LOS ANGELES -- The Miami Dolphins starting middle linebacker against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday? Second-year veteran Mike Hull.
Hull will get the 25 or so snaps the Dolphins expect to be in their base 4-3 defense when they play the Chargers at the StubHub Center.
That’s because recently signed Rey Maualuga was unable to practice all week due to a hamstring injury and the team said Friday he is out for this game.
That loss of Maualuga, who tweaked his hamstring in last week’s shortened practice schedule, was expected. This is not:
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The Dolphins injury report on Friday included receiver Jarvis Landry as questionable for Sunday’s game. That’s because Landry suffered swelling and discomfort in a knee after practice Thursday. He was limited in practice Friday, according to the team.
Landry did not wear a brace on knee during the portion of practice open to the media. The Dolphins expect him to be available on Sunday.
The Chargers listed receiver Mike Williams, cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Rayshawn Jenkins as out for the game. The Verrett injury is significant because it is new.
Verrett missed practice with a knee injury Thursday when he was first added to the injury report. He missed Friday’s practice and was then listed as out for Sunday’s game. Trevor Williams is expected to move into the starting job at cornerback.
Hull will be getting his second career start after starting one game last season. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke this week showed confidence in Hull.
“I mean Mike Hull is the guy there everybody always wants to count out,” Burke said. “Everyone looks at him and thinks he’s too small or too this or too that. Every time we’ve had to play him, whether it’s in game situations, practice -- he’s already ready. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a great instinctive football player. He’s always around the ball. I mean I have the utmost confidence in Mike Hull playing football for us.”
The Miami Dolphins defense was 30th against the run last season and expected to improve on that, in part, by adding rookie Raekwon McMillan in the draft’s second round. But McMillan tore the ACL in his right knee in the first preseason game and is out for the year.
The team then signed Maualuga to a one-year veteran deal as a fallback option. Maualuga, however, was not in shape when he signed and obviously has suffered what coach Adam Gase called a “setback.”
So ... Mike Hull in the base defense.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero