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Dolphins start new era with Bowles

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DAVIE, Fla. (AP)

Miami Dolphins interim coach Todd Bowles talked to the media shortly after quarterback J.P. Losman on Wednesday.

And it's tough to say which one was a bigger surprise.

Bowles, the former assistant head coach and secondary coach, was promoted Monday when coach Tony Sparano was fired after three-plus seasons.

Losman, Buffalo's first-round pick in 2004, replaced quarterback Matt Moore after he suffered a head injury in the 24-10 loss to Philadelphia last week.

The Dolphins (4-9) will head to Buffalo (5-8) to try to get out of their malaise.

''We have three games left and it's not about me,'' said the 48-year-old Bowles. ''It's about trying to keep the team afloat.''

It won't be easy.

Losman is Miami's fourth quarterback, following Chad Henne (shoulder), Sage Rosenfels (blood disorder) and Moore.

Moore could still start on Sunday, but as a precaution the Dolphins took the step of splitting first-team snaps between Losman and Pat Devlin, the third-team quarterback who is on the practice squad.

Also Wednesday, left tackle Jake Long (back), a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) missed practice, meaning Miami's replacements might go beyond Bowles and Losman.

''I haven't heard him say two words before today,'' running back Reggie Bush said shortly after Wednesday's practice.

That's because Bowles always worked with the defense. But Bowles, described by players as a ''straight shooter'' and ''tough,'' also flashed a sense of humor.

''I can speak loud when I need to,'' Bowles said. ''And I have.''

Losman also showed a sense of humor. He said he spent part of his offseason throwing to his 5-foot-6 uncle, Art - a man whom Losman said has ''very good hands'' - at Santa Monica Community College.

Bowles told the players to reach out to Sparano.

''We've told them to send out their condolences and talk to Coach Sparano,'' Bowles said. ''He's done a lot for everybody including myself.''

Sparano (29-32) was fired after three-plus seasons. Bowles takes over a team that has only made the playoffs once in the past 10 years.

Miami has finished 7-9 the previous two seasons and is assured of having three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since its inception, when it had four consecutive losing seasons (1966-69).

Miami owner Stephen Ross may want to hire a high-profile coach.

Among the names being mentioned are former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, former Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden and former Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher.

Ross said Bowles would be considered as the full-time coach when that position is filled. Bowles, however, is simply trying to rally his team and get them used to life without Sparano.

''It's a little strange,'' Bowles said. ''It's a little weird, but it comes with the job. Big office, big shoes, big chair to fill.''

Miami routed Buffalo 35-8 on Nov. 20. But that was with Sparano and Moore. Now the Dolphins have Bowles and possibly Losman.

''I don't think it raises the degree of difficulty,'' Bowles said of having a backup coach and quarterback.

''If you look around the league there is a lot of injured quarterbacks right now. People have to step in.''

''J.P. has been around for a while. He understands what we're asking him to do and understands the game. We'll just try to make sure that (we give him) the game plan that he can work with.''

Tagged: Dolphins, J.P. Losman, Matt Moore

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