DAVIE, Fla. — When the 2013 NFL schedule was announced, many Miami Dolphins fans gladly would have taken a 3-2 record at the Week 6 bye.
Now that the week has arrived, some of the same people probably are lamenting their favorite team not being 4-1.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn’t cut it in the NFL. As Bill Parcells liked to say, “You are what you are.”
In the Dolphins case, reality doesn’t bite. They’re 3-2 and a game behind New England in the AFC East. And this year’s Patriots hardly seem invincible.
Of course, Miami was undefeated before dropping its last two games, at New Orleans and to Baltimore.
“At the start of the season, none of us were hoping to be 3-2 at the bye,” tight end Charles Clay said. “It’s tough losing two games in a row. We played two tough teams. We just have to evaluate and try to get better.”
Imagine how much more enjoyable the Dolphins’ off week would be had they beaten the Ravens instead of suffering a 3-point loss.
“Not necessarily,” coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday. “I think everybody in football after five weeks, I know us specifically after five games, we have certain strengths and certain weaknesses.
“Had things ended a little differently in this (Baltimore) game in the last minute or two of the game, we still would have a lot of things that would need to be worked on.”
First and foremost, that refers to an offensive line that has contributed to a league-high 24 sacks of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an unproductive running game. Then there’s trying to get the ball to big-play receiver Mike Wallace. All that has added up to an offense ranked 28th both overall (316.6 ypg) and in rushing (69.6 ypg).
There’s work to do defensively, too. Miami is ranked 26th, surrendering 393.0 ypg.
While the bye week might seem early to some people, the Dolphins to a man said it came at a good time.
“We were in camp a week earlier before everybody else, so it’s a good time to have a bye week,” Wallace said. “We can take a step back, get a breath if fresh air and come back ready to finish the season.”
Miami began training camp early because it played in the Hall of Fame game.
“We had five preseason games. We played 10 (overall). We have 11 to go,” Philbin said. “From a calendar wise, if you just start it in July 21 when the players get here to when the regular-season calendar ends, it comes about the right spot in time.”
When the Dolphins return to work, they’ll face division rivals on consecutive weekends. The Buffalo Bills visit Sun Life Stadium next Sunday before Miami plays at New England the following week.
“We have to be ready to play every single game that we play,” Philbin said, “but we also understand in the big scheme of things that there are tiebreaker rules (with division games) that impact standings.”