A six-pack of Dolphins nuggets off Thursday’s session with the coordinators:
• Vance Joseph confirmed what was pretty obvious a day ago: Cornerback Byron Maxwell won’t play against New England, the second game he will miss with an ankle injury.
That means the Dolphins will face the NFL’s top-rated passing offense without their No. 1 cornerback or their two starting safeties – Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus, who are both on injured reserve.
“Is it a concern? Absolutely,” Joseph said. “Is it big, big worry? It can’t be. That’s what we got.”
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Meanwhile, Joseph announced that linebacker Jelani Jenkins also will another miss game because of his knee injury.
That means Miami will be without five defensive players it expected to be starters: Maxwell, Abdul-Quddus, Jones, Jenkins and Koa Misi.
• The injury to Abdul-Quddus elevates Walt Aikens and AJ Hendy into a backup safety role. Neither has played a defensive snap this season. Hendy had been on the practice squad.
“If Walt has to play, I’m comfortable with Walt playing. He’s been three for three years. Physically, it’s no [issue]. It’s just experience.”
• On Michael Thomas replacing the injured Quddus, Joseph said: “As far impact, [Abdul Quddus] been a great leader for us. Michael Thomas is a veteran player. He’s a smart player. Michael played his best game of the year Saturday. We need Michael to play well. Bacarri Rambo will play more base and we’ll move on.”
• Joseph loves how Neville Hewitt has played filling in for Jenkins.
“Neville has had a great season in my opinion as a backup will backer,” he said. “He’s played at a high level. I can’t name a game where Neville hasn’t been productive. Probably the mental part [improved]. He was a second-year player who struggled with his assignments.”
• Why did Terrence Fede get far more snaps that Mario Williams?
“Mario has not been healthy,” Joseph said. “Fede has played well. He has earned a right to play more reps. Until Mario gets totally healthy, Terrence has earned the right to play in that role.”
• Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said the three young running backs (Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake) have wildly exceeded expectations.
“We all made an effort to keep Lamar [Miller] here,” Christensen said. “He’s a good player. No one knew [how good Ajayi, Williams and Drake would be].
“I don’t think anyone would have predicted what Jay did.
Damien’s film was really good – you had Isaiah Pead – you almost had too many [backs]. Then we added Arian [Foster, who later retired during the season]. By elimination, it got clearer. That ended up being a positive.
“[In training camp], we’ve got six guys and all six guys have a different profile. That’s a hard way to play. The reduction has made it clearer. And it’s still hard to get [Drake] reps. Kenyan – it’s hard to get him in the 20s rep wise in the game. His production and ability would warrant it. Him and Damien – that’s where they are so valuable – they give us big plays on offense, a toughness on offense, and give us consistency on special teams and big plays out of the special teams.
“That’s exactly what you need out of the 2 and 3 slot with our running backs.”