Dolphins coach Adam Gase learns hard lessons from crazy 2017 season

The Dolphins’ 2017 season was exhausting for pretty much everyone involved. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

ORLANDO—It turns out there is no chapter in the instruction manual for coaching an NFL team that explains how to handle a hurricane turning your season upside down before it even starts.

There’s no section on proper procedure for moving past an assistant coach getting fired for sending a video of himself doing cocaine to a Las Vegas entertainer.

And what’s the protocol for those times when a starting linebacker disappears the night before a game and the team is on edge as it fears the absolute worst?

If he has time during what’s left of this offseason, maybe Adam Gase can write some helpful additions to that handbook now that he’s survived coaching the 2017 Miami Dolphins. The insanity of that season was such that losing the starting quarterback and middle linebacker to preseason knee injuries barely register.

“I think we had a lot of,” he said, stopping to think of the right way to put it.

“There were a lot of little,” he said before starting over again.

This isn’t such an easy thing to explain.

Gase avoided these kinds of questions during the season because he didn’t want to set a tone of excuse making in his locker room. He’s more willing to discuss it now, but it’s still difficult to be totally open without scapegoating certain players.

“There were some big things and some little things that came up last year,” Gase said. “A lot of us had to deal with a lot of adversity. I think it was a learning lesson for a lot of us.

“There were some tough spots to get put in, but I thought some guys did well. Some guys didn’t handle it as well. We probably learned a lot about a lot of guys. It was one of those things that at the time you’re going through it, it’s not really a fun thing to do, but it’s a great learning experience moving forward.”

With that backdrop, it’s easy to understand why a Dolphins official said last week one of the team’s goals in 2018 is to “hopefully just have a normal season.” It’s also understandable that Gase keeps harping on the maturity and dependability he thinks Miami added to its locker room this offseason.

Whether that’s really the chief cause for some of the Dolphins’ moves and whether it translates to anything meaningful on the field is unclear, but it’s a reasonably safe bet Gase will have fewer headaches this year.

Jarvis Landry, who had two very noticeable eruptions late in the season, was traded to Cleveland. Unfortunately for the Dolphins and their quarterbacks, he took his 1,000 yards per season with him. They replaced Landry with a hungry 25-year-old bent on proving himself (Albert Wilson) and a two-time Super Bowl champion (Danny Amendola).

Mike Pouncey’s hips required a choppy practice schedule that seemed disruptive to the offensive line as a whole, and Miami cut him in favor of trading for San Francisco’s Daniel Kilgore. Any frustrations with Pouncey were worth it considering how well he played, but Gase won’t miss the routine that kept him off the practice field so often.

Another annoyance, Jay Ajayi, was already cleared out five months ago in a deal that appears to have worked out fine for everyone involved. Ajayi won a Super Bowl with the Eagles, and Gase swapped out a noncompatible personality with a running back he’s been grooming since drafting him in Kenyan Drake.

Drake’s a player whose professionalism has teetered during his two years with the Dolphins, and the team felt Ajayi was influencing him the wrong way. Ajayi almost certainly would dispute that.

Gase has declined to specify which players gave him trouble last year, but it was an unnecessary stress considering everything else that was working against him. Collectively, the team couldn’t live up to all the rallying cries—one of them was, “Anywhere. Anytime.”—they printed on t-shirts.

“You wish you could say it didn’t have any impact,” he said “I think a lot of guys would say—Just talking to them after the season, some guys got distracted by it, by certain things… I think everybody was a little bit different, but I think we kind of fell apart to that a little bit.”

Bringing in Jay Cutler for Tannehill required wide-ranging adjustments from the offensive players.

The o-line had to be reshuffled multiple times and surely suffered from what happened with coach Chris Foerster.

Think about this: Rey Maualuga being arrested at a bar in Miami just an hour before a Saturday morning walk-through looks fairly pedestrian next to what Lawrence Timmons did.

Hurricane Irma wiped out the season opener and set the team up to begin the year with a three-week run through Los Angeles, New York and London. It also eliminated the bye week, forcing Gase to give up practice days at various points in the season to get his players rest.

On the field, the offense got off to a miserable start under Cutler, and even after the Dolphins leveled themselves out at, they endured a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season.

Despite that, Miami managed to put itself on the fringe of the playoff race in December by routing the Broncos and stunning New England in a memorable Monday Night Football game. There was some satisfaction for Gase in that modest resurgence.

“I mean, it was either adapt or die,” he said. “You had no choice. That’s the way I saw it.

