As the Dolphins prepare to incorporate several starters back into the lineup Sunday against Green Bay, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey revealed Monday that the team is considering moving him to right guard, at least for now, and that he’s not opposed to the idea.
Pouncey told the Miami Herald that he split snaps between right guard and center during Monday’s practice and isn’t sure what position he will play against the Packers.
Having missed the first four games recovering from June hip surgery, Pouncey stopped short of saying he definitely will play Sunday, but he practiced without limitation and said if the game were held early this week: “I think I [could] play and play really well.”
Pouncey has never played guard in three previous NFL seasons but was a standout right guard for the University of Florida as a sophomore and junior before switching to center as a senior, succeeding twin brother Maurkice.
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Pouncey, who took first team snaps Monday, said the decision about a potential move to guard ultimately would come down to his comfort level with the switch, coupled with what coaches believe is “best for the team.”
Though he hasn’t played guard in four years, Pouncey said guard “is easier” than center.
“Guard’s my position,” he said. “I was kind of forced to play center when I got drafted. Guard’s been the position I’ve played my whole life. … Whatever position I’m playing, I’ll help the team. It’s coach [Joe] Philbin’s decision.”
Samson Satele has played well in Pouncey’s absence. If the Dolphins play Pouncey at right guard, he would replace Dallas Thomas. Shelley Smith, who opened the season at right guard, has resumed practicing after sustaining a knee injury in the second game.
“They’re going to put the best five guys on the field to help this team win,” Pouncey said.
Satele was not available to the media Monday but said last week that he also would be receptive to playing guard if the Dolphins asked him to. Satele has never played guard in an NFL game.
“I knew I would play the first four games as well as I could until Mike came back and make it as hard a decision as I could for them,” Satele said. “When I signed here, I knew what I was signing [up for]. It’s not stressful.”
Philbin said the Dolphins typically keep seven offensive linemen active for games.
The Pouncey revelation was hardly the only news as the Dolphins returned to practice after four off days. Among the other developments:
▪ Defensive end Derrick Shelby was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins after a weekend arrest for resisting arrest without violence. That likely will mean more playing time for Terrence Fede and possibly Chris McCain on Sunday.
▪ Running back Knowshon Moreno, who missed the past two games with a dislocated elbow, practiced Monday but said he’s not 100 percent.
He practiced with a brace on his left elbow and indicated his comfort level playing with that brace would influence whether he plays Sunday.
“I’m excited to have [Moreno] back,” receiver Mike Wallace said. “We missed Knowshon’s intensity.”
▪ The Dolphins signed receiver Damian Williams, who was cut in late August, and released rookie running back Orleans Darkwa. Receiver Brandon Gibson missed Monday’s practice with an undisclosed injury but said he expects to play Sunday.
▪ Defensive tackle Randy Starks, who missed the Oakland game with a back injury, resumed practicing and hopes to play Sunday.
▪ Linebacker Koa Misi, who missed the past three games with a sprained ankle, practiced Monday and looks poised to return to the starting lineup against Green Bay, barring a setback.
▪ Safety Reshad Jones, off a four-game suspension, officially returned to the 53-man roster. Shelby has been removed from the 53-man roster during his suspension.
Jones figures to return to strong safety, which would move Louis Delmas back to free safety.
“That’s not a difficult adjustment for me,” Delmas said. “I know the defense. It’s beneficial for me and him because it allows him to get closer to the ball. I’m excited about it.
“Safety is safety. You’re going to cover and hit. We do a great job of communicating. Whoever gets the calls first, we’ll relay it to the defense.”
Jimmy Wilson, who had been filling in at safety, expects a smooth transition back to nickel corner, where he played last season.
“I’m glad I got the opportunity to be a starting safety for the first four games,” Wilson said. “I feel like I showed I can be a productive starting safety in the NFL.”