Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Tuesday he “would love” to get emerging running back Isaiah Pead some first-team work in Thursday’s preseason game against Atlanta in Orlando. But Gase knows he also needs to get first-half carries for Arian Foster (who has only two in preseason) and Jay Ajayi.
Pead is averaging 7 yards per carry in the preseason and “we will keep trying to slide him in there to give him that opportunity to run behind the first-team line,” Gase said.
Against Dallas last Friday, “our plan was to try to slide [Pead] in there and see how it would go with him,” Gase said. “It almost felt more like a two-minute mode when he was in, so he didn’t really get a chance to run the ball. … That whole group [of backs] has done a great job.”
Meanwhile, one of the biggest lineup decisions Thursday is whether defensive end Cameron Wake will make his preseason debut after last October’s ruptured Achilles.
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Gase said Wake will go through pregame warmups and “we’ll see how he feels before the game. … I am going to kind of put it on him. Once he feels right, we’ll get him out there.”
Wake declined to say whether he wants to play Thursday but suggested that for him, the importance of playing in a preseason game is overstated. “I've been playing since July 27,” he said. “More is made of it than it really is.”
Asked if he trusts the surgically-repaired Achilles’, Wake said: “I will trust it when I need to trust it. I'm not necessarily worried about it.”
And of those questioning him because of his age (34), Wake said: “I’ve been old for five years now. I just laugh at that comment.”
Two players who had been out for awhile with injuries returned to practice: running back Kenyan Drake and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.
Chekwa will resume his bid for the Dolphins’ final cornerback job.
Drake returned from his second hamstring injury since joining the Dolphins but said he won’t play Thursday.
“It’s a very lingering injury, especially in my case because it’s the second one in a couple of months,” Drake said. “My kind of game, I need that burst. So until I feel like I have that burst, I’m not going to feel 100 percent.”
▪ Gase said defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, sidelined the past two weeks with a calf injury, remains on pace to be ready for the Sept. 11 opener at Seattle.
▪ Bobby McCain said he and Michael Thomas again got about an equal number of snaps at first-team nickel corner in practice this week, and that competition continues.
▪ With Laremy Tunsil continuing to emerge at left guard, Billy Turner said he, Jermon Bushrod and Dallas Thomas all got work with the first team at right guard this week.
▪ Quarterback Matt Moore (concussion) and center Mike Pouncey (hip) remain out.
▪ With receiver DeVante Parker back from a hamstring injury, Gase said “the biggest thing for us is we need him to practice because we need the timing with the quarterback, that feel with the other players. We have to find a way to keep those soft-tissue injuries out of the mix.”
To that end, Gase said Parker has started to do a better job of staying hydrated and “it’s really hit him … if you don’t hydrate down here, you will have issues.”