The Dolphins travel to Foxboro tomorrow for the long-anticipated season opener of the 2020 season on Sunday. The Fins were on the field Friday for the final practice of the week following a busy Thursday in the NFL.
An hour prior to the kickoff of Chiefs-Texans, Dolphins players released a video speaking on social injustices, and the desire to take action. The two-minute-seventeen-second clip concluded with Brian Flores' support.
"Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions," Flores said. "We'll just stay inside."
Flores was asked about the message during his Friday media availability.
"It came about because of all of the things that have gone on in the country over – obviously starting with Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor," Flores said. "I think this has been an ongoing conversation. I think we all know how it came about. It was a player-driven decision that came from a lot of conversations about trying to find a way to voice their opinion. It's about issues that are important to the players and we decided to move forward with it. They are things that I'm supportive of as well, and that's why I joined in with them."
There's nothing like opening day
Isaiah Ford was a seventh-round draft choice of the Dolphins in 2017. His rookie season ended before it started that year with an ACL injury during the first week of training camp. A circuitous path over the next two seasons had the receiver bouncing between the active roster and practice squad and, in the process, kept Ford off the opening day roster.
Now, entering his fourth season and coming off a strong finish to the 2019 season, Ford is anticipating the opener more than most.
"It means a lot," Ford said. "Really the biggest thing is that through all the adversity that I've been through, I've kept my head down and just kept working, taking each day one day at a time, one rep at a time, one meeting a time and trying to get better and put one foot in front of the other, and just keep going."
Patriots present challenges
Ford's last game was a career-day in the receptions department. Ford caught seven passes (on nine targets) and moved the chains four times. Friday, the former Virginia Tech star discussed going back to Foxboro hoping for a similar result.
"I think it was just big for me for my confidence individually, kind of having that success towards the back end of the year," Ford said. "I (was) just trying to build on it going into the offseason. We're going against a really talented group in New England. Their secondary was probably No. 1 in every category last year statistically, so it's going to be a tough task. I'm excited to go out there."
Tight end Mike Gesicki sealed the victory last December with a touchdown reception from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The game-winner was Gesicki's fifth touchdown in the final six games of 2019. Friday, Gesicki talked about what makes the Patriots so tough, and how the Dolphins can find success Sunday.
"I think that they have a lot of talent on that side of the ball," Gesicki said. "They are very discipline in their rules and their technique, and their guys play it extremely well. I think for us, it's kind of knowing our rules, knowing our assignments and then going out there and executing them on Sunday. They are capable of doing a lot and they have a lot of talented guys on that side of the field. We've got to be ready for a lot."
Dolphins captain Elandon Roberts
Elected as a captain in his first year in Miami, Elandon Roberts spoke Friday about that honor.
"Just to be elected by yours peers – your teammates – especially coming to a new city, a new coach and stuff like that; it was great, man," Roberts said. "Every day I'm going to try to be the best me, like I said earlier in the year for the guys and stuff like that, and the best teammate on and off the field."
The Dolphins listed eight players on the Friday injury report. Seven of the eight were full participants in practice and are expected to play Sunday. Safety Clayton Fejedelem (pectoral) was a limited participant and is listed as doubtful.
The Patriots Friday report listed two players out for Sunday. Offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (knee) and wide receiver Gunner Olszewski (foot) will not play. Four Patriots are questionable: tight end Dalton Keene (neck), linebacker Cassh Maulia (knee), wide receiver N'Keal Harry (shoulder) and defensive lineman Chase Winovich (shoulder).