“You had to figure out a way to deal with the situation and still get ready for the game, work to get our coaching staff ready and make sure our coaching staff was getting our players ready. It was interesting. It was interesting to go through a lot of the things last year that we went through.”

Of course, the Dolphins saw very little, if any, of that adversity coming this time last year, so any thought now that they’re positioned for a stable, stress-free 2018 season is overly optimistic.

There are no guarantees on Tannehill’s health or that he’s going to be anything better than league-average even if he does hold up well. They brought in winners and serious veterans this spring, but Timmons was regarded as both of those for 10 years right up until the moment he went AWOL. There’s no certainty that this newfound philosophy of this year’s whole being greater than the sum of last year’s parts will be successful.

And after what he went through last year, Gase wouldn’t be foolish enough to count on everything going according to plan. He’ll probably never think that way again.

“Expect anything,” he said. “You just never know what it could be.”

[Dolphins coach Adam Gase says offseason moves are a net positive]

[Ryan Tannehill will be back for the Dolphins in time for OTAs]

[What exactly is Mike Tannenbaum’s building plan for the Miami Dolphins?]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Dolphins coach Adam Gase warns players not to complain about schedule

Gase gave a stern warning Sunday. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

NEW YORK—Adam Gase is cool with pretty much anything Dolphins players say, an essential element of the way he runs the team, but there’s one thing he won’t abide. Anyone who complains about the difficulties of this year’s schedule does so at significant risk.

The Dolphins were set to play this three-week stretch in Los Angeles, New York and London either way, but it was made more challenging by the threat of Hurricane Irma. Miami’s original opener, a home game against Tampa Bay, was rescheduled for November and that decision eliminated the team’s bye week.

The Dolphins spent the entire week of preparation for the Chargers at a hotel in Oxnard, Calif., and have another unusual week in front of them now. The team will fly to London on Thursday, practice Friday and hope the players have adjusted to the five-hour time difference by Sunday’s game against New Orleans, which will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

“We’ve talked to the right people as far as how we want to sleep, nutrition, what we need to do to combat flying as much as we have so far,” Gase said today. “It’s really about following what everybody is advising our players to do. It’s just whether or not guys want to do it that way. You can’t hold everybody’s hand. At some point you have to be a man and do it right and be a pro athlete. Guys that want to do it right are usually the ones that have success. The guys that don’t, don’t end up lasting very long.”

No players used that excuse after getting pounded by New York, but the defeat was so jarring that it sent everyone looking for an explanation. Gase would rather hear his players admit they got clobbered, though, than listen to them blame it on the schedule.

“All I know is we’re going to line up on Sunday and play,” he said Sunday. “So if somebody has an issue with that, they better check their profession.”

That schedule, by the way, doesn’t exactly let up. In addition to not having a bye week, the Dolphins will still have to play six of their remaining 13 games on the road. That’s a result, in part, of them giving up a home game as part of the deal to play in London.

There is only one instance in which Miami plays consecutive games at Hard Rock Stadium this year: Week 13 against Denver and Week 14 against the Patriots.

[Opinion: Protesting Miami Dolphins use their platform better than Donald Trump used his]

[Cameron Wake baffled by Dolphins’ big loss to New York]

[Grading the Dolphins in a 20-6 loss to the Jets]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Miami Dolphins K Cody Parkey remains undefeated vs. hurricanes

Cody Parkey didn’t blink when Hurricane Irma headed toward his new house. (Getty Images)

OXNARD, Calif.—Growing up in South Florida, hurricane threats are a fairly routine part of life. Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey experienced plenty of that while growing up in Jupiter, and he confidently rode out Hurricane Irma in his newly bought home there.

“I was pretty calm,” he said after practice Wednesday. “I’ve survived however many hurricanes and I didn’t think this was the one that was gonna take me down.”

Parkey’s journey took him out of the area the past few years as he kicked for Auburn, followed by stints with the Colts, Eagles and Browns, then surprisingly ended up with Miami last week. The Browns waived him at the roster cut deadline, and the Dolphins liked him enough to put in a claim and let go of Andrew Franks.

That sequence was a dream come true for someone who grew up rooting for the team and just got a house in Jupiter. Parkey’s place, incidentally, became the family bunker during Irma. His wife’s family moved in for the weekend, which was a good chance to catch up considering Parkey had been in Cleveland for so long.

“It was nice to just hang out and enjoy them and soak in what all just happened a few days before when I got signed by the Dolphins,” he said. “It was definitely refreshing, but now it’s time to get to work.”

