The Dolphins left for Houston on Tuesday without Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills, their two leading receivers this season.
But they boarded the flight with three practice squad receivers who are hoping for a promotion to the 53-man roster on Wednesday.
There’s a good chance Miami will promote one of the three, with Leonte Carroo and Isaiah Ford in strong contention and Malcolm Lewis seemingly less likely to get the call.
Whoever is promoted likely would serve as the fourth receiver behind Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant. And it’s possible two could be promoted if Amendola’s shoulder injury flares up in the next day; he was limited in light practices the past two days.
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The Dolphins traded three draft picks to select Carroo 86th overall in 2016 but he had only 10 catches for 98 yards the past two seasons before being released Labor Day weekend and then signed to Miami’s practice squad.
He said Tuesday he’s “obviously hoping” he’s promoted to “give me a chance to redeem myself over the past few years. I’m very ready. Me being on the practice squad, going against Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain in practice, has given me confidence.”
Ford, a former seventh-round pick whose 2017 rookie season was wiped out by an August knee injury, also was cut Labor Day weekend this summer but immediately joined the practice squad, after showing some promising signs in May and June practices and early in training camp.
“I’ve been preparing as if I’m the starter since the season started,” he said.
Asked about Carroo and Ford, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said: “Those guys have been doing a good job for us.”
Lewis, an undrafted former Miami Hurricane, was cut Labor Day weekend but joined Miami’s practice squad Oct. 11, his second stint on the Dolphins’ practice squad. Like Ford, he hasn’t appeared in a regular-season NFL game.
Coach Adam Gase has said Wilson is very likely out for the season with a hip injury and Stills will miss at least one game with a groin injury.
Wilson does not need hip surgery but will likely go on season-ending injured reserve to give him time to recover, according to a source.
Defensive coordinator Matt Burke, whose unit allowed 32 points and 457 yards against Detroit, called the defense’s performance “a collectively crappy effort. It obviously comes from coaching staff down. We obviously didn’t prepare them well enough. We had breakdowns across the board at every level - missed alignments, missed assignments, missed tackles. We’re not going to point fingers at a single group.”
Will there be playing time changes as result?
“We we are going to put the best players to win this game,” Burke said. “...We have to do a better job of being prepared. I’m at a little bit of a loss for words for how things went. We have to do a better job preparing them to be ready to play from the first whistle.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Here’s the disconcerting historical news entering Thursday: The Dolphins generally have been very bad in nationally televised games since the start of 2015.
But here’s the good news: They played very well the last time they played on national TV, a 27-20 Monday night victory over the visiting Patriots last December.
But the overall numbers are pretty gruesome. Over the previous three seasons, the Dolphins are 2-9 in games televised to the entire country and have been outscored 311-170 in those games.
The losses include two games in London and two dismal road performances last season – a 40-0 loss in Baltimore on a Thursday night and a 45-21 defeat in Carolina on a Monday night.
The Dolphins’ only two nationally televised wins over the past three years were last year’s Patriots game and a Matt Moore-led Saturday night victory at the Jets in December 2016.
▪ Former Dolphins and UM running back Lamar Miller, who has 371 rushing yards on 3.9 yards per carry this season, was asked by Houston reporters about accepting the Texans’ four-year, $26 million offer instead of a lesser offer from Miami in the 2016 offseason.
“They offered me to come back,” Miller said. “I just felt like Houston at the time was a winning organization. They were giving me an opportunity to showcase my skill set. I don’t regret anything. I love it here in Houston.”
▪ Tight end A.J. Derby’s status remains precarious because of a foot injury that has bothered him on and off since training camp.
“I almost put him up last game because I was feeling good on the first two days,” Gase said. “But the third day he was a little more sore than what we anticipated.”
Here’s my six-pack of Dolphins notes from earlier Wednesday, including Houston players dissing Brock Osweiler and Xavien Howard, some eye-opening Osweiler/Ryan Tannehill numbers, another Minkah Fitzpatrick/Deshaun Waton battle and more.