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Bye Week Can't Come Soon Enough For The Fins

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Nolan Carroll of the Miami Dolphins is assisted off the field after being injured. The Dolphins defense needs a week off to get back to full strength.
Nolan Carroll of the Miami Dolphins is assisted off the field after being injured. The Dolphins defense needs a week off to get back to full strength.

The "bye week."

It can be an excruciatingly painful experience for a devoted fan who works 40-hour-plus-weeks and looks forward to their favorite team playing on Sunday.

However, for the players, it's a blessing to have an off week mixed in amongst 17 grueling weeks of physical punishment and ice-filled bath tubs.

In the NFL, the bye weeks start as early as week 4 and conclude week 12. Every team plays weeks 1-3 and 13-17. It can help a team who is struggling through a losing streak and needs to work on things. Or if a team is battered with injuries it can be used as a two-week healing process to get back to full strength.

As far as the Dolphins are concerned, the bye week can't come soon enough.

Miami takes on the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, in a battle of two teams both looking to rebound from bad road losses. Joe Flacco, the 100 million dollar man, threw 5 interceptions in last week's 23-20 defeat against the Buffalo Bills.

We all know the Dolphins most recent result, a 38-17 drumming at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football in the Superdome. With the game on a national stage it was easy to see the Dolphins were affected by the injury bug. Most of the injuries are mounting up on the defensive side of the ball and it was noticeable as Drew Brees picked apart the Dolphins to the tune of 413 yards and 4 touchdowns.

As of Thursday’s injury report posted on miamidolphins.com, Kevin Coyle’s defense is riddled with injuries. Most noticeably, Miami’s All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake’s and his recent MCL sprain. Wake was unable to go Monday night and it showed. The defense sacked Brees only twice and the Saints receivers were running free all night.

Cornerback Dmitri Patterson also missed Monday’s game, which forced rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor to make his Dolphins debut, and of course he drew the assignment of Jimmy Graham on one play and it didn’t end well for the rookie. Patterson hasn’t played since the opening game versus the Cleveland Browns. He had two interceptions and was key on defense for Miami to leave the Dog Pound with a win.

Other limited participants in practice were: Cornerback Nolan Carroll, safety Chris Clemons, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, wide receiver Brandon Gibson, safety/special teams specialist Don Jones, defensive tackle Paul Soliai and linebackers Koa Misi and Jason Trusnik.

A big injury report may not be that worrisome, as it doesn’t tell you how significant the injury is, but lets the public know how much each player was able to do in practice that day. Cameron Wake has been practicing this week and looks poised to boost Miami’s pass rush on Sunday.

The bye week could not have come at a better time for Miami. As their injury report shows, the defense is banged up and they are set to face Tom Brady and the Patriots aerial assault, as well as the Buffalo Bills and their two-headed rushing attack in weeks 7 and 8.

Players on both sides of the ball need to do everything they can to play with maximum effort in Miami’s upcoming home game. They have yet to play a divisional opponent and will play 6 of them over the next ten weeks, including three straight to finish the season. A win here gives the surprise Dolphins a 4-1 record heading into the bye and a ton of confidence. A loss and the Dolphins go into their off-week 3-2; losers of two straight and possible doubt as to how good the team really is.

Win or lose, the Dolphins need to get healthy to be able to make a run at the AFC East crown. A week or so away from football, a possible vacation and treatment to their bodies will do each player some good as the team looks to prove they are contenders.