Parkey stayed in Jupiter until Tuesday, when players were required to report for a team meeting in Oxnard, Calif., where they’re practicing for Sunday’s game at the Chargers.

The hurricane was a minimal event for the Parkeys, who never lost power and binge-watched football all weekend. When it passed, he went out briefly to survey the damage and didn’t find much more than a few downed trees.

“Saturday night I woke up to some winds that were probably 70-80 miles per hour, but I went back to sleep,” he said. “That was really it… We got lucky.”

[Jarvis Landry opens up about contract status and why he couldn’t stomach holding out]

[Miami Dolphins offense looks “rusty” as practice opens in Oxnard]

[Hurricane Irma: Anthony Fasano helped evacuate rehab patients]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Miami Dolphins’ Anthony Fasano relocated Delray patients ahead of Irma

Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano, shown in the offices of the Next Chapter addiction and trauma center he launched in Delray Beach. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

OXNARD, Calif. — Like many Dolphins, tight end Anthony Fasano had concerns that extended beyond football as he left South Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

He has a wife. A daughter 1 1/2 years old. Two large dogs.

But Fasano has one other major concern: Two years ago, he launched Next Chapter, an addiction and trauma treatment center in Delray Beach that handles more than a dozen patients at a time, housing them in two nearby homes the center owns.

Anthony Fasano and Adam Gase.

So last Thursday, employees of the center relocated 16 patients to a cabin on the Georgia-Tennessee line.

“We had to bus them all the way up there,” Fasano said. “Thursday, they left and they didn’t get there until late Friday night, a 26-hour drive. It was tough, so I’m really appreciative of those employees and the clients that we have there of being patient and accepting the situation.”

“Accepting” might be an understatement.

“All my reports say they’ve been great,” Fasano said. “They did whitewater rafting. They did zip-lining.”

Fasano said the two homes suffered no major damage but did lose power. The plan is to return late this week.

Dolphins hope to raise spirits of weary South Florida fans vs. Chargers

Kenny Stills wishes more NFL players supported Colin Kaepernick

Adam Gase scouted future opponents during unexpected Week 1 bye

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pledges $1 million to hurricane relief

What’s next for Miami Dolphins after Hurricane Irma?

Get our content right to your Facebook page with The Daily Dolphin

Miami Dolphins hope Sunday’s game can offer ‘any type of relief’ to Irma victims

Dolphins defensive back Michael Thomas, shown during an appearance in Fort Pierce in 2016, hopes to organize a benefit for South Florida after doing the same for his hometown of Houston. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

OXNARD, Calif. — The Dolphins know that Sunday, there will be fans watching their game against the Los Angeles Chargers on whatever device that still has power.

Some will be listening on radio for the first time in ages.

And the unluckiest won’t be able to pay the slightest attention to the entertainment that is professional football because of Hurricane Irma.

And even though the players’ first concern has to be putting together a game plan for their season-opener, in the back of their minds is what’s happening back home.

“Oh, for sure,” defensive back Michael Thomas said. “If we can offer any type of relief, just to get somebody’s mind off what they just went through — what the whole state is going through by playing in the game, we would try to offer that.”

Thomas, in fact, is planning more than just a boost in spirits with a good performance on the field. He’s from Houston and helped organize a drive to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. He said he has begun planning a benefit drive for his second home, South Florida.

Dolphins safety Nate Allen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Safety Nate Allen is from Fort Myers, so it’s easy to imagine his tension as forecasters’ cone kept shifting closer and closer to his hometown. In the end, even though the hurricane swept through the southwest portion of the state, his property suffered virtually no damage.

“We had some panels on our screened patio by the pool knocked out and that was about it,” Allen said. “We got lucky. And we kept power the whole time, our neighborhood. We live in a gated community and we didn’t lose power at all. The lord was watching out for sure. He had His hand around us.”

He knows many were nowhere near as fortunate. It wasn’t that long ago that Katrina-stricken New Orleans rallied around the Saints, who eventually won a Super Bowl. This season, Houston received a lift from J.J. Watt’s multimillion campaign for donations. Now, South Florida’s NFL team is in that spotlight.

“It just puts everything in perspective,” Allen said. “We’re blessed to play a game for a living, yeah. Whatever joy we can bring to somebody who’s going through some stuff right now with the hurricane, it’ll be big for us.”

Safety Walt Aikens half-jokingly said the team hopes to carry fans Sunday — but this Sunday won’t be any different from others.

