dad’s from Louisiana, he’s from Sicily Island, so we’ve been eating gumbo our whole life so we’re used to it. But I don’t want to mess my stomach up before the game so we’re just going to get us a nice steak. We’re going to keep it real healthy.” – Pouncey on what he’s eat in New Orleans if he didn’t have to play a game
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins

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