A DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT

The Dolphins can't do a whole lot about the fact that the NFL, in its infinite wisdom, forced them to play two games in four days — except make the best of a difficult situation.

But the bottom line is the Dolphins won't get as much out of their first two preseason games as other teams.

To refresh your memory, the problem arose because of the Jets-Steelers game, which was originally scheduled for Monday night. But somebody at some point realized that the Pittsburgh Pirates also had a home game that night, and parking for the two nearby facilities could become a nightmare.

So that game was switched to Thursday night and left ESPN looking for a new matchup for Monday night. Hmm, let's see. How about the Dolphins-Bucs matchup? Yeah!

Hey, never mind that the Dolphins were set to play New Orleans on Thursday, Aug. 15, just three nights later.

In case you're wondering why the Dolphins didn't just move back their game against the Saints, it couldn't be done. The Florida Marlins are at home Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So the mess was created, much to the dismay of the Dolphins.

"The NFL does a lot of strange things," said safety Brock Marion. "And that's one of them."

Guard Mark Dixon, who always has an interesting perspective on topics, had this to say about the unusual preseason schedule.

"It reminds me of Canada where we played three or four times a week," he said. "You didn't just unpack your bags; they brought it in and you looked at it for a couple of minutes and they put it back on the plane to go to some other city. It's kind of barnstorming like they did back in the day."

From Coach Dave Wannstedt's standpoint, the two games so close together means less time to make adjustments and less practice time.

Following Sunday morning's practice against the Tampa Bay Bucs, the Dolpins aren't schedule to run another full practice until next Saturday afternoon.

There's the game on Monday, the players are off on Tuesday, a walk-through on Wednesday, the game on Thursday, and the players are off on Friday.

"We're not going to get much work corrected between (the first two games)," Wannstedt said. "It's unusual. I haven't been through anything like this."


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