A six-pack of Dolphins notes:
• Linebacker Kiko Alonso is not expected to play on Sunday against visiting Arizona barring a miraculous recovery to his hamstring, according to a league source.
Though Adam Gase said it would be a game-time decision, a second source also expressed pessimism. The Dolphins have listed him as doubtful.
Alonso has been slowed by a hamstring injury, and that’s far more of an issue than Monday thumb surgery. He did not practice Friday.
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“That’s one of those ones you have to be very careful for, what happens in that game, because I don’t know if Kiko knows anything but full speed,” Gase said. “He’s going to give everything he has. His body is telling him right now it’s not where it needs to be.”
Asked a follow-up, Gase said: “We’ve encouraged [that] our guys have to be brutally honest and set your pride aside and know what's best for the team. Having a guy be active and all of a sudden go out 10 players later, you’re hurting us more than you’re helping us.
“[Special teams coordinator] Darren Rizzi needs everybody possible. If we lose a guy not thinking with their head of ‘I’m ready to go, ‘that’s where you get in trouble.”
Mike Hull, who would replace Alonso at middle linebacker, would make the defensive calls.
“Our whole group feels really good when he’s in there,” Gase said of Hull.
• The Dolphins have said they won’t play Jelani Jenkins until his injuries (primarily a knee) are better. He didn’t practice Friday, and Mario Williams (ankle) didn’t practice, either. Both were listed as doubtful.
Center Mike Pouncey will miss his fourth game in a row with a hip injury.
• Gase said the Dolphins will decide Saturday night whether to play cornerback Xavien Howard, but that Howard would have significant say.
“We have an idea as far as some of us what we think, but at the end of the day, that’s going to be on him,” Gase said.
Howard said this week he must be extra careful because he has had two procedures on the knee in six months. But the Dolphins seem to believe he can play. He is listed as questionable.
Among nine other players listed as questionable: Matt Moore, who suddenly has a shoulder injury.
• Troubling: The Dolphins have allowed the most first-quarter points (83) and scored the second-fewest (27).
The good news: They’ve outscored teams, 62-37 in the third quarter and 93-82 in the fourth.
Any thought to doing anything differently early in games?
“We've had some good drives,” Gase said. “We haven’t always finished our drives. A lot of times, we put the defense out their first. I never get too caught up with that because it's a four-quarter game. It’s great if you come out the first three series and score but that’s not really realistic in this league.”
• The Dolphins are open to come up with a creative play or two each week that teams haven’t seen, and Jakeem Grant is a natural choice for those plays.
Grant has played 13 offensive snaps all year – four last week. But a Jarvis Landry run, with Grant in motion, didn’t work against Baltimore, and Grant said teams have stopped calling his name out when he gets in the game.
“They think I’m going to be a decoy,” Grant said. “Hopefully one day I will get one of those and make a big play.”
Grant, a diminutive receiver, had one pass thrown to him (which he couldn’t catch) and has no rushing attempts.
Have the Dolphins gotten what they wanted from that Grant package?
“We've tried to put Jakeem and [Leontee] Caroo in there more,” Gase said. “We feel more comfortable because those guys have been taking so many more reps than they have earlier in the season. When you get young guys reps, it makes everything move a little smoother. You have a lot more faith in terms of they know what to do. You don't want guys standing on the sideline not contributing at all. Anytime we put him in there, it's a good thing because it takes a little off of Jarvis [Landry] and we can move some bodies around. It's good we have two young receivers that can execute.”
• The Dolphins must decide by next Wednesday whether to leave Dion Jordan on PUP the rest of the season. He’s expected to remain there, barring something unforeseen.
“We haven’t really had too much discussion,” Gase said. “We’re waiting to see how he felt. We have some things we kind of were looking for before he could start practicing. We’ll go back and evaluate all that information. He’s done everything he’s been asked to do. He’s been fighting to try to figure out a way to contribute. It hasn’t been easy. We start going, setback. We start going, setback. I know that can’t be easy.”