“That’s every Sunday!” Aikens said. “We play for South Florida every Sunday. We got that ‘Miami’ going across the jersey, man, for sure.”

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil is from Lake City in upstate Florida, “so I’m used to these hurricanes,” he said. “It’s nothing new to me.”

Still, when Tunsil turned his attention to fans back home, he said, “Whatever we can do by giving back, I’ll do it. We’ll do it.”

When Thomas considers what is happening in Houston and South Florida, he sees a lot of destruction in a little amount of time.

“Obviously, we feel blessed to be able to play a game,” he said. “And this is some real-life stuff that people are going through where it’s life-altering. Some people I grew up with in Houston who are very dear to me are starting over. Lost everything — house, car, no clothes, nothing.”

No major damage to Hard Rock Stadium; Dolphins, Hurricanes can play

Hard Rock Stadium has no major issues related to Hurricane Irma. (Getty Images)
Hard Rock Stadium sustained no structural damage during Hurricane Irma over the weekend and is ready to host the upcoming Dolphins and University of Miami home games.

Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel announced on Twitter this morning that the stadium held up well during the storm. The team had engineers perform a thorough inspection of the venue, and they signed off on it to proceed with events as scheduled. Video released by the team during the storm showed many fallen trees on the exterior part of the venue.

Garfinkel confirmed landscaping damage and said the stadium lost a section of roof panels, but downplayed those issues as “aesthetic in nature and easy to fix.” The roof problem was likely caused by a tornado touching down on the property, the engineers reported.

The Hurricanes played their season opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 2 and will host Toledo there Sept. 23, and Garfinkel said specifically it will be fully operational for that game.

UM was scheduled to play at Arkansas State last Saturday, but that game was canceled. The ACC also rescheduled the Hurricanes’ game at Florida State, originally this weekend, to Oct. 7.

The Dolphins were supposed to open the season at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday, but that game was rescheduled to the mutual bye week. They will meet in Miami Gardens on Nov. 19.

The team is currently practicing in Oxnard, Calif., in advance of their game against the Chargers. They play at the Jets the following week and in London against the Saints on Oct. 1.

Miami’s first home game will be Oct. 8 against Tennessee, the franchise’s latest home opener since 1987. This week’s game at Los Angeles marks the fifth time in the past six years the Dolphins have started on the road.

Garfinkel also said the team’s practice facility in Davie is in good condition and will be available when the team returns from California on Monday. There was a fallback plan to practice in West Virginia next week if necessary.

During the storm’s approach, Dolphins staff members took down awnings in Davie and deflated the indoor practice bubble.

[Five undrafted rookies make the Dolphins. Here are their stories]

[Byron Maxwell, Alterraun Verner still battling for starting cornerback job]

[Jupiter’s Cody Parkey living the dream with the Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

What’s next for Miami Dolphins after Hurricane Irma?

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carroo (88) drops a pass during Miami Dolphins minicamp at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida on June 14, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Owner Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins asked the NFL if it could move the Oct. 1 London game against the New Orleans Saints to Miami, but the league said no, according to a league source.

The Dolphins’ season-opener this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was pushed back to Nov. 19 with Hurricane Irma bearing down on South Florida. And now, in a worst-case scenario, Miami could be on the road without a return to South Florida for three straight weeks.

Miami left South Florida in advance of Hurricane Irma and took players, coaches, staff and their families to Oxnard, Calif., where the team will meet on Tuesday and practice Wednesday.

The Dolphins hope to return to South Florida to practice in advance of their game at the New York Jets on Sept. 24. The Dolphins have arranged a contingency plan — practicing in West Virginia — if it is not possible to return to South Florida after the game, a source confirmed.

Miami is also assessing any damage at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and the team’s practice facility in Davie, a source confirmed. There was tornado activity in the vicinity of the stadium, and so a proper assessment must take place.

The Dolphins are scheduled to play at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Carson, Calif., followed by the Jets and the Saints in London, a brutal stretch. Miami is not scheduled to play again at Hard Rock Stadium until Oct. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.

>>Hurricane Irma: Follow the latest headlines

>>Hurricane Irma: Download the PostNOW app and stay connected during the storm

Hurricane Irma: Dolphins trying to practice as usual despite threat

The Dolphins have had two fairly normal days of practice despite Hurricane Irma’s threat. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—The Dolphins went through the regular mechanisms of their work week today, aware of the potential problems Hurricane Irma could cause as it nears South Florida but ignoring those concerns as much as possible.

