TAMPA BAY THOUGHTS

For the second weekend in a row, the Dolphins will be working out against another team. But things figure to be a lot more lively against the Tampa Bay Bucs than they were against the Tennessee Titans.

For one thing, the Dolphins and Bucs are very familiar with each other, having held joint workout the last couple of summers.

Another factor is the fact that Tampa Bay's roster includes a couple of players who are among the biggest talkers in the league — Warren Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson.

Patrick Surtain and the other Dolphins defensive backs figure to hear plenty from Johnson this weekend.

"Keyshawn might yap it up, but he doesn't mean anything by it," Surtain said. "That's just his nature."

As far as Sapp is concerned, guard Mark Dixon said facing the Pro Bowl defensive tackle will be a good experience for the team's younger offensive linemen.

"He's the total package," Dixon said. "He'll test you mentally, he'll test you physically.

"And then he's got an aura about him and he'll make sure that rookie knows that, 'Hey, I'm No. 99. I'm the one they talk about, the one you've been reading about.' He lets everybody in the place know."

The Dolphins and Bucs will work at 8:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Saturday and again at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

The teams, of course, are facing each other in their preseason opener Monday night at Raymond James Stadium at 8 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN.

In addition to breaking the monotony of always hitting each other, facing another team — especially one like the Bucs — should benefit the Dolphins in the long run.

"It's a test every year that we practice against them," said fullback Deon Dyer, "and if you come out and feel that you accomplished something, then you did because this is a tough group of guys and a great team to go up against."


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