CLEVELAND - Most people like the idea of living in southeast Florida with its beaches and warm weather.
Most people, that is, except for the Miami Dolphins. Nothing against the Atlantic Ocean and the climate, but the Dolphins just aren't comfortable playing home games.
During a 7-9 season last year the Dolphins went 1-7 at home and 6-2 on the road. They started this year with losses in back-to-back home games against the New England Patriots and Houston Texans.
Those figures make the Dolphins a dangerous opponent for the Browns in today's game at Cleveland Browns Stadium. If the Dolphins enjoy life on the road as much as they did last season, the Browns will face a roadblock.
"I can't explain it other than the fact that I can say that our turnover ratio at home has been an awful lot higher than it's been on the road," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "I can't tell you the reason why. I've been banging my head over that. Obviously we love playing at home, but we love being on the road. They do a good job of getting to know each other more and that team-bonding thing. It's been something that's been good for us, but I know it's not good for everybody."
Include Sparano among those for whom it's not good. With road games coming up against the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets, getting a win today is critical. If that doesn't happen, Sparano will be placed squarely on a hot seat.
The Browns, who improved to 1-1 last week with a 27-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts, know there's no way the Dolphins can be taken lightly. After losing the opener to the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago, the Browns can assume anything.
"They don't look like a 0-2 football team, that's for sure, especially on the defensive side of the ball," Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said. "You look at some of the guys that they have on their defense and they've basically returned everybody from last year. I expect them to come in here ready to play, flying around. They're big, and they're physical, especially up front. Those guys upfront know how to play, and we've got to be on our game for sure."
Part of the problem for the Dolphins has been offensive inconsistency, which has been put on the shoulders of quarterback Chad Henne. Henne is about as erratic as they come. He has all the physical tools and good arm strength, but he makes too many mistakes.
"I liked Henne when he came out of Michigan," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "I think he's a good thrower. He's a big guy, and he's thick in the lower body, so if you find a way to hit him, you've got to really knock him down because he can bounce off and scramble and make a play. He's a tough guy, so there's a lot there that you're looking for in a really fine quarterback. He can be dangerous."
Henne is working in the system of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who held the same position the last two seasons for former Browns coach Eric Mangini. Daboll was the target of considerable criticism during his time here because of a perceived inability to generate creative game plans.
Sparano obviously saw something he liked in Daboll.
"Brian has done a fabulous job," Sparano said. "I hired him because of his knowledge, his energy and the fact he has been in our division for a bunch of years. Last year Cleveland did an outstanding job against our division. He's a good football coach."
The Browns need another performance from McCoy similar to the one he had against the Colts (22-of-32 for 211 yards and one touchdown). McCoy was successful throwing on the run, which is something Shurmur would like to curtail a bit.
"There is a balance, and I think a quarterback in this league has to be able to operate from the pocket," Shurmur said. "That's the starting point for our offense one, three, five and seven step drops in the pocket with a mixture of just straight drop backs and play action. That's where it starts."