Garrison Smith does not want to go home. And Thursday night, he played like it.
Smith, the rookie defensive tackle out of Georgia, played extensively against the Rams with the entire Dolphins starting defense getting the night off.
He had two flash plays in the first half alone. Smith, who went undrafted, first dropped Tre Mason (the running back originally from Lake Worth) for a near safety. Smith later sacked Austin Davis, one of three times the Dolphins got to the Rams quarterback in the first half.
Smith is a long shot to make the team but certainly has made a case to be kept on as a practice-squad player, particularly with the new rules. The NFL expanded the practice squad roster from eight to 10 players this year.
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The Dolphins had hoped to get one last evaluation of their backup cornerbacks. Davis didn’t comply, at least not very often.
The Rams backup quarterback instead had most of his success in the middle of the field, making for a relatively easy night for Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.
Austin Davis did have a couple of nice throws, including a first-down strike against Will Davis and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis, with Michael Thomas in coverage. Thomas appeared to turn the wrong way on the in-breaking route.
But that was essentially it out of the Rams’ passing game against the Dolphins’ second-string defense.
Taylor and Davis started, with Cortland Finnegan and Brent Grimes getting the night off. Austin Davis did test Taylor deep late in the first half, but the cornerback had tight coverage on a pass that was overthrown.
Davis and Taylor were two spot starters for the Dolphins, who rested everybody on the first team of the depth chart. The rest of the lineup changes:• On offense: Damian Williams for receiver Brian Hartline; Jason Fox for tackle Branden Albert; David Arkin for guard Daryn Colledge; Sam Brenner for center Mike Pouncey; Dallas Thomas for Shelley Smith; Nate Garner for tackle Ja’Wuan James; Dion Sims for tight end Charles Clay; Rishard Matthews for receiver Mike Wallace; Matt Moore for quarterback Ryan Tannehill; Daniel Thomas for running back Lamar Miller; Jarvis Landry for Brandon Gibson.
• On defense: Tevin Mims for defensive end Cameron Wake; Anthony Johnson for defensive tackle Randy Starks; Kamal Johnson for defensive tackle Earl Mitchell; Dion Jordan for defensive end Olivier Vernon; Chris McCain for linebacker Philip Wheeler; Jason Trusnik for linebacker Koa Misi; Jelani Jenkins for Dannell Ellerbe; Michael Thomas for safety Louis Delmas; Don Jones for safety Reshad Jones.
THIS AND THAT• Linebacker Jordan Tripp left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury and did not return.
• Moore, Derrick Shelby and John Denney served as captains.
• Landry didn’t play much but was effective when he did. He caught three passes for 28 yards in the first half.
• Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 63-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the first half. If the Dolphins wanted, they could have turned around and tried approximately a 65-yarder of their own -- but decided against it. Jake Rogers handled the opening kickoff, and boomed it through for a touchback.