Just one Dolphins player will definitely begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, coach Adam Gase said Tuesday:
Xavien Howard, a rookie corner who needed his knee scoped after sustaining a minor injury in the spring.
Bad news for Howard and the Dolphins’ thin secondary, for sure.
But potentially good news for the Dolphins’ newest face: running back Arian Foster, who signed a one-year contract with the team last week.
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Gase still wants a look at Foster’s reconstructed Achilles tendon before deciding on his availability. Foster must pass a conditioning test before the Dolphins green-light him for camp, which begins Friday.
But the fact that Foster hasn’t been totally ruled out speaks well for his health. Foster tore the Achilles during the 2015 season.
“I have a lot of faith in our training staff and our strength and conditioning, our sports science [department],” Gase said when asked why he was comfortable signing the four-time Pro Bowler. “We spent a lot of time with him on two different visits.”
Gase added: “We had brought him in on a visit [in late March] and we had a really good talk and just kind of allowed him to get healthy and work to get back. It’ll be interesting when we get him out there and just to see how he kind of fits in.”
As long as his body cooperates, anything is possible for Foster in Miami this year — including a spot in the starting lineup.
Gase remains high on second-year back Jay Ajayi, but a healthy (and resurgent) Foster would have the chance to steal the job from him.
“It usually sorts itself out,” Gase said. “It’s hard to predict anything as far as going into the regular season.”
Gase is particularly impressed with Foster’s ability out of the backfield. Foster caught 249 passes for 14 touchdowns in seven seasons in Houston.
“He’s the type of guy that he can run his route tree similar to what a wide receiver’s is. … He runs about as smooth as any running back that I’ve ever seen,” Gase said. “I’ll be interested to see how far we can grow the running back position with him.”
Other takeaways from Gase’s 20-minute meeting with reporters ahead of his first training camp as a head coach:
▪ The league’s deadline to decide whether to reinstate Dion Jordan is next week, but Gase said the NFL still had not notified the club whether Jordan will be allowed back.
“Until somebody tells me that he’s reinstated, I’ve got nothing to add to that,” Gase said.
▪ Second-year receiver DeVante Parker, hampered by foot injuries in each of the past two years, “shouldn’t have any limitations and we should be able [to be] full-go right out the gate,” Gase said.
▪ All signs point to Gase pushing his young team as hard as he can this summer — without violating NFL rules.
“We still got 35 guys under 25 [years old],” Gase said. “So it’s not going to be a cupcake. We’re here to work. We need to get better. We were 6-10 last year. The team up in New England has won the division, what, 13 out of 16 years? We’ve got a lot of work.”
▪ Gase said quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who became a father with the birth of his son Sunday, “picked [the offense] up as well as I expected [in the spring], and I’m sure he’s been working hard the last five weeks to make sure there’s nothing he doesn’t know.”
▪ Running back Kenyan Drake pulled a hamstring late in spring practice, but Gase said “he’s good.”