Perhaps no one has benefitted from the Dolphins’ change in philosophy more than Billy Turner.
In a matter of days, interim head coach Dan Campbell turned a finesse passing team into a smash-mouth power attack.
And the only real personnel change was swapping Jamil Douglas for Turner at right guard. Turner responded with the best game by either player at that position this season.
“The way that we practiced is the way that we play,” Turner said. “I don’t think we’re trying to sneak up on anybody. The plays and the film that we put out there in the game last week is going to be the same thing, over and over again, consistently throughout the year.
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Up next: A far bigger challenge in the Houston Texans.
Houston’s front seven is loaded. J.J. Watt is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Vince Wilfork is still productive in his 12th season — and said Wednesday that he has no plans of retiring anytime soon. And then there’s Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.
“Watching film on them, they play pretty much the same defense that we went against last week,” Turner said. “It’s a standard 3-4. They’re a little more of the old school 3-4, in terms of their read.”
Brice McCain’s knee injury kept him from practicing Wednesday. Campbell said McCain is day-to-day, but the Miami Herald has learned that his availability for Sunday is in doubt.
If McCain can’t go against the Texans, Jamar Taylor will presumably start at corner, and rookie Bobby McCain would likely be the nickel.
But if Taylor, Bobby McCain or Brent Grimes get hurt Sunday, the Dolphins could have some real issues. Zack Bowman missed practice Wednesday for non-injury reasons, and so the only other corner on the roster is rookie Tony Lippett, a converted wide receiver who hasn’t been active all season.
“He was solid,” Campbell said when asked about Bobby McCain. “One thing about Bobby is he doesn’t lack confidence.”
‘RUGBY SCRUM’ AT PRACTICE
Campbell continues to find ways to spice up practice. On Wednesday, he started the session with what appeared to be a rugby scrum.
Campbell put young players in the middle of the circle and instructed them to fight their way out. The exercise was something Campbell said he thought up in recent days.
“It was just something to get them going a little bit,” Campbell said. “Not much to it. It was just to get them in there. … It kind of gets everyone fired up a little bit. It just kind of created a little bit of energy.”
ODDS AND ENDS
▪ Rookie running back Jay Ajayi was impressive Wednesday in his first practice since being placed on the “injured reserve/designated to return list” on Sept. 6. Ajayi is not eligible to play until Week 9.
▪ When asked about the Dolphins’ struggles at home in recent years, Campbell responded: “To me, this is the home opener. As far as I’m concerned, we haven’t played [at Sun Life Stadium] this season.”
▪ Seven players were limited in their participation Wednesday: Grimes (knee), left tackle Branden Albert (hamstring), defensive tackles A.J. Francis (back) and Jordan Phillips (ankle), safety Reshad Jones (shoulder), wide receiver Kenny Stills (back) and defensive end Cameron Wake (hamstring).