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3 posts from September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013

Tannehill limited with shoulder issue

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was limited during practice on Wednesday due to a shoulder issue, according to the team's injury report.

The Dolphins had seven players limited during practice, but none more important than their starting quarterback.

It is believed Tannehill's shoulder will not keep him from playing in Sunday's home-opener against the Atlanta Falcons.  The shoulder issue, however, will require close scrutiny if Tannehill continues to get hit at the current pace.

Tannehill has been sacked nine times in Miami's first two games.  That means he is on pace to be sacked 72 times this season.

The Dolphins' record for most sacks allowed in one season is 53 set in 1969.    

The other players who were limited in practice were CB Will Davis (toe), QB Pat Devlin (ankle), OLB Koa Misi (knee), CB Dimitri Patterson (groin), CB Jamar Taylor (groin) and S Jimmy Wilson (groin).

Rookie Dion Jordan is managing his nagging shoulder injury again but did not miss practice time on Wednesday. As reported earlier, DT Paul Soliai (knee) and safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) did not practice.

Soliai not practicing, unlikely vs. Atlanta

Once again the Dolphins today are practicng and as the week unfolds it is becoming more clear Miami will be without defensive tackle Paul Soliai on Sunday.

No, Soliai, who is battling a knee injury is not out for the year. But he's not playing against Atlanta and could miss more time than that.

Soliai did not practice Wednesday for the second consecutive day.

The Dolphin also practiced without safety Chris Clemons, who was working off to the side with trainers.

For the second consecutive day, cornerback Jamar Taylor (hernia/groin) practiced at least on a limited basis. Cornerback Will Davis (toe) practiced at least on a limited basis. And cornerback Dimitri Patterson practiced at least on a limited basis.

With Soliai out, the Dolphins still have good personnel with Randy Starks and Jared Odrick as starters. It's possible the team can ask Vaughn Martin to take defensive tackle snaps as well and there's always the possibility the team might make a practice squad move with either Al Lapuaho or Isaako Aaitui.

Dolphins (struggling vs. TEs) must contain Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez is good. He's Hall of Fame-bound good. Well, so far this season he hasn't been that good, but that's probably a result of him taking much of training camp off after striking a deal with the Falcons that allowed him to do so.

But the guy is generally good.

And that's not the best news for the Dolphins because tight ends have been something of a concern for Miami this year. Now, let me define "something of a concern:"

ooooh crud, here we go again.

“Let’s see, the Cleveland game Cameron (Jordan) had a big game," coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday, recalling the Dolphins efforts against tight ends so far this year. "He was very, very productive. Last week they obviously hit (Coby) Fleener down the seam on a big play, but I think we have the capability of doing a good job against the tight ends."

The Dolphins probably do have the capability of playing better against tight ends. But they have to clean up the issues of the past two weeks to do it.

In the Cleveland game, for example, the Dolphins gave up 10 completions for 117 yards and a touchdown to Browns tight ends. In the Indianapolis game, the Dolphins gave up 5 completions for 82 yards and a touchdown to Colts tight ends.

Opposing teams have targeted their tight ends 24 times vs. Miami so far this season and come away with 15 completions -- that's a 62.5 percent success rate every time the opposing team throws to the tight end.

Compare that to the 50 percent success rate (36 of 72) on targets to all other players, including easy, short throws to running backs and fullbacks and you see that Miami has work to