Miami was scheduled to open the season against Tampa Bay on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, but it the NFL announced today that won’t happen. The league is exploring the possibility of playing at an alternate venue or having the teams meet on their mutual bye week in November.

The Dolphins didn’t know that when they hit the practice field in the afternoon, though many players suspected there would be a change, and were trying to treat the day as normally as possible. Miami coach Adam Gase wasn’t part of the team’s conference call with the NFL in the morning because he was in meetings preparing for Tampa Bay.

“One of Coach Gase’s biggest things is when we step in this building, we’ve gotta be where our feet are,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. “So for us, when we’re here, we focus as much as possible as if the game is tomorrow or Sunday.”

Several players talked about concerns with their homes and families, and some took the opportunity to warn the public to listen to the government’s advisories.

Others tried to lighten the tension in what has been a trying week for the team and all of South Florida.

“I’m definitely concerned about the community in South Florida, really the whole state, especially with our State of Emergency,” Ndamukong Suh said. “Luckily my family doesn’t like me, so they’re up in Portland, Ore., and Detroit and up north. They’re safe for the most part. Myself, we’ll figure something out.”

New quarterback Jay Cutler, who moved here by himself from Nashville a month ago, was immediately hit with a question of whether he now regrets coming to Florida. He laughed. Cutler’s wife and kids are back at their home, and he didn’t bring much with him.

“I’m in a different situation than most of these guys because my family’s not here,” he said. “A lot of these guys have a lot on their plate—moving their families and your house and your cars.

“I’m one of the few lucky ones that I’ve got a car here and a bag full of clothes, and that’s kind of it. You’ve got a lot of guys in that locker room that are going through a lot of things in their head, and we’ve gotta be mindful of that and kinda help them in any way possible.”

In most regular-season weeks, the Dolphins would do film Monday, take Tuesday off, then practice Wednesday through Friday. They’re actually well-positioned this week in that regard because of it being the opener.

Instead of their usual practice schedule, the Dolphins started preparing for Tampa Bay on Monday and will have the majority of their on-field work completed by the end of Wednesday. That would have enabled them to be ready earlier in the week if the league had moved the game up instead of relocating or rescheduling it.

“We’re open to anything,” Cutler said. “This team is young and flexible and they’re ready to rock.”

[Five undrafted rookies make the Dolphins. Here are their stories]

[Byron Maxwell, Alterraun Verner still battling for starting cornerback job]

[Jupiter’s Cody Parkey living the dream with the Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook


The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.

Hurricane Irma: Dolphins-Buccaneers will be moved or rescheduled

The Dolphins’ season opener has been in question all week because of Hurricane Irma. (Bill Ingram/The Post)

DAVIE–The NFL announced today the Dolphins’ season opener against Tampa Bay will be moved or rescheduled.

The teams, the NFL and government agencies have been deliberating this week whether to relocate or reschedule the game. It had been slotted for 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, but if the storm reaches South Florida, the brunt of it is expected to hit Saturday night or Sunday morning.

The league said the game will be played at an alternate venue or held in South Florida later in the season.

“In the interest of public safety in light of the current state of emergency, the NFL, in consultation with state and local officials as well as both clubs, has decided that playing an NFL game in South Florida this week is not appropriate,” the league said in a statement.

One option is to match the teams up on their shared bye week, a convenient coincidence, which comes the weekend of Nov. 19. The Dolphins would be coming off a Monday night game at Carolina, and the Bucs are home against the Jets on Nov. 12.

This is the second time in recent history a Dolphins season opener has been changed because of weather. In September 2004, the opener was shifted from Sunday to Saturday because of concerns about Hurricane Ivan.

There was concern about a home game last October when Hurricane Matthew threatened South Florida before turning north and hitting closer to Jacksonville. The Dolphins closed their facility for one day, but were able to host Tennessee as scheduled.

Incidentally, the Dolphins came into the week planning to do the majority of their Tampa Bay practices Monday through Wednesday. Gase said the team would essentially be as prepared as usual even if the game was changed.

The next concern for the Dolphins, football-wise, is their Week 2 game at the Chargers. The team is scheduled to fly to the Los Angeles Sept. 14, but now might need to rearrange those plans.

While the football season is not the most important thing in a situation like this, the Dolphins will proceed and almost certainly play the Chargers as scheduled. If Irma wrecks their practice field in Davie, they’d need to find a new location to prepare for that game.

