Miami Dolphins

Dolphins’ run defense is ranked last in the NFL (by a lot). But help is on the way.

Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes boxes with strength coach Dave Puloka during training camp at the Miami Dolphins training facility earlier this month.
Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes boxes with strength coach Dave Puloka during training camp at the Miami Dolphins training facility earlier this month. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

William Hayes walked off the practice field Tuesday, huffing and puffing after a rehab workout in pads.

He looked like he could play Thursday if needed.

And evidently, he believes the same.

Hayes has been out since the second week of training camp, when he pulled his hamstring during one-on-one drills.

But it sure looks like he will be back soon.

“He’s still working through that,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “I think he feels like he’s ready to go. I think we’re good with where we’re at right now. Just want to make sure he’s healthy for Week 1.”

Hayes is on track be ready for Tennessee on Sept. 9, Gase added, “unless we have any kind of setbacks.”

William Hayes, Miami Dolphins DE, talks to the media about mermaids, aliens, dinosaurs and if the earth is flat.

That would be a huge get for a Dolphins defense that ranks last against the run — by a country mile — during the preseason.. The Dolphins have allowed an egregious 174 yards per game on the ground — a full 50 more than the Philadelphia Eagles, who rank 31st.

While the Dolphins’ issues against the run have largely been due to poor gap discipline and poor angles — in the last two weeks alone, they have surrendered ground gains of 71, 65, 27, 26, 21 and 20 yards — their edge discipline has not been great either.

Andre Branch got sucked in on a read-option by Ravens quarterbacks Robert Griffin III last week, leading to a big gainer.

Hayes is arguably the Dolphins’ best edge-setter, and the Dolphins will surely need them in the opener against Marcus Mariota, one of the league’s best dual-threat quarterbacks.

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