The Miami Dolphins could have been excused this week for doing some looking back, but instead it's been all about focusing on the present as it always is with this team.
The game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday is a rematch of perhaps the high point of the 2020 season when the Dolphins stole a 26-25 victory at Allegiant Stadium thanks to the miraculous "Facemask Pass," the 34-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Mack Hollins that set up the game-winning field goal after the Raiders had taken the lead with 19 seconds left.
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun," running back Myles Gaskin said. "But I’m not really focused on that. We have a new team, they have a new team. It’s not the same at all. But, yeah, that was a fun game and I’m just excited to get back there.”
That statement right there — "It was a fun game" — was about the extent of reminiscing you were going to get from Dolphins players this week.
If they were going to look back, the Dolphins were a lot more likely to reflect on their last game, the 35-0 loss against the Buffalo Bills in their home opener last Sunday.
But even then, that page has been turned.
“You just got to let it go," defensive lineman Adam Butler said. "Learn from your mistakes and let it go. You can’t go back and fix it. You’ve just got to move on.”
Offensive captain Mack Hollins summed it up in a most colorful way Friday afternoon.
"Honestly, I just say we got our (freaking) ass beat," he said. "35-0, that's embarrassing even in Madden. Nobody's gonna feel bad for us this week, nobody gonna say, 'Oh, the Dolphins are gonna come back for some revenge game because they lost by a lot. That's not how the NFL works. Everybody's grown, put your big boy pants on and go to work."
ASSISTANT COACH OUT
Outside linebackers coach Rob Leonard will miss the game against Las Vegas because of the COVID-19 protocols. His responsibilities will be split among the other coaches on defensive staff.
Co-offensive coordinator George Godsey missed some time during training camp because of COVID-19 protocols, and during the 2020 season the Dolphins played their game at Arizona minus five assistant coaches who were out because of the protocols.
The Dolphins, incidentally, won that game at Arizona.
OFFENSIVE LINE SET
Before the Dolphins went out to practice Friday, head coach Brian Flores indicated he "had a good idea" what the starting offensive line would look like against the Las Vegas Raiders — although he, not surprisingly, declined to share any information.
While it's possible the Dolphins could maintain the status quo and again start a line of Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley, Michael Deiter, Robert Hunt and Jesse Davis, the expectation is that there will be some change because of what happened during the loss against Buffalo when Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett were sacked a combined six times and hit numerous others.
Based on developments last Sunday, such as Kindley being replaced by rookie free agent Robert Jones for the final seven snaps and rookie second-round pick Liam Eichenberg playing the second half at right tackle after Davis left the game with a minor knee injury, the most logical guess here is that Kindley will be replaced by Eichenberg.
Now, it could be as simple as inserting Eichenberg at left guard, though another possibility is to insert Eichenberg at right tackle and move Davis at left guard, one of the four positions where he has started since joining the Dolphins in 2016.
But we're not likely to know the final answer until pregame warmups Sunday.
Great nugget, courtesy of Rick Karle from TV station WVTM in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, regarding a 5-year-old Tua fan offering his support for the Dolphins quarterback.
It involves little Rylee Hall holding up a poster wishing a speedy recovery to his idol.
The event, which is open to the public (register at miamidolphins.com/don-shula/), will feature testimonials from family members and former players.
Former Dolphins first-round pick Troy Vincent, now executive vice president of football operations for the NFL, posted on Twitter that he will attending the event.
We haven't heard anything about Wilson, a 2020 first-round pick with the Titans, but now that has changed.
He will be working out with the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN reporter Field Yates.
The Colts have had some clear offensive line issues so far this season, including some uneven play from former Dolphins tackle Julien Davenport.