Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips practiced fully Friday and said his injured ankle is healed. Nevertheless, the Dolphins made him one of seven inactive players for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium.
Phillips had missed the past two games with a sprained ankle. Rookie fifth-round pick Davon Godchaux will continue to start in his place.
The Dolphins’ other inactives: cornerback Byron Maxwell, rookie defensive backs Maurice Smith and Torry McTyer, linebacker Stephone Anthony, rookie guard Isaac Asiata and veteran offensive tackle Sam Young.
Maxwell practiced fully Friday despite an injury listed as foot/hamstring. But he lost his starting job to Cordrea Tankersley before last Sunday’s Saints game, and is behind Tankersley, Xavien Howard and Alterraun Verner on the Dolphins’ depth chart of boundary cornerbacks.
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He is believed to be healthy enough to play.
Howard was limited in practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury but is active and starting.
Also, the Dolphins announced that Rey Maualuga will start at middle linebacker after missing the first three games with hamstring and conditioning issues. Mike Hull, who had been starting, is active for the game.
Meanwhile, Tennessee starting quarterback Marcus Mariota is inactive because of a hamstring injury.
Matt Cassel will start in his place.
Cassel, 35, started one game last season and appeared in four, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions and producing a 71 rating.
Cassel torched the Dolphins the last time he started against them - albeit nine years ago. Cassel, filling in for injured Tom Brady most of that season, completed 30 of 43 passes for 415 yards in a 48-28 Patriots romp over host Miami on Nov. 23, 2008.
But the Dolphins won the AFC East that year, the only time a team other than New England won the division in the past 14 years.
CHANGE IN ANTHEM APPROACH
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross expects players to stand for the National Anthem on Sunday.
"I think it's incumbent upon players today if that's how the public is looking at it, is to stand and salute the flag,” Ross said at a Sunday morning stadium event for his Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) program.
Ross acknowledges Trump has "changed that whole paradigm" of protesting during the anthem into a statement on patriotism.
Ross says players protesting social issues have been perceived by the country to be protesting the flag and patriotism.
"Trump has made [standing for the anthem] about patriotism,” Ross said. “It's so important if that's what the country is looking at to look at it differently.... It's a different dialogue. Whenever you're dealing with the flag, you're dealing with something different."
Michael Thomas, Julius Thomas and Kenny Stills have kneeled during the anthem since President Donald Trump used a derogatory term to describe players who do that.
Julius Thomas said Thursday that he planned to continue to kneel for the anthem.