Injuries kept key reserves Tony McDaniel and Daniel Thomas out of practice Wednesday, and there are growing signs both will miss Sunday’s home opener against Oakland.
The first clue came earlier in the day, when the Dolphins re-signed Ryan Baker, a defensive lineman who has been on and off the team’s roster the last four years. There’s a good chance Baker will play if McDaniel is not ready to go.
McDaniel missed parts of training camp with knee and toe issues, and left Miami’s loss to Houston with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Baker was back in his native Indianapolis when the Dolphins reached him, working out and hoping for a call. It came from a familiar place.
“This is home,” Baker said. “I work hard. They know me as a person, and as an athlete. I hope I get to go out there and do my job.”
As for Thomas, he will likely miss the Raiders game after experiencing concussion-like symptoms last Sunday, according to a league source.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin declined to answer when asked if Thomas had passed the necessary neurological tests. The league source said Thomas did indeed pass, but the team is strongly considering keeping him out for precautionary reasons. Thomas was not made available to talk Wednesday.
Should Thomas be unable to suit up Sunday, the Dolphins would likely activate rookie Lamar Miller (University of Miami) for the first time.
“I think Lamar’s ready,” said fellow running back Reggie Bush. “He’s been there since day one and he’s been learning, watching. He’s been showing strides and improvements every day, so I think it’s time. If he gets his shot to get in there, I think he’ll do fine.”
‘TIPS’ FOR TANNEHILL
Sports-talk radio hosts and amateur quarterback coaches alike have spent the last week dissecting Ryan Tannehill’s fundamentals after he had six passes knocked down against the Texans.
Does he need to change his release point? Why can’t he find throwing windows? Is this problem going to get solved?
If they saw practice Wednesday – when Cameron Wake batted down Tannehill’s first throw – it probably wouldn’t have settled any nerves.
Trent Dilfer, meanwhile, has some advice for anxious Dolfan Nation: Take a deep breath.
On a conference call with sportswriters from around the nation, Dilfer blamed not Tannehill, but Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin, for what he called a “freakish” series of miscues.
Film study has allowed defenses to do a better job of diagnosing plays before they’re even snapped, Dilfer said, so it’s on the coaching staff to be more multiple and unpredictable in their calls.
“I don’t think it’s correctable on Tannehill’s side,” Dilfer said. “What best allows you to not get balls knocked down is having a quick release. He has one of the quickest releases around, so it doesn’t really make sense.”
ODDS AND ENDS
WR Anthony Armstrong (hamstring), LB Jonathan Freeny (thumb) and DE Randy Starks (groin) all were limited in their participation in practice Wednesday. …
Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour on Texan J.J. Watt’s claim he stole the Dolphins’ snap count from Hard Knocks: “I’ll definitely be calling Watt to find out.” …
The Dolphins will hand out free throwback hats honoring the undefeated 1972 team to everyone in attendance Sunday. Both Philbin and Tannehill modeled the caps during their press availability Wednesday.