Injuries are mounting for the Dolphins, with more than a dozen players sidelined altogether, limited in their participation or forced to leave during Monday’s practice.
Among the ramifications: The Dolphins are using two undrafted rookie quarterbacks behind Ryan Tannehill, finished Monday’s practice with only two healthy tight ends ( Dion Sims and Kyle Miller) and practiced Monday without five key offensive players.
Among key starters sidelined besides center Mike Pouncey (hip surgery), the good news is injuries are not considered serious for defensive end Olivier Vernon, who left Monday’s practice after his back locked up on him; tight end Charles Clay (knee) and receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring).
Monday began with the Dolphins announcing that five players would miss multiple days with injuries: Clay, who left Saturday’s scrimmage early but said afterward that his knee injury wasn’t serious; quarterback Pat Devlin (hamstring), kicker Caleb Sturgis (groin), cornerback Jalil Brown (knee) and receiver Stephen Williams (ankle).
Those five joined Wallace, running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) and Pouncey as players who missed practice, though Wallace caught some passes on the sideline.
Five others were limited: quarterback Matt Moore (sore shoulder), who threw some passes but none in 11 on 11 drills; running back Lamar Miller (got some 11 on 11 work); receiver Brian Hartline, who said afterward he has no ongoing medical issues; linebacker Jelani Jenkins (leg) and rookie tight end Arthur Lynch, who has been limited throughout camp with an undisclosed injury.
Six players were forced to leave during practice: Vernon, offensive lineman Nate Garner (forearm strain, but not serious), tight end Michael Egnew (tested for a concussion), defensive tackle Randy Starks (ankle injury but returned to practice and said afterward he’s fine), running back Daniel Thomas (held area under his buttocks) and tight end Harold “Gator” Hoskins (leg).
With Devlin out indefinitely and Moore limited, the Dolphins re-signed quarterback Brock Jensen, who was cut last week. Seth Lobato, who replaced Jensen on the roster last Wednesday, took second-team snaps Monday.
MORE O-LINE TURNOVER• The signing of Samson Satele gives the Dolphins some clarity at center until Pouncey returns, but uncertainty remains at right guard.
Dallas Thomas took most of the first-team snaps at right guard Monday, with Billy Turner also getting some.
Shelley Smith, who was expected to be the starting right guard, worked Monday at left guard, mostly with the second team. With Satele’s addition, Smith no longer will be asked to play center, an experiment that ended midway through last week.
But Philbin cautioned not to read anything into Smith not working with the first team at right guard Monday, adding he still wants to look at different combinations. “We’re nowhere near settled on a group inside,” Philbin said.• Though there were no botched center/quarterback exchanges, the Dolphins committed at least five pre-snap penalties, including two by the first-team offense to begin 11 on 11 drills.
“Didn’t look very good,” Philbin said of his offense. “You can’t win in football doing that stuff.”• Tannehill’s badly overthrown pass to Rishard Matthews was intercepted by cornerback Will Davis, who fumbled while going in for a touchdown on the return. (Safety Walt Aikens recovered it for a touchdown.)
Tannehill threw two more interceptions during 7-on-7 drills, to cornerback Cortland Finnegan (who returned it for a touchdown) and safety Reshad Jones. And Lobato also threw an interception, off a tipped ball, to Aikens.• Besides the interception, Davis broke up two other passes.
“Will is more consistent and still making good plays,” Hartline said. “Will and Jamar Taylor have elevated their games.”• Hartline has a chance to become the first player in Dolphins history to produce three consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards receiving.
“Any time you can do something no one else has done for a team in the NFL, it’s special,” he said.• Hartline said the offense is “doing a lot more things that we haven’t done in the six years I’ve been here.”
What specifically? “The combination of routes are different, the way in which they’re called, the amount of screens. The ball on the perimeter is definitely a lot more. A lot of motions, a lot of shifts.”• Philbin, on rookie seventh-round defensive end Terrence Fede: “I told him one day he had three penalties in the practice and he looked at me like I had three heads. [But] you love the enthusiasm. He’s getting better. Plays fast.”