A TIME TO RELAX

Quarterback Ray Lucas says the Dolphins' bye couldn't come at a worse time for him because he's so anxious to get back on the field and atone for his poor performance in last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills. But for the rest of the team, the timing of the bye actually was pretty good.

Coach Dave Wannstedt, for one, likes the fact that it fell after the team's seventh game and almost split the season in half. That clearly is more ideal than having a bye in September, like eight teams did.

The bye will give the Dolphins a chance to nurse some injuries, with the list of walking wounded including tackle Mark Dixon, safety Trent Gamble and Lucas himself.

All players and coaches were given the entire weekend off by Wannstedt.

While some players will stay in town, others have made plans to get away.

"I'm going to get in my boat and go as far east as possible so I don't see America anymore," defensive end Jason Taylor said on Wednesday.

And after practice that day, the bye was on Taylor's mind, not the next game, Nov. 4 against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

When somebody asked Taylor about the game, he replied: "To be honest, it's a little early to be talking about Favre. I'm thinking now about getting away and relaxing."

Wannstedt, for his part, was asked whether he was planning on traveling down to the Keys, home of his good friend Jimmy Johnson, but he pointed out that Johnson will be working this weekend as part of FOX's NFL pregame show.

"It takes you two or three days just to halfway unwind and then you're back at it, you know," Wannstedt pointed out. "It'll be a nice break. We've been going since July. It gives the coaches a chance to go home and have dinner with their wives for the first time. I like where it falls."

But Wannstedt also knows it will be back to business soon.

"Like I told the players," Wannstedt said. "I couldn't care less where we are at right now. When we come back here Monday, I'm just concerned with where we're going."


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