Barry Jackson

More Dolphins lineup tinkering in play for Sunday; Dolphins notes

Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke and DE Cameron Wake before the Miami Dolphins scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, August 5, 2017.
Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke and DE Cameron Wake before the Miami Dolphins scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, August 5, 2017. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Thursday:

• The Dolphins made a few lineup changes on Sunday – playing tight end Anthony Fasano more and Julius Thomas less and giving all the left guard snaps to Anthony Steen – and more changes could be on the way Sunday.

DeVante Parker’s availability for Sunday’s game at Atlanta looks increasingly unlikely; he didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday.

And in a change from last week, it appears snaps might be split between Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo.

When Parker left after just three plays last Sunday, the Dolphins gave 33 snaps to Grant and just four to Carroo.

“Looking back, I wish I would have mixed them both in a little more,” Adam Gase said Thursday. “I was trying to fix a lot of formations. I didn’t want to mess Kenny [Stills] up either. We felt Jakeem gave us a good a chance as Carroo – probably should have mixed [Carroo] in a little more.”

Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Matt Burke said there’s a good chance that Jordan Phillips will play on Sunday.

Phillips said his ankle was healed enough for him to play last Sunday against Tennessee but coaches kept him inactive, Burke said, because Miami wanted only three defensive tackles active, liked how Vincent Taylor practiced last week and was concerned about depth if Phillips had been re-injured during the game.

• One playing time situation that probably won’t change:

Byron Maxwell’s role. Maxwell was inactive last week partly because of a foot injury and partly because of performance. That might not change. Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard are now established as the starting cornerbacks.

Opponents are completing 73 percent of passes against the Dolphins, with a passer rating over 100 - work achieved against the starting corners, Maxwell, the safeties and others.

“The growth of Tank and X are getting closer,” Burke said. “They’re starting to get a better feel for our unit and how we’re starting to attack things and approach things. I see progress. If a guy throws a one yard flat route, there’s only so much you can do to stop that. Our coverage plans have to be to help those guys out.”

Burke said he intends to install some new coverage looks later in the season.

Burke said the Falcons have the best offense Miami has faced this season. Atlanta is fourth in total offense, second in yards per play, seventh in passing net yards per play and eighth in scoring.

“They are top of the league in explosive play,” Burke said. “We’ve got to mix our looks. They are one of the best teams in the

league in converting on first and second down.”

• Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said left tackle Laremy Tunsil’s play has been “OK, just OK. He feels like he can play better.”

• Considering all the veterans on offense, is it surprising that the no-huddle offense failed and is now on the back burner?

“When you do it, it can’t be two or three guys,” Gase said. “It has to be the entire group. All it takes is one guy that doesn’t know what to do and then it gets thrown off.”

In general, Gase said of the offense: “We have a long ways to go. We are not doing a good enough job. We are too slow – need to be better on little tiny details. Come out of huddle with a little sense of urgency.”

• Though the optics are awful when Jay Cutler throws the ball to the ground in the middle of a play when he’s pressured, Gase said he did “the right thing. When he threw the ball right away, it was right. We had a couple busts. There was one in particular that would have been a really big play that we busted on.”

• Christensen correctly noted that “I haven’t seen a bunch of finger pointing around here” even though the defense is generally doing its job and the offensive generally isn’t.

So that’s a positive.

“When one unit playing much better than another it is a strain,” Christensen said. “I’ve been on both sides. Always it comes down to the head guy. It’s not fun. You feel like they’re playing so well but our time will come too.”

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