‘Go and win the game,’ is Gase’s message to the team
The Dolphins, plagued by injuries all season, enter this week unsure if two more starters will be available for Sunday’s home game against Buffalo.
Coach Adam Gase said Monday that neither receiver Danny Amendola nor center Travis Swanson is “in great shape right now” and decisions on their status won’t be known until late in the week, at the earliest.
Amendola left Sunday’s game with a knee injury and played sparingly after that. Swanson left for good after 14 plays because of an ankle injury.
They “probably won’t practice most of the week,” Gase said. “Try to give them a shot on Friday and see what they can do, how they feel. I won’t really know until we get to the weekend.”
Also, running back Kenyan Drake fell hard on the shoulder that he injured in the Green Bay game but said he will play next Sunday against Buffalo. Gase said he would again have Drake wear a non-contact jersey in practice this week.
When Swanson left, the Dolphins moved starting left guard Jake Brendel to center and inserted Ted Larsen at left guard, where he had started before a neck injury sidelined him the previous game.
Swanson was starting only because of a September season-ending injury to center Daniel Kilgore. And Brendel and Larsen are playing because Miami lost Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to an injury in the season opener.
“There was some good, there was some bad,” Gase said of his shuffled offensive line. “We left a lot out there.”
Meanwhile, Amendola was also limited to 14 of Miami’s 53 offensive snaps. In his absence, Leonte Carroo and newcomer Brice Butler each played 22 snaps and Kenny Stills played 51.
But DeVante Parker played only 24 offensive snaps. Gase said his previously injured shoulder wasn’t the reason for his limited playing time.
“It was just personnel groupings,” Gase said. “There was a specific way we wanted to attack them. We were scrambling when Danny went down. It’s not really ideal when we’ve got to move Kenny inside, and you don’t have Danny inside and Kenyan is going to play a spot that’s not his natural spot. We are not that deep right now where we can move all these guys around and switch positions.”
THIS AND THAT
Carroo has made an impact in two consecutive games — with two big special teams plays against Green Bay and the jump ball catch-and-run for a touchdown against the Colts.
“That was great to see him go up and get one,” Gase said. “I don’t think we have done that enough where a guy you don’t expect goes up and gets a ball like that. The more we have guys do that, the more confidence Ryan [Tannehill] has throwing the ball down the field having some 50/50 jump balls. That’s ideal.”
▪ Rookie tight end Durham Smythe, who made his first NFL start and had his first NFL catch on Sunday, “has been practicing well, been doing a lot of good stuff, has really the entire season,” Gase said. “He keeps getting better.”
Smythe played only 10 snaps, with fellow rookie Mike Gesicki logging 37 tight end snaps (he fumbled his only reception on the day) and Nick O’Leary 30. A.J. Derby was inactive.
▪ Notable defensive snap counts from Sunday: Kiko Alonso and T.J. McDonald played all 69 defensive snaps, with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Xavien Howard and Reshad Jones playing 68. Cornerback Bobby McCain logged 43.
Beyond Alonso, Raekwon McMillan played 47 snaps at linebacker and Jerome Baker played 43, with Stephone Anthony used on one defensive play.
At defensive end, Robert Quinn played 41 snaps, Cam Wake 38, Andre Branch 35 and Charles Harris 31 in his first game after missing four. At tackle, Akeem Spence played 43, Davon Godchaux 42, Sylvester Williams 28 and end/tackle Ziggy Hood 24.
▪ The Dolphins defense allowed 455 yards Sunday and is now 29th in yards allowed and 22nd in points relinquished.
“The explosive plays — we’ve just got to eliminate those,” Gase said. “They hurt us so bad. Couple times, they had a good call against what we had called. That’s going to happen. I can live with that. But when we have good call and we don’t execute it, that’s when it’s tough. I thought [defensive coordinator] Matt [Burke] called a really good game, made it really tough on them. The way we executed the majority of the game was good. If we could eliminate those explosive plays and make teams have to drive on us, because they will eventually, as we see every week, the offense will screw it up.”
Here’s a look at what Adam Gase had to say on Monday about his play-calling, Ryan Tannehill and the state of the team.