LONDON (AP) — Jet-lagged and a little bleary-eyed, the Miami Dolphins arrived in London early Friday and almost immediately went to work.
With Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback.
Tannehill and his teammates hit the practice field only hours after touching down in the British capital, getting in one last session before the Dolphins (1-2) face the Oakland Raiders (0-3) on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
“We had an excellent practice today,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “I really thought the focus and concentration was really good.”
After days of questions surrounding the quarterback situation in Miami, “really good” is probably about as good as it gets.
Philbin has been noncommittal all week on who will start against the Raiders. And although he again declined to say the name “Tannehill” on Friday, he indicated he would not switch to backup Matt Moore this weekend by mentioning the team’s depth chart.
“Those guys are going to be starters until I announce something different,” Philbin said. “That’s one way of answering the question, and that’s the way it’s going to be answered.”
Tannehill, who has completed only 56.5 percent of his passes and ranks 29th in the NFL in passer rating at 74.1, has already said he will be taking the snaps at Wembley in the first of this year’s three regular-season games in London.
“It’s done,” Tannehill said of the controversy. “It was something we faced earlier in the week, but it’s done.”
With that out of the way, the Dolphins really face only one other obstacle before they try to even their record by beating the Raiders: jet lag.
“I think we’ll be able to get past it,” said Tannehill, who praised Philbin for letting the players sit in first class while the coaches sat in, well, coach.
“I think we have to do a good job tonight and tomorrow night of resting up and letting our bodies catch up on sleep,” Tannehill said, “but I think we’ll be just fine.”
The Raiders arrived in London on Monday and have been practicing at a facility south of the city all week. That will at least give them the advantage of having more time to acclimate to the time difference.
But Philbin is happy with his decision to come later. So far, anyway.
“It just kind of made sense for us to get the bulk of the work done and the game plan done back in Miami,” Philbin said. “On a normal Friday we would start our meetings at 10 o’clock if we were back home and we started them today at 11 o’clock, so we’re really almost on the schedule that we’d be on if we had never come over here.”
Next week’s schedule should be even easier with both the Dolphins and Raiders having a bye week. But whichever team loses Sunday will have plenty of questions to answer during that off time.
Philbin is hoping to avoid that completely.
“You know you’re going into a bye,” Philbin said. “You want to invest everything we have into this one particular game.”