Barry Jackson

Dolphins ready for small college crowd; Cutler, Stills and more Dolphins notes

Hurricane Irma forces NFL to reschedule Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11

With Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, the NFL decided to move the Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11, meaning the teams will have to play 16 games in a row.
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With Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, the NFL decided to move the Dolphins-Buccaneers game to Week 11, meaning the teams will have to play 16 games in a row.

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Thursday morning:

• Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh compares Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers to playing in a high school stadium.

Not because of the quality of the opponent, but because of the size of the venue.

The Chargers, who moved north from San Diego this past offseason, are playing in the 27,000-seat StubHub Center, which is used by a Major League Soccer team, until a new stadium in Inglewood is completed in 2020.

“It is going to be a smaller stadium, and obviously less fans,” Suh said. “I can’t think back to a situation in the pros or especially not in college, as Nebraska has 90-100,000 people. But I guess I would just go back to saying it’ll be similar to a high school or a small college, wherever it may be.

“I could say going out to Florida (International) I believe is where we had our first prep practice and live scrimmage my first year down here in Miami. I can think back to that. That was a smaller stadium and what not; but at the end of the day it’s not really a big focus for me. I think it’ll be loud and exciting and I look forward to just playing.”

As perspective, FIU’s Ricardo Silva Stadium seats 23,500.

If the Chargers can’t sell out home games in a stadium of this size, it’s going to be embarrassing.

Forbes wrote on Wednesday that “StubHub, the ticket-resale company whose name adorns the Chargers’ temporary stadium in Carson, Calif., listed nearly 2,500 tickets for Sunday’s game, selling from $120 to $2,000. The tickets originally sold for $70 to $375.

“For the Chargers’ second home game, an AFC West contest Sept. 24 against the Kansas City Chiefs, tickets are selling for as low as $115, with tickets for a Dec. 3 game against Cleveland at a $101 minimum. (Tickets for the Raiders game Dec. 31 are at least $284, though.)”

• Jay Cutler says this is his weirdest start to a season. Ever.

“Oh, it’s not even close,” he said. “I mean, to come into camp halfway through training camp and then have to evacuate and come here and miss … having the first game cancelled. It’s been a wild ride.”

Do the Dolphins need to hit reset essentially and refocus after the past week?

“Yes,” Cutler said Wednesday. “I mean think that’s valid. I think that’s valid and I think most of the guys got here either Sunday or Monday and that was kind of the day to start kind of prepping that our bye week is over and we’ve got to get football going. We were a little bit rusty today since we haven’t practiced. We got a little bit going yesterday, but I’m sure that as the week goes on, we’ll get back into it.”

Asked what makes him confident the Dolphins’ offense will hit the ground running, so to speak, Cutler was candid.

“We might not,” Cutler said. “I mean we don’t know how it’s going to go. We’re going to practice as hard as we can. We’re going to prepare as much as we can; but like any game, like any NFL season, there’s going to be some ups and downs out there and these guys are … It’s a resilient group, so we’ll just battle through them.”

• Kenny Stills, who has been vocal about social issues, offered more commentary in a series of tweets on Tuesday. Still is disappointed that more players haven’t spoken up about social injustices.

“Do you not believe there’s a problem? Do you not believe you can create a change?

“Are you worried about sponsors or your contract? Do you not care?” Stills wrote in tweets that seemed to be directed toward NFL players.

“Why hasn't the [NFL] ever released a statement condemning the unarmed shootings of our people? The league could've easily written a positive narrative about Colin Kaepernick and what he started. They chose to stay neutral. Why is that? How can we expect the league to care about something we're not showing we care about?”

• If Rey Maualuga can’t play Sunday because of a hamstring injury, Mike Hull likely would start at middle linebacker, with Chase Allen backing him up.

But whoever plays the middle might only be on the field for 20 to 30 plays, because that player likely would come off the field when the Dolphins go to a nickel package.

• Cutler and Julius Thomas have improved their chemistry in the past three weeks, with Thomas catching a touchdown pass in a game and several in practice. Unlike 2015, Miami was decent in the red zone last season, ranking 15th in percentage of red zone trips that resulted in touchdowns (55.3 percent).

But Thomas represents the best chance to be better. With Gase as Denver’s offensive coordinator, Thomas had 18 red zone targets in 2013 and 15 in 2014. Those fell to 10 and seven in his two years in Jacksonville.

According to PFF, 23 of Thomas’ 33 total touchdowns havecome from red zone targets.

“I have a history where things have worked out,” Gase said of Thomas. “Keep putting him in position to make plays.”

• CBS is sending Dolphins-Chargers to 12 percent of the country: all of Florida except Tallahassee, Panama City and Jacksonville; Southern California; and curiously, Fargo, N.D.

Full regionalization maps are available at 506sports.com, though CBS cautions they’re not always totally accurate.

CBS assigned its No. 3 NFL team, Greg Gumbel and Trent Green, to Sunday’s Dolphins game.

Here’s my piece today with lots of interesting highlights from the Dan Marino movie that debuts Friday, plus comments from the producer and more... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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