The Miami Dolphins have a handful of players whose status longterm and for the near future has been uncertain. So let me offer more clarity on these players:
He’s not playing on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. “He’s not ready yet,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said of the cornerback who has not played since Oct. 9.
But Howard participated in team drills for the first time this week. He has been playing on the scout team. That means Howard is getting close to being ready to return. Joseph said perhaps next week against Arizona or the following week at New York.
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What Howard’s role will be when he is ready to return is still uncertain. He’s been a starter his entire time with the Dolphins but the team is getting good play from both Byron Maxwell and Tony Lippett of late. My guess is these things typically work themselves out. Joseph said he’s not even thought about that yet.
He has been practicing for a week and today was no different. And although I’ve heard from various sources that the Dolphins think of Jordan as a strictly a special teams contributor, Joseph painted a much more rosy picture of the former first-round draft pick. Joseph said Jordan “is going to be a player for us,” obviously suggesting he likes what he’s seen of Jordan in practice and thinks he can work with Jordan as a defensive end.
That’s all great news for Jordan in the future. But not short-term. The Dolphins currently have no intention of activating Jordan when his practice window -- he started the year on the non-football injury list -- closes after next week. It would take a significant change in the current situation for the Dolphins to be forced to use Jordan.
Notice I said forced. There would have to be a number of significant, terrible circumstances for the Dolphins to turn to Jordan. If he indeed is going to be a player for the Dolphins, it wouldn’t start until 2017.
He has not practiced this week. It speaks volumes that coach Adam Gase could not begin to enumerate the injuries Jenkins is nursing when asked about the player this week.
“Obviously he has like nine things on the injury report,” the coach said. “We’re just trying to be smart with him. We’re trying to get him a little more healthy than what he was. He went out there, he sold out, and he did everything he could, but when you’re playing with your hand casted up, your knee is messed up, it’s hard to move.
“And then you’re playing the team we were playing, where you had, between the quarterback and the running back, you had some shifty guys out there. It’s hard to change direction. We’re trying to get him a little healthier.”
Do not be surprised if the Dolphins decide that resting Jenkins and allowing him to heal up is more profitable than playing him, having him not play up to standards while continuing to remain hurt.
Albert wants to play. The Dolphins want him to play and need him this week because Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs are both elite pass-rushers for Baltimore. But there’s a problem.
The Dolphins are trying to figure out a way to make Albert comfortable with the stability of his left hand and the surgically repaired wrist. Yes, the swelling has gone down, but even in practice today the player and staffers spent part of the time trying to adjust the cast or brace or covering Albert is using over the injured area.
It was obviously uncomfortable. It was obviously not yet right.
And the importance of getting it right is key because Albert must be able to grasp with that outside hand not only on running plays but on passing plays where he needs to grasp at the defensive player.
There is more certainty he is playing than Albert. Again, the Dolphins hope both will play. But Tunsil should be available regardless and would play left tackle if Albert cannot play. He would play left guard if Albert is in the lineup.
He did not practice Thursday. He has not practiced this week. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said the team is “preparing for the worst” in not having Parker on Sunday but hoping for the best.
Yes, the Dolphins coaching staff is hopeful Parker will be able to play.
You, however, would be better served not expecting it. The fact is the Dolphins have been wary of playing players that are hurting this season. The fact is Parker is still learning to manage pain and playing with it. The fact is the Dolphins might have tipped their hand about what they really think when they promoted wide receiver Rashawn Scott from the practice squad.
All those facts suggest Parker won’t be playing.
If Parker does play Sunday it will be because there was an unusually quick and significant recovery in the next two days.
Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero