Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins likely to start cornerback Bobby McCain opposite Brent Grimes

Miami Dolphins’ Brent Grimes gets stiff-armed by Dallas Cowboys’ Darren McFadden in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, November 22, 2015.
Miami Dolphins’ Brent Grimes gets stiff-armed by Dallas Cowboys’ Darren McFadden in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, November 22, 2015. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

No Dolphins player has experienced a more alarming drop-off in production this season than Brent Grimes.

Twice in November, Grimes was exposed in coverage. First, Sammy Watkins beat him repeatedly.

Last Sunday, Brandon Marshall lit him up. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed nine of 11 passes thrown to Marshall with Grimes in coverage for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

Grimes, who left the locker room before reporters could ask him about his struggles Sunday, did not have an explanation for them three days later.

“It wasn’t the best game, obviously, that I’ve been in,” Grimes said. “They caught passes on me. They had a good game, a great game plan, scheme. The scheme was good. I didn’t make plays that I should have, and they won the game.”

The most obvious explanation is that time is finally catching up with the remarkably resilient Grimes, who has twice made the Pro Bowl during his three years in Miami. But Grimes turned 32 in July, a dangerous age for cornerbacks.

And so, he might do less shadowing of opposing teams’ top receiver moving forward, but Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell did say that “Grimes has been a really good corner for us for a long time, and still is.”

The bigger change in the Dolphins’ secondary this week: Bobby McCain will most likely start over cornerback Jamar Taylor on the other boundary. Campbell said that if McCain outplays Taylor, who has had an up-and-down career in Miami, in practice this week, he will start against the Ravens on Sunday.

O-LINE INJURIES

The Dolphins were without their three best offensive linemen at practice Wednesday — Ja’Wuan James (toe), Mike Pouncey (foot) and Branden Albert (rest) — but Campbell wasn’t overly alarmed.

Albert will play Sunday, and the team is increasingly hopeful that Pouncey will, too. He was out of the walking boot Wednesday, and Campbell said he is optimistic Pouncey will practice Thursday.

“We’re hoping to get Mike back, so we’ll see,” said Jamil Douglas, who filled in for Pouncey on Sunday. “We don’t know yet. Looks pretty good; we’ll see.”

‘HEARTBREAKING’ DECISION ON MOSLEY

Campbell wasn’t nearly as bullish about his defensive line, which is like a MASH unit. Earl Mitchell missed practice with the calf injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game. Jordan Phillips is dealing with a shoulder issue.

And C.J. Mosley is off the roster because of a strained calf of his own, a decision that was “heartbreaking,” Campbell said. Mosley might have been able to return before the end of the season, but the Dolphins were forced to waive him with an injury designation because they needed the roster spot to sign defensive tackle Robert Thomas.

PARKER TO START

First-round pick DeVante Parker expects to start at the X receiver position in place of Rishard Matthews, who is out for a while with a rib injury.

Campbell said Parker was “shaky” in the early and middle parts of Sunday’s game, but he grew more comfortable as the afternoon went on. When asked if Parker is ready to step up: “He has to [be]. It’s irrelevant if he’s ready.”

Said Parker: “I think I just need to show people what I can do, because I haven’t been getting as many reps as I wanted, but now I have a chance to show people what I can do.”

▪ Four players were limited in their participation on Wednesday: Phillips, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, receiver Jarvis Landry and linebacker Chris McCain.

▪ South Florida’s Super Bowl host committee and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross met with the NFL on Tuesday as they put together a preliminary bid to host either the 2019 or 2020 championship game.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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