Center Hroniss Grasu may be new to the Dolphins, but he's got an awful lot of familiarity with several players and coaches on the team.
The same goes for the offense, to the point where Head Coach Adam Gase said Grasu could jump right in if needed.
The familiarity comes from Gase's one season in Chicago, which happened to be Grasu's first year in the NFL after he was a third-round pick of the Bears in 2015.
"I was at in meetings this morning and for a good percentage of it, it's all the same terminology, just couple of different words," Grasu said Wednesday, hours after being signed by the Dolphins. "But I could get the hang of it."
Grasu spent three seasons with the Bears, where other members of the team included guards Ted Larsen and Josh Sitton, quarterback David Fales, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn.
Injuries have limited Grasu to 17 games in three-plus seasons since he entered the NFL, but he's obviously somebody with natural ability, as evidenced by the fact he was the third center selected in the 2015 NFL draft.
"For all the injuries and adversity, I've gotten so much stronger physically and even more mentally," Grasu said. "Through all those hard times, I'm turning them into good times and taking it day by day and feeling very lucky to be here.
"I've been just always following the Dolphins since Gase got here and happy to be a part of it."
As it turns out, Grasu's Dolphins connections go all the way back to college because he played with linebacker Kiko Alonso at the University of Oregon.
"I sometimes would walk into my house and the door was open and Kiko was just sitting on the couch," Grasu said. "He lived down the street from me.
"I love Kiko. We've always stayed in touch. We stay in touch, try to see each other in the offseason down in Oregon. He's just a one-of-a-kind guy."
Injury update: Cornerback Xavien Howard, who sat out the New England game because of a knee injury, did not practice Wednesday but there is good news in that he has begun running. Howard was injured during his second interception during the victory against Buffalo two Sundays ago. "We'll just kind of see how the week goes," Gase said. "You're always hopeful, at the same time we've just got to make sure … the lateral movement is really the key to everything." Gase said the key for Howard is making sure he won't be in danger of aggravating his injury and being able to play "the way he needs to play."
Turning the page: Wednesday is the start of the work week for the upcoming game, and this was a typical Wednesday for the Dolphins regardless of the enormity of what happened against New England three days ago. Running back Kenyan Drake, the last-play hero against the Patriots, told reporters he wanted to talk about the Minnesota game and not look behind. Gase said there was no issue with his players turning the page. "There's too little time," Gase said. "They understand what we're playing for. I see guys ready to get to this one, understanding that we better be prepared. We know what we're going against. We know that this is a really good defense. It's a well-coached defense. We know that the players on their offense are very talented and they've had games where they've been very explosive, they've scored points, they've done a lot of good things in a lot of their games. This is going to be a tough game for us."
Small change: Gase addressed the famous "Boise" play again Wednesday when it was pointed out that the 2007 Fiesta Bowl from which it was borrowed featured one lateral and not two, as the Dolphins did against New England. "I think we saw when — I want to say — (Boise State QB) Jared Zabransky, he was trailing the play and it was the quarterback," Gase said. "And when we put it in, I think the first time we put it in might have been when Peyton (Manning) was the quarterback, so we didn't think that was smart on our part. So we used a running back."
International long shot: The NFL announced today the five teams that will host international games in 2019, and they were the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. Based on the NFL scheduling formula, the only possible scenario where the Dolphins would be involved in one of those games would be against the Jaguars. But even that is a long shot. For it to happen, the Dolphins and Jaguars would have to finish in the same position within their respective division, and the Dolphins currently are second and the Jaguars fourth. The Dolphins very well could face the Chargers in 2019 because both teams currently are in second place, but that matchup would take place in Miami. Likewise, the Raiders would come to Miami if the two teams ended up in the same division finish. The Dolphins do not face Tampa Bay or the Rams next season.