Bye Weekend Notebook

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for four consecutive days on bye weekend, and that means the Dolphins are off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday before returning to the field Tuesday to begin preparations for the Oct. 17 game against the Jets. In the meantime, we catch up on the latest news and notes involving the team.

-- The Dolphins rank last in the NFL in third-down efficiency, a fact that Coach Tony Sparano has blamed on the numerous third-and-longs that the Dolphins have found themselves in. "I would urge you to go back and look at the, look at all the third downs that we've had in the first four games, particularly in the last couple games," Sparano said. "I would say to you that you're going to find 12 to 15 that are in the 9-plus-yard category, maybe a little higher." The Dolphins converted just 3 of their 10 third downs against the Chargers on Sunday.

--Ticket sales could be a major issue for the Dolphins if they fail to turn their season around. At the start of the season, between 15,000 and 20,000 tickets remained for five of the team's eight home games — all except the ones against the Patriots, Eagles and Jets. The Dolphins don't play another home game until Oct. 23 against the Denver Broncos, and it's possible the team could be facing its first blackout in a decade. Ross bought several thousand tickets to ensure that the Dolphins' most recent home game, a 23-13 loss against the Texans on Sept. 18, wasn't blacked out.

-- The Dolphins' 0-4 start is their worst since 2007, when they finished with a 1-15 record. Sparano became the head coach after that season, but he does have experience with worse starts than the one the Dolphins are enduring. Sparano was on the Washington Redskins staff in 2001 when they started 0-5. "We won our last eight of whatever it was ... eight of 11 games I think it was," Sparano said. "I mean, we finished the season 8-8 that year. I've been in some of those situations where it's bounced around. It just takes a win to get yourself going and right now that's all we're worried about."

-- Despite the poor start, Sparano has been pleased with the mood of the team. He said it was "great" during practice on Wednesday and that the players have been upbeat despite their struggles on the field. "We put the game away and moved on and we're working hard on getting better this week and I think they understand what we're getting better at," Sparano said. "We've had two really good days of practice."

-- Since the introduction of the bye week in 1990, the Dolphins are 12-9 in games following their off week. Between 1990 and 1995, the Dolphins were a perfect 6-0 following bye weeks. The team has been less successful in recent seasons, though, and has lost its past two games following the bye week.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 — Number of starting quarterbacks the Dolphins have had since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. If Matt Moore starts the team's next game, he'll become the Dolphins' 16th starting quarterback since Marino retired.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Right now really, honestly, my sole focus is how we're going to get this thing turned around and get ourselves going in the right direction. We got a week right now to get ourselves going but I completely appreciate what he had to say." — Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on receiving public support from owner Steve Ross amid the team's 0-4 start.


-- WR Brandon Marshall has dropped at least one pass in every game, but coach Tony Sparano dismissed the notion that Marshall is struggling. Sparano said he has faith in Marshall's ability to make plays.

-- H-back Charles Clay is likely to become more involved in the offense after catching two passes for 34 yards against San Diego last week. Those were the first two catches of Clay's career.

-- NT Paul Soliai had just five tackles through four games, but Sparano noted that Soliai is facing a lot of double teams.

-- P Brandon Fields has excelled this season, averaging 51.4 yards on his 15 punts. Fields has landed seven of those punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

Dolphins Report Top Stories