The Dolphins began the work week with a roster move, cutting second-year fullback Ryan Mahaffey.
The transaction appears to clear the way for Jorvorskie Lane to win the starting job, assuming the Dolphins actually keep a lead blocker on the roster. Mahaffey started training camp working with the first team but slipped behind Lane after the first week of practice.
Lane was again listed as the starter in the most recent depth chart, released Monday evening, and little-used Jerome Messam is the only other fullback on the roster.
“He’s one of those kids if you were playing a pickup football game, you’d probably pick him in the first round, second round,” coach Joe Philbin said of Lane. “He’s a very instinctive player. He’s got good running skills, good balance.”
Mahaffey’s release could presage an addition for the Dolphins, who are allowed to have 90 players on their roster for another week. The team must pare its roster to 75 by Monday and then down to 53 by Aug. 31.
Other moves of note in the latest depth chart:
• Julius Pruitt and Marlon Moore are listed as the backup receivers behind Legedu Naanee and Davone Bess — even though Roberto Wallace started Friday against Carolina. Moore got extensive looks with the first team during Monday’s practice.
• Marcus Thigpen’s strong special teams play will give the Dolphins some tough choices at running back. He’s listed as the top kick returner but the last of the team’s five healthy tailbacks.
• Nose tackle Isaako Aaitui has passed Ryan Baker on the third team defensive line.
“The roster right now is what it is,” Philbin said. “What’s it going to be on Sept. 4 or 5, who knows? Things change fast … in this league.”
• DE Cameron Wake (back injury) returned to practice Monday after a car accident kept him out of action the previous week. OG Eric Steinbach (knee) likewise was back in pads.
• John Jerry replaced Artis Hicks at right guard midway through the session, which was open to the media.
• LBs Kevin Burnett (back) and Karlos Dansby (knee) dressed, but were limited. DT Tony McDaniel (leg) and WR Brian Hartline (leg) also were limited.
Gary Guyton and Austin Spitler took the place of Burnett and Dansby, respectively, with the starting defense. Jason Trusnik had been working with the first team in their absence but did not Monday.
“I like Austin a lot,” Philbin said of Spitler. “He plays fast, has been decisive.”
Some fast facts on the Dolphins’ home game Friday against Atlanta:
• The Falcons lead the preseason series 6-5, outscoring Miami 233-203.
• Miami won the last preseason meeting 28-23 in the Georgia Dome last year.