Though the Dolphins remain hopeful that receiver DeVante Parker will be available for the regular-season opener Sept. 13 at Washington, Parker was non-committal on Wednesday, while adding that he is about where he expected as he works his way back from June foot surgery.
Parker was dressed for practice on Wednesday but did not participate. He is now able to run at full speed, without discomfort, on that surgically-repaired left foot and said he is close to being cleared for practice.
“I don’t have a timetable right now,” he said. “They don’t want me rushing back.” But the foot “is feeling pretty good.”
Asked if he can contribute immediately if he doesn’t play in preseason, Parker said: “That’s the plan, but you never know.”
Parker said he’s “excited to return. When I was out here for OTAs, we had a good connection with [Ryan Tannehill].”
▪ Besides Parker, three others sat out practice on Wednesday: offensive tackle Jason Fox (concussion), cornerback Jamar Taylor (thigh) and linebacker Jordan Tripp (ankle). Taylor expects to be ready by the regular-season opener, if not sooner.
▪ Amid Fox’s concussion and Branden Albert still working his way back from knee surgery, the Dolphins this week gave left guard Dallas Thomas a lot of snaps at left tackle.
Thomas, the strong front-runner to start at left guard in the regular-season opener, could be Miami’s best option at left tackle on Saturday against Atlanta at Sun Life Stadium, even though Thomas allowed seven sacks when he played tackle last season.
Jamil Douglas would play left guard in that scenario, with Billy Turner at right guard. Turner, competing with Douglas to start at right guard, said he has been getting a lot but not all of the first-team snaps at right guard in practice.
▪ Albert, who was fully involved in Tuesday’s practice for the first time since the knee injury, said he made it through unscathed.
“It felt good,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it’s going to come with time. I didn’t expect to be perfect. I was lagging; guys are moving faster than me. But it was productive… [and] as long as I’m not hurting…”
Albert said he doesn’t know if he will be ready for the opener and must be 100 percent before he’s comfortable playing in a game. But the Dolphins remain optimistic that will happen.
Koa Misi said he lined up at strong-side linebacker on Tuesday, with Kelvin Sheppard getting the first-team snaps at middle linebacker and Jelani Jenkins at weakside.
Chris McCain, who had been competing for a starting job at strong-side, said he received no first-team work at linebacker Tuesday.
“It’s still open [competition],” McCain said. “I had a rough first two games.”
Misi played outside linebacker for Miami before shifting to middle linebacker in 2014. “I told coaches I will play anywhere.”