The Dolphins placed Arian Foster and four others on the physically unable to perform list on Friday, even though Foster had said he is fully healthy after sustaining a ruptured Achilles tendon in a game against the Dolphins in October.
Also placed on PUP: cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, running back Damien Williams and linebacker Zach Vigil. Players can be removed off PUP at any point before the regular season.
Foster did not have a setback, and the Dolphins expect him back at some point this preseason.
“We thought this was a smart decision to make,” coach Adam Gase said. “This is part of the process we’re going through.”
Said quarterback Ryan Tannehill of Foster: “He’s a veteran guy that has had a lot of success. He’s one of the league leaders in drafted guys as far as yards. To have that veteran presence in our backfield is huge. He’s great running the zone-read game, which we run here. As a receiver out of the backfield or split out wide, he has a great knack for getting open and having great hands on the outside.”
Howard had knee surgery but is expected back by the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at Seattle. McCain’s issue is nothing serious, and he’s expected back in a day or two.
Williams’ conditioning is not where Gase and team officials want it to be. He will be activated when he gets in better shape.
Vigil had back tightness during the latter stages of the offseason program, and the Dolphins want to make sure he’s completely fine. He might miss a few days.
Except for Howard, Gase said all of the players on PUP are “day to day” and said it was too early to tell if any of the four would miss any preseason games, with Miami scheduled to open Aug. 12 at the New York Giants.
▪ In McCain’s absence, Michael Thomas lined up in the slot when the Dolphins went to a nickel package on Friday. When the Dolphins were in base defense, Thomas joined Reshad Jones as the first-team safeties, ahead of Isa Abdul-Quddus.
▪ Dallas Thomas (left) and Billy Turner (right) were the first-team guards, with first-round pick Laremy Tunsil taking second-team snaps at guard and tackle.
▪ Earl Mitchell was the first-team tackle opposite Ndamukong Suh. … Andre Branch got some first-team work at defensive end because the Dolphins are somewhat limiting the practice snaps of Cameron Wake coming off a torn Achilles.
“We just have to be smart with him,” Gase said. “We want him to be able to get through the duration of the season."
▪ Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Michigan assistant coach and former University of Miami offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch were among those who attended practice.
▪ Tannehill said Gase “is an expert at pushing guys to reach their potential, and I’m excited to have him. … It’s such a relief to have his confidence and him giving me the freedom to change plays and get us into a good play, that latitude, is only going to help us score more points. He’s a great offensive mind. He’s able to relate to players and motivate players, and that’s something we’re excited about having.”
Tannehill said “every day” Gase “gives me a couple things he wants to work on and think about. Constantly trying to push my buttons, put me in difficult situations. It’s going to pay off.”
▪ Tannehill, whose wife gave birth to a boy (their first child) last week, called it “such a blessing to see the birth of your child, the love you feel immediately. Really exciting thing to be a dad.”
But amid the responsibilities of being a father for the first time, Tannehill said he “tried to spend a couple hours every day going over the installs [during the past month], spent time with receivers, quizzing them.”
▪ Per NFL rules, Dolphins players can wear shoulder pads on Sunday and full pads beginning Monday.