The Buccaneers and Dolphins — as most right-thinking people are — are more worried about the weather than the sports right now.
But after having their game pushed back into November because of the oncoming Hurricane Irma, the Bucs are making plenty of adjustments on the fly.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said all the football ramifications are on his mind (even if not the top of his mind) while emphasizing that the safety of his team and the communities involved.
“The number-one thing any of us should be thinking about is safety of everyone involved, not just our people but everybody’s families and the communities,” Koetter said. “This is a natural disaster. Football takes a backseat to all of that.”
One of the side effects of the postponement to their mutual bye in Week 11, is that they take their bye week now, and then play 16 straight games without a break. And as it pertains to their scheduling, Koetter’s still working through a lot of things.
“We don’t really know 100 percent on that,” he said. “On a normal bye week, if you have it during the season, you’re going to give your players six days off. So, six days would put us at next Wednesday; hopefully we can do something on Tuesday. We’re going to take four days off right now, that you have to do for a bye week. You have to take a day off next week; we’ll take Monday off. We’ll do something on Tuesday, God willing that everybody can be here safely. That will be a normal week in preparation for Chicago [in Week Two], but that’s all based on if everything’s good to go here.”
Koetter said he didn’t think a neutral-site game was feasible, considering it would have required two teams in the path of the storm to leave families and homes and try to work, but at the moment he’s short on answers.
“Our guys are going to scatter here this afternoon and who knows when we’ll be able to get them all back?” he said. “There’s just lots of little things that are going to come up. Just like anything else, just like a football game, guess what? We’ve got to adjust and we’ve got to deal with it. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. I’ve talked to a ton of people today of, there is a precedence for teams playing 15 or 16 games in a row and you know what? Most of those teams have done pretty well. This isn’t going to affect us one bit until we get to Week 11. If we’re 10-0 or 0-10 we’d be feeling different about ourselves.
“If we’re 10-0, we’d probably want to keep playing. If we’re 0-10, I probably won’t be standing here. Let’s just be real about it. We’ve got a hurricane, we’re dealing with it, and then we’ll move on.”
And that hurricane, and not this week’s game, is the first thing on his mind.