Cameron Wake missed his first game since 2015 Sunday.
Will it be two straight?
Perhaps not, considering Wednesday’s mixed signals.
Wake sat out yet another practice with a bothersome knee injury, but Dolphins coach Adam Gase struck an optimistic tone when he met with reporters.
“I think we’re on track,” Gase said of Wake. “I don’t think he’s far off. He wasn’t going to do anything on the field today, so that’s why he’s basically working on getting his body right inside.”
So it’s possible that the Dolphins will have all of their active defensive ends available Sunday against the Bears.
Andre Branch practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after missing the last two games with a knee issue. Gase said last week his rehab was ahead of schedule, so there seems to be a real chance he returns this week. Robert Quinn did not practice, but it was a veteran’s rest day.
Cornerback Bobby McCain also is making real progress. McCain injured his knee when he was pulled down after picking off Tom Brady in Week 4 and has not practiced since. But he warmed up with the team Wednesday and did not have a protective brace or sleeve when he was spotted in the locker room. The Dolphins make injured players off-limits to reporters.
Left tackle Laremy Tunsil did not speak either, even though he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday — three days after sustaining a concussion.
Then there’s DeVante Parker, who appears set to play Sunday after missing four of the first five games due to injury. Parker (quadriceps) was limited in practice Wednesday.
“He felt good today,” Gase said. “We’re just trying to progress him to where we don’t have any setbacks. The fact that he’s saying he’s feeling as good as he does, that’s a good sign for us.”
Added Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson: “It’s football. That’s what he loves to do. When he doesn’t get a chance to do it, it’s kind of a bummer on his side. He’s very excited. ... We don’t have to do no spirit lifting. He’s in a good place. It comes with the game. We’re just waiting for him to get back.”
Two other Dolphins did not practice Wednesday: wide receiver Danny Amendola (rest) and safety T.J. McDonald (foot).
Linebacker Chase Allen (foot), tight end A.J. Derby (foot) and wide receiver Jakeem Grant (shoulder) were limited in their participation.
Wilson is a sneaky good trash-talker.
And he’s getting less and less sneaky about it.
Wilson, the Dolphins’ speedy wide receiver, set the tone a month ago when he said this:
“I think we are going to be amazing. I think we are going to shock a lot of people. We are going to stretch the field, getting the ball in a lot of peoples’ hands and watch them make plays.”
Wilson has since backed it up by leading the Dolphins in receptions (17) and being on both ends of a passing touchdown (he has thrown and caught one this year).
Wilson was at it again Wednesday, ahead of the Dolphins’ game against the Bears.
Asked about Chicago’s dynamic secondary, Wilson said:
“It doesn’t really matter. We’re just out here playing Miami Dolphins football. It doesn’t matter what anybody brings to the table. I feel like our room is pretty good. If we continue to do what we’re doing over here, we’ll be OK.”
The conversation later made its way to Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was a backup in 2017, Wilson’s final year with the Chiefs. Mahomes is the league’s breakout star, and with 16 all-purpose touchdowns through five games, would surely be the league MVP if the season ended today.
“He’s a baller, like I’ve been saying,” Wilson said. “He thinks he can make every throw. He has a great group of guys around him to do good things with the football. I’m not surprised at all.”
Mahomes’ Chiefs play the Patriots Sunday night, so Wilson’s old team could help his new team in the AFC East with a win.
When asked about that dynamic, Wilson replied:
“It doesn’t matter. We’re going to take care of things ourselves.”
If Reshad Jones has any second thoughts about playing through a partially torn right labrum, he was not inclined to share them Wednesday.
CBS revealed that Jones decided to gut the injury out this season, and he showed no signs of doubts during a brief exhange with the Miami Herald Wednesday.
He has history on his side. Sort of.
Jones, who hurt the shoulder while making a goal-line stop in the first half’s final play of the Dolphins’ win over the Jets, had the same injury on his left shoulder in 2015. And like now, he opted against surgery.
“I got it done,” Jones said. “I made the Pro Bowl [that year]. Do I look like a Pro Bowl player?”
Yes — based on his stats and his effect on his team.
The Dolphins defense had arguably its best game Sunday, and it’s no coincidence that Jones was back in the lineup for the first time since Week 2. The defense surrendered just 332 yards and 13 points to a Bengals offense that was flying high entering the game.
Jones, 30, has two interceptions, four passes defensed and eight tackles in three games. But his impact goes beyond that. There were awful coverage busts in the two games he missed. Those issues vanished against the Bengals.
So he’s playing well. But he also might be playing with fire. While he finished the 2015 season with the injured shoulder, the same could not be said about 2016. He ultimately tore his left rotator cuff midway through that season and was lost for the season.
Still, Jones insisted that the latest injury will not slow him down.
“I’ll be good to go.”