Count three Dolphins starters out this week: tackle Ja’Wuan James, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and wide receiver Rishard Matthews.
All were ruled out Friday for the game against the Ravens on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. None was surprising.
James hasn’t played since injuring his toe in Week 8. And both Mitchell and Matthews missed every day of practice this week with calf and rib injuries, respectively. Both got injured against the Jets last week and did not return to the game.
Jason Fox is expected to start his fifth consecutive game at right tackle in place of James.
First-round pick DeVante Parker anticipates getting Matthews’ reps at the X receiver position.
As for defensive tackle, the stage is set for rookie Jordan Phillips to see extensive work.
“[Phillips] is getting better each week,” defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said. “I think he’s practiced every day so far, and we’re looking for him to increase his role with the loss of Earl and C.J. [Mosley].”
The Dolphins will also likely make at least one roster move Saturday. Interim coach Dan Campbell said the team is deciding between elevating Deandre Coleman or Jordan Williams from the practice squad to bolster depth on the defensive line.
Matt Hazel already knows he will be playing Sunday. The team’s second-year receiver will make his NFL debut, Campbell all but acknowledged Friday.
“It’s been a little tough,” Hazel said of spending the entire season on the inactive list. “But talking to a couple of the older guys, especially on other teams, like Josh Norman, he had to sit [early in his career]. But we looked at it like, ‘Hey, sometimes you’ve got to pay your dues.’ ”
Hazel and Norman, the Carolina Panthers’ star corner, were teammates at Coastal Carolina. Norman was buried on the Panthers’ depth chart his first two years before emerging as one of the league’s premier cover men. Hazel hopes for a similar career arc.
Depending on the health of wide receiver Kenny Stills, he might get his chance Sunday. Stills is questionable after rolling his ankle in practice Thursday, and although Campbell is hopeful he will play, the Dolphins conceivably could be without two of their top three receivers.
As for the offensive line, Campbell anticipates that center Mike Pouncey will play after injuring his foot Sunday. He was listed as questionable.
Those should be the only injury concerns heading into Sunday.
Ten Dolphins were listed as probable to play: Phillips (shoulder); running back Jay Ajayi (shoulder); tackle Branden Albert (non-injury related); safety Shamiel Gary (foot); linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle); receiver Jarvis Landry (knee); linebacker Chris McCain (hip); linebacker Koa Misi (abdomen); linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (hamstring); and tight end Dion Sims (neck).
DELMAS NOT DONE
Louis Delmas isn’t ready for the rocking chair. The Dolphins safety expects to play again in 2016 after sustaining his second torn ACL in as many years.
But whenever his career ends, he has a future as a coach. He’s moonlighting as one this season. Delmas, on injured reserve, was an active participant in practice Friday — coaching up his teammates.
“That started once I was able to be stable enough to be able to avoid contact,” Delmas said. “I’ve still been going to all the meetings, all the team meetings and position meetings, just to try to make sure the guys’ minds are right and still stay into the game.
“I still feel like I’m playing. With all the meetings, still feel like I’m in the mood, in this atmosphere. I still need to be here each and every day, still be on the practice field with these guys, still be on the sidelines with the guys during the game. It’s important. I take pride in it. Mentally, it’s satisfying for me, because I feel like I’m actually out there coaching with them and playing with them.”