The Dolphins are getting one starter back Sunday, barring a setback, but began the process of moving on, at least for now, without three regulars at other positions.
Here was the fallout Wednesday in the wake of some roster turnover and injuries on the offensive line, defensive line and the secondary:
▪ Defensive backfield: Safety Reshad Jones, who missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, told the Miami Herald that he will play Sunday at Cincinnati. Jones had said before the previous two games that he was unsure if he would play and he ultimately didn’t.
With Jones returning, Minkah Fitzpatrick can shift back to his slot cornerback role in the team’s nickel package.
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With Bobby McCain expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury, Cordrea Tankersley said he and Torry McTyer split first-team cornerback snaps opposite Xavien Howard on Wednesday.
Tankersley had a dreadful preseason but said he believes he has improved. “It’s just finishing plays,” he said. “People will make plays [on you], but I will never lose my confidence.”
Tankersley said Adam Gase and executive Mike Tannenbaum have tried to “lift” his spirits in recent weeks and “tell me to continue to be me.”
McTyer replaced McCain last week and missed two tackles against the Patriots. “I’m expected to make those tackles,” McTyer said.
Coach Adam Gase said the team did not consider signing a veteran corner because he would be no better than the young players Miami has, a group that also includes sixth-round rookie Cornell Armstrong.
“Those guys know our system and know how to play,” Gase said. “If you are on the roster, you are expected to be ready to go and contribute and not have too much of a dropoff.”
Whether it’s McTyer or Tankersley opposite Howard, those three will have their hands full Sunday with Bengals All Pro receiver A.J. Green and emerging Tyler Boyd, who has 26 catches for 349 yards.
▪ Defensive line: Gase declined to explain his thinking in releasing disgruntled Jordan Phillips — “it was just time for us to move on” — and players were guarded in their reaction. One player said the move was not explained to them by coaches.
“You hate to see your brother go but … stuff like that happens in the league all the time,” safety T.J. McDonald said.
Gase said he wasn’t trying to send a message and “I don’t think it’s a message,” defensive tackle Davon Godchaux said. “It’s what they thought was best for the team.”
UCF rookie Jamiyus Pittman, who’s on the practice squad, took second-team defensive tackle snaps alongside Vincent Taylor on Wednesday. Pittman said he’s heard “rumors” he could be promoted to the 53-man roster but added that the team hasn’t told him that.
Defensive end Cameron Malveaux, who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53 on Tuesday, said he can play tackle (at 276 pounds) but was used only as a defensive end in practice Wednesday. He said he practiced at end and tackle for the Dolphins last season but played only end in his four game appearances for Miami in 2017.
Malveaux was needed at end on Wednesday, with Cam Wake and Andre Branch sidelined by knee injuries.
Godchaux said defensive line coach Kris Kocurek hasn’t told the tackles if a fourth tackle will be used Sunday or if he, Akeem Spence and Vincent Taylor will simply get more snaps. But Godchaux expects a “little more” playing time.
▪ Offensive line: Though newly signed Wesley Johnson started at center for the Jets last season, Gase indicated the team at this time will stick with former Lions starter Travis Swanson as their starting center, replacing Daniel Kilgore, who’s out for the season with a torn triceps.
“I thought Kilgore was playing well — steady for us, the anchor of that group,” Gase said.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Receiver DeVante Parker was limited in practice with a quadriceps injury, and Gase said that latest injury was “weird” in how it surfaced late last week. According to a source, Parker sustained the injury Thursday, but the team didn’t know the full extent of the injury until Friday.
“We thought he was fine,” Gase said. “He ran a route [Thursday] and didn’t say anything and then couldn’t go Friday.”
Ryan Tannehill said Parker’s unexpected absence changed some aspects of the game plan against New England.
▪ Tight end AJ Derby (foot) remained sidelined from practice and linebacker Chase Allen (foot) was limited after not being able to practice at all last week. New to the injury report: Special teams ace Brandon Bolden, who was sidelined with a hamstring problem.
▪ Godchaux, speaking about the 38-7 defeat against New England, surprisingly said: “We needed that loss to get back on track. It was a wake-up call.”