Barry Jackson

Dolphins high on newest roster addition; cornerback decision looming

Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen.
Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. AP

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Thursday afternoon:

• If receiver Rashawn Scott plays in Sunday’s game at Baltimore, he would become the 27th former University of Miami player to appear in a game for the Dolphins.

His practice work, coupled with DeVante Parker’s back injury that kept him out of practice again on Thursday, led to Scott’s promotion to the 53-man roster. And coaches really like him.

"He's a guy that we've really been impressed with in practice and just kind of kept selling to him that, 'Hey, your chance is going to come.' He's earned it," offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said.

"He'll step in and do a really good job. He's been extremely impressive in practice. He's been extremely impressive since he got here. The thing isn't too big for him. He's got some talent and I think he'll jump in and function really, really well. He learns. He's stayed up with stuff, which is really critical."

Christensen said he likes "everything" about Scott: "He catches the ball well. He's got some quickness and he can run. He's a smart guy. He's just been taking practice exams, so I haven't seen him take a real exam yet. Everything we've seen in practice we've liked. Everything when he came in as a free agent we liked."

• Receiver Leonte Carroo, who has played just 100 offensive snaps all season, could play a lot on Sunday if Parker cannot play. (The Dolphins are preparing for Parker not playing while not ruling it out.)

"It’s been a humbling experience to not play as much as you want to," Carroo said. When he replaced an ill Kenny Stills in the Jets game, "I wasn’t as prepared. That game helped me realize I’m one injury away from being out there. Coaches have confidence in me."

Said Adam Gase: The thing that has been very impressive is he stays with it. He stays with the fact that early he was struggling a little bit with the volume. The longer he's gone, the better he's got a grasp of this offense."

• Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Xavien Howard, who has missed seven games after knee surgery, is still a week or two from being ready to play. But Joseph made clear that Howard will return as a boundary corner and that playing nickel isn’t realistic for Howard, Byron Maxwell or Tony Lippett.

"X hadn't played nickel at all. It's going to be a challenge to figure out how to get him back involved, but it can be done, obviously."

"Nickel is a specialty position. It takes time to learn how to play nickel. It's a linebacker sometimes. It's a corner sometimes. It's a safety sometimes. It's a blitzer. It's a lot of assignments and some guys just ... If you're not working there it's hard to put a guy there without time and work at it, because it's a mental challenge. 'X' hadn't done that. 'Lipp' hadn't done that, so Bobby's (McCain) our nickel. Michael Thomas is our backup nickel. For 'X' to play, it's going to be at corner."

Joseph was asked if he would rotate Howard with Maxwell and Lippett (who have both played well).

"Once he's healthy, we'll figure that out," he said. "Right now, he's not healthy, so it doesn't matter. But when he's healthy, that's fair. We can rotate by series, maybe' but until he's healthy, that's a hard question to answer."

• And how has McCain played?

"I think Bobby has been solid," Joseph said. "It's tough when you're a nickel. Bobby played solid last week. He missed one tackle that led to a big play. I'm not down on Bobby. Bobby also made two or three plays last week. It's a tough position to be a nickel, because you're playing leverage on a slot receiver who can go vertical inside or outside. It's a hard job. I haven't coached a perfect nickel. It's a tough position, but Bobby has got the mindset. He has got the quickness to be a great nickel. I'm fine with Bobby. He's playing winning football the last six weeks."

• Joseph said it’s pretty easy to articulate what his defense needs to do:

"Obviously, our front four has to play well for us to win, along with Kiko (Alonso). That's where our strength lies - with those four guys up front and with Kiko in the middle. Our back end has been solid. They're playing smart. They're playing to the system. They're doing their job. Our front has to play well for us to win, along with Kiko. That's where it starts and the back end doing their job, we can play with anybody in the league."

• Is there a chance Earl Mitchell could overtake Jordan Phillips at defensive tackle?

"Earl is an experienced player and he plays so hard, but Jordan has played well," Joseph said. "He had a couple of plays last week that I didn't like in the rush plan but having Earl, having (Ndamukong) Suh and having Jordan inside, it's three starters. So whoever starts the game, it doesn't matter much. The play count is always going to be the same with those guys. Jordan is going to play his 40 snaps, Earl plays his 35 snaps and Suh plays how much he wants to play. That won't change with whoever is the starter."

Teammates say Ndamukong Suh has changed (for the better) and the Dolphins have changed for Suh. Here’s a look into that.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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