[Five undrafted rookies make the Dolphins. Here are their stories]

[Byron Maxwell, Alterraun Verner still battling for starting cornerback job]

[Jupiter’s Cody Parkey living the dream with the Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook


The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.

Hurricane Irma: Dolphins-Buccaneers have no word on game

Current Hurricane Irma forecasts give South Florida reason for concern. (NOAA)

DAVIE–The Dolphins have no word yet on the status of their season opener against the Buccaneers.

The game remains scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, but it is becoming increasingly unlikely that it will stay in that time slot as Category 5 Hurricane Irma continues to threaten South Florida.

[RELATED: Latest on Hurricane Irma, radar, prep lists]

“I’m not gonna waste my time speculating on anything,” coach Adam Gase said this afternoon. “We’re gonna keep preparing like we’re playing Sunday, where and when, we really don’t care.”

Dolphins officials were on a conference call with the NFL and government officials this morning, but Gase wasn’t part of the discussion. He continued football-related meetings with players and staff. He said the operations staff is exploring all factors as the storm approaches.

Conveniently, for football purposes, the team came into the week planning to do the majority of its work Monday through Wednesday, so if the game is moved up, Gase believes the Dolphins would be as prepared as they would in a normal week.

One consideration for the Dolphins is that they visit the Chargers next week. The team is scheduled to fly to the Los Angeles area Sept. 14.

If the Buccaneers game is not eventually played at Hard Rock Stadium, the Dolphins will have only six home games this season. They are already giving up a home game to play Week 4 against the Saints in London and will play in Los Angeles, New York and London over consecutive weeks.

“Whatever they tell us to do, we’ll do,” Gase said.

One option would be to have the teams play on their shared bye week, which comes the weekend of Nov. 19. The Dolphins would be coming off a Monday night game at Carolina, and the Bucs are home against the Jets on Nov. 12.

The majority of players The Post spoke to Monday were fine with moving the game up a few days or playing it in another city. Several objected to the idea of losing their bye week and having to play 16 consecutive games, and Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter voiced that opinion as well.

“I don’t want to do that, no question,” Miami tight end Julius Thomas said. “When you get that bye week, you’re so used to getting those four or five days to get your body back. Think about how many guys have a nagging injury, and they’re able to now turn the corner on the bye week. Without that bye week, you’re gonna put the bodies through a lot. I’d rather play on Thursday than do that.”

While shrinking the timeline to prepare for the game isn’t ideal, playing on short notice is more feasible in the opening week than it would be if the teams were coming off a game.

The Dolphins got a head start by practicing Monday, something they wouldn’t do in a typical game week, and the majority of their key players haven’t been in live contact since the Aug. 24 preseason game at Philadelphia. They were well aware there could be a schedule change this week, and defensive end Andre Branch said he would’ve been ready to play Monday night or any other night.

“It makes a big difference that I’m not feeling banged up from last week,” Thomas said. “It also helps that we started (Monday). Ultimately, we all know how to prepare in four days. It gives you practice for when you have to do it later in the season.”

Gase said today he has no preference on finding a way to play this week versus giving up the bye in Week 11.

This is always a tense time of year for South Florida weather, and the Dolphins have been through it often. Hurricane Matthew posed a potential problem last October, causing the team to close its facility the week leading up to the Titans game, though it ultimately made landfall farther up the coast.

[RELATED: Hurricane Irma prep list, supplies]

In 2005, a late-October home game against Kansas City was moved up to a Friday night to get it in before any potential impact from Hurricane Ivan. The Chiefs landed in South Florida about six hours before kickoff and won 30-20.

They had a 2004 home game against Pittsburgh that was shifted from the usual 1 p.m. start time to a night kickoff because of Hurricane Jeanne. That game was played through a downpour that left standing water on the field, and the crowd was about 30,000 according to news reports.

Weather caused all kinds of chaos in the ’04 season, when the season opener against Tennessee was moved up one day to Saturday due to concerns about Hurricane Ivan. During the preseason, Hurricane Frances’ approach prompted the organization to ask the NFL to cancel its preseason finale at New Orleans, but the league made them play.

The year before, Miami had a game at San Diego relocated to Arizona State’s campus because of wildfires in California.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the NFL moved all Week 2 games to the end of the season and pushed the start of the playoffs back one week.

[Five undrafted rookies make the Dolphins. Here are their stories]

[Byron Maxwell, Alterraun Verner still battling for starting cornerback job]

[Jupiter’s Cody Parkey living the dream with the Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook


The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.