SEATTLE (AP) — Adam Gase knows he gets a bit of an advantage as the new coach with a new team and no lengthy background on what he might try to pull in his first game in charge of the Miami Dolphins.
Gase is also well aware the Seattle Seahawks have tape on what he’s tried to do in the past as an offensive coordinator, including one memorable Super Bowl while Gase was in Denver.
“I think a lot of us felt like we were rolling at that time. Really, it was as close to a shutout as you can get. We got one (touchdown) late,” Gase said recalling Seattle’s 43-8 blowout of Denver nearly three years ago. “You have to do a lot of soul searching at that point and re-evaluate what you were doing and what went wrong and how you could’ve changed things.”
Gase makes his debut as coach of the Dolphins on Sunday, facing a major challenge traveling to Seattle to take on one of the favorites in the NFC.
The baseline in Seattle has now become 10 wins and a playoff appearance under Pete Carroll. And those expectations are no different entering a season where the Seahawks believe the swagger that led them to a Super Bowl title is back.
While Seattle’s defense returns all of its elite talent, there is a different feel about the offense this year. Marshawn Lynch has retired , leaving it even more in the hands of quarterback Russell Wilson coming off the finest season of his young career.
“The finish to last season, the second half of last season, he couldn’t have been sharper,” Carroll said of Wilson. “He comes off of that. He’s just added to his awareness and his command.”
Here’s what else to watch for as Miami visits Seattle for the first time in 12 years:
ON THE LINE: Overanalyzing the offensive line in Seattle has become a yearly tradition.
Seattle’s revamped line played well during the preseason, but was thrown into flux this week with rookie Germain Ifedi, pegged to be the starting right guard, going down with an ankle injury in practice and expected to miss the opener.
However Seattle fills the void, it’ll be challenged by Miami’s powerful defensive line featuring Mario Williams in his debut with the Dolphis, along with Ndamukong Suh and the expected return of Cameron Wake from an Achilles tendon injury last season.
“They’re loaded. They’ve got terrific personnel,” Carroll said. “It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
WELL-TRAVELED: Cornerback Byron Maxwell will be playing for his third team in as many years when he returns to Seattle. Maxwell spent his first four NFL seasons in Seattle in 2011-14, left for Philadelphia and is now with Miami. He said he stays in touch with the Seahawks’ defensive backs and is looking forward to the return.
“Where it all started,” he said. “I had a great time there my four years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’ve got a special bond with some guys there.”
Maxwell will always hold a special place among Seattle fans as being part of the first Super Bowl championship team. Gase said occasionally Maxwell will bring up the blowout victory that featured the top offense in the NFL getting shut down.
“He got blown out,” Maxwell said. “The No. 1 offense got smashed.”
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster says his return from Achilles tendon surgery isn’t a big deal.
“I wasn’t dead. I had an injury,” he said. “I’ve bounced back before.”
Foster will start for the Dolphins less than 11 months after the injury ended his 2015 season with the Houston Texans. Signed by Miami in July, Foster had only seven carries in the preseason, but beat out Jay Ajayi for the starting job.
Injuries have limited Foster to 25 games in the past three years. He averaged 2.6 yards per carry in 2015 and turned 30 last month.
“You hear all of the geniuses that say that’s what’s supposed to happen at 30,” he said. “But I feel like if you take care of your body and you train like I train, you should be able to do good things.”
SPLIT BACKS: Thomas Rawls is healthy. But he’s not completely in game shape, with Carroll likening his status this week to Rawls heading into his second preseason game after he got very limited action in the final preseason game.
Expect Rawls and Christine Michael to split the carries in the Seattle backfield for the opener. It will be the first regular-season game for Rawls since breaking his ankle in Week 14 last season. Michael has earned the opportunity by averaging 6.0 yards per carry in the preseason and has improved executing his assignments.
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