The Miami Dolphins will now have to endure a 16-week schedule without a bye week after the NFL decided to postpone their Week 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The potential difficulties of a grueling schedule are obvious, but there are some minor upsides to the schedule change.
Let's now examine how the Dolphins can make the most of an unfortunate situation.
Special Teams Continuity
The Dolphins will be featuring a special teams unit that is relying on the legs of two newcomers this season. Matt Haack has the benefit of being on the roster during training camp, but the newly acquired Cody Parkey didn't get to participate in any preseason activity with his new team.
The ever-steady John Denney will still handle the long snapping duties, but the other members of Miami's kicking game will be learning on the fly. An extra week of practice behind the scenes should give Haack and Parkey adequate time to work on their field goal routine.
Another Week For Cutler
Jay Cutler is only weeks removed from his brief retirement, so a little added time working off the field could pay legitimate dividends. On top of getting back in shape, it will give him more time to build chemistry with his receivers before the snaps begin to count.
Coach Adam Gase has made subtle changes to his playbook since he last worked with Cutler, and this extended break should give the 34-year-old quarterback plenty of time to adapt to the new offense.
Settle the Roster Battles
Even after four weeks of preseason, the Dolphins had several positions that were up for grabs heading into Week 1 against the Buccaneers. Perhaps the most intriguing of them all was the battle for the starting cornerback position, as Byron Maxwell appeared to be losing ground on first-year Dolphin Alterraun Verner. Another full week of practice and analysis will give Miami's coaching staff a more complete picture of their secondary, which will hopefully put them in a better situation when they face the Chargers.
Along with the starting cornerback position, the battle for who starts alongside Ndamukong Suh was a competition that wasn't decided until late in the exhibition campaign. It appears that Jordan Phillips will retain his role as a starter, but don't be shocked if Davon Godchaux continues to garner praise from the coaching staff.
The Big Picture
The NFL's decision to postpone the Dolphins and Buccaneers matchup will allow members of both organizations to focus on their families instead of football. Miami's players and staff will now be able to allocate their time to getting prepared for the potential devastation of Hurricane Irma. Outside of the team itself, postponing the game will allow the fans to do the same over the weekend.