OXNARD, Calif. -- With some family members and friends still in Florida dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Irma, the Miami Dolphins began preparations for their first regular-season game with a practice here on Wednesday. They play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at StubHub Stadium.
The NFL postponed the Dolphins' opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Miami a week ago because of Hurricane Irma. The storm shifted west and Miami was somewhat spared, as severe winds and rain resulted in power outages throughout the area but no major flooding. Players and coaches appear, for the most part, to have avoided major property damage.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who has pledged $1 million to the rebuilding efforts for the region, flew coaches, players and their families to Los Angeles on a team charter on Friday. The Dolphins are using the Dallas Cowboys' training camp facility in Oxnard as the team's home base for the week.
Coach Adam Gase left Miami on Sept. 6 with his family after he found out the game had been moved to Week 11. He arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday. He acknowledged it's been strange watching what's going on back home.
"You're just so far away that it doesn't seem real when you're watching it on TV, but knowing that's where you're from and wondering how everything is going to play out," Gase said. "There's a lot of friends that we have, staff and players that stayed back. We were getting a lot of information about what was going on, and we had a lot of guys scattered throughout Florida, too. So we were just getting constant updates from the people that were back there. And it's tough because you know it's going to take some time to recover and get things fixed."
Gase said the final few players arrived Tuesday evening. Edge rusher Cameron Wake, who stayed in Miami, was the last to report. Gase said Los Angeles Rams IT staff pitched in to help the organization get up and running over the weekend in time for the team to begin practicing this week.
"It's just back to business as normal," Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said in a conference call with reporters. "I got here on Monday. I've been watching film the last couple of days, and we've had our first couple of meetings already, so really it's just having an opportunity to take my mind off a little bit of what's going on back home in Florida and focus on what's important out here."
Players participated in what is considered a normal practice on Wednesday, including meetings and a morning walk-through. It was their first since Sept. 5.
"When we got here our guys seemed focused and ready to go," Gase said. "They've been itching. They had a good couple days last week of practice. I think they're just ready to play some football."
Gase said players did a good job of checking in with the organization if they did not travel on the team charter and then getting to Los Angeles by Tuesday.
"This is our opening game," Gase said. "You wait all year for the first game of the season. We didn't get that opportunity this week. I think our guys are just ready to get going."