Facing a difficult opening stretch of games and following a 2-6 record away from home last season, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin knows Sunday's opener at Cleveland is an important litmus test for his team. The Dolphins played an additional preseason game, and will stay at the same hotel they did for the Hall of Fame game against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 4.
"We tried to make things familiar," said Philbin. "Familiarity is an important part of being successful on the road, being comfortable playing on the road in that hostile environment. We kind of prepared our guys for that going on an extra trip in the exact hotel we are going to be in.
"So there is no magic on winning on the road. You've got to play good, sound, fundamental football. That's what we told our guys. We've got to play fast. We've got to play decisive. We've got plenty of offense, defense and special teams (work). As I told our team, we could play a double-header with all the stuff we got in."
After Sunday, the Dolphins travel to Indianapolis and play host to Atlanta, both playoff teams, before a Sunday night game at New Orleans and a home game against the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens leading into the bye week.
"I believe all games are important," said Philbin. "Every single game on an NFL schedule is important, and this one is very, very important, obviously."
-- CB Will Davis (toe), QB Pat Devlin (ankle) and CB Jamar Taylor (groin) were officially ruled out for Miami, while CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle) is questionable.
--DE Dion Jordan (shoulder) took part in full practice again Friday and is listed as probable along with LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder), DE Vaughn Martin (ankle), TE Dion Sims (groin) and S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring).