PHILADELPHIA (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins are spending the next few days in the City of Brotherly Love, but the team’s emotions are likely to find a home at the opposite end of the spectrum.
On Monday and Tuesday, Adam Gase and the Dolphins will share the practice field with the Philadelphia Eagles as the two squads prepare to battle in Thursdays all-important third preseason game.
The decision to hold joint practices this week was an easy one due to the several connections between the teams.
Gase and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson have been friends for years, as have Dolphins Executive VP Mike Tannenbaum and Howie Roseman, his Eagles counterpart.
The opportunity to practice against another team is something that has become an invaluable part of the preseason for many teams around the NFL.
It’s something that Miami has done off-and-on for years, most recently in 2015 when they spent a week in Charlotte to practice with the Carolina Panthers.
In the early 2000’s then-Dolphins coach Dave Wannstdet would take the team up to Orlando to practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were one of the NFC’s top contenders at the time.
Something that will likely be seen fairly often this week are scuffles and fights, much to the chagrin of coaches.
After spending a month almost exclusively battling against members of your own team, the opportunity to lock horns against an actual opponent has players licking their chops.
That being the case, it would seem all too appropriate for there to be at least one brawl in the city that Rocky calls home.
“The hardest thing is to just keep everybody focused on what they need to do in practice to get better because they do know there’s no flags, you’re not going to get ejected from the game or fined, and that’s where it can get kind of messy and guys get in fights,” Gase said last week. “If you can keep your guys focused on what you’re trying to do, it’s great competition. It’s fun for guys to go against somebody different instead of hitting their teammates.”
Gase said that the Dolphins will be working on Philadelphia’s practice schedule, giving his team a chance to switch things up from its usual routine and see how another team works.
“When I had my discussions with [Eagles Head Coach] Doug [Pederson] I was like, ‘You tell us what you want to do and that’s what we’re going to do,’ because we’re going to them,” Gase said. “I always kind of looked at it as we’re there, we’re going to do what they do, and it’s easy for us to adjust. If somebody was coming here, it would probably be more than likely we’d be using our practice schedule.”
Heading into the ‘dress rehearsal’ preseason game in which team’s generally have starters play into the third quarter, Miami’s coaching staff will want to see how some of the Dolphins’ recent major changes translate onto the field.
It will be the first extended playing time that new starting quarterback Jay Cutler and the offense will have to work together.
Cutler, who was signed during the first week of August, played two series’ during Miami’s second preseason game last week.
It will also be the first time that new middle linebacker Rey Maualuga can work with his new teammates in a game setting.
Maualuga was just signed on Saturday and is expected to start in Miami’s base defense.
Both Cutler and Maualuga were added following season-ending injuries to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan.