NFL Wire News

Dolphins shoot for winning season vs. Jets


DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins enter Sunday’s season finale against the New York Jets with a chance to post their first winning record since 2008.

While it could be a bit hollow because the Dolphins (8-7) aren’t going to the playoffs, a winning record still would be meaningful.

“I think it’s big,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve got a chance to have a winning record at home, we’ve got a chance to have a winning record overall, we have a chance to have a winning record in our division, those are all important things, very important things.”

The Dolphins are in this position heading into the last game for the second consecutive season, and once again they face the Jets. A year ago, New York defeated Miami 20-7.

Philbin said he is not thinking about avenging that loss.

“No, that was almost 365 days ago,” he said. “This is a new season. This is an important game for us. We’re totally focused on playing well against a team, again, that I think is playing extremely well. They could have been 4-0 the last four games. Coach (Rex) Ryan and his staff and the players, they’re doing a good job.”

The Dolphins missed the playoffs in 12 of the past 13 seasons, and during that stretch, they have only four winning seasons (2002, 2003, 2005, 2008).

Philbin already received an assurance from owner Steve Ross that he would be back for the fourth and final year of his contract. However, Philbin said finishing with a winning record could “absolutely” provide some positive energy heading into the offseason.

So, yes, the Dolphins have motivation.

“To me, it all starts with the way we approach things,” he said. “We approach this as a privilege to put the uniform on and put the whistle on as a coach to represent this organization. The goal is to win, every single time you step onto that field. You do things the right way and give great effort while you’re out there.

“That’s the only way I know how to go about preparing a team to play in the National Football League, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

SERIES HISTORY: 98th regular season meeting. Miami leads series, 50-46-1. The Dolphins won the last meeting, 16-13, on Dec. 1. In that game, special teams played a key role. The Jets missed two field goals, Miami missed one, and the Dolphins deflected a New York punt. Although Miami considers New York its most hated AFC East rival, this game hasn’t had much headline-grabbing hatred in years. Hardcore Dolphins fans will ramp up their Jets disdain, but considering both teams’ struggles in recent years, the fans on both sides will generally find this a yawner.

–Cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive end Cam Wake were selected for the Pro Bowl, giving the Dolphins their fewest selections in six years. Miami had at least three players selected each season since 2008.

Grimes is going to his third Pro Bowl and his second consecutive. His five interceptions are tied for third in the NFL. He needs one more interception to tie his career best set in 2010.

Wake is going to his fourth Pro Bowl and second consecutive. His 11.5 sacks are ninth in the NFL. It is the third time in the past five years he recorded a double-digit sack total.

Although most agree the Dolphins are more talented overall than a year ago, the only other player likely to have made the Pro Bowl was left tackle Branden Albert, but he sustained a season-ending knee injury and played only eight games.

NOTES: Offensive lineman Nate Garner (illness) was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list due to the migraine headaches. … Cornerback Jamar Taylor (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve. … Center/guard Sam Brenner was signed from the practice squad. Brenner started four games at left guard last season as an undrafted rookie, but he was expendable this year when Miami signed C Samson Satele and eventually shifted Mike Pouncey to right guard. Next season, Pouncey is expected to move back to center, where he made the Pro Bowl in 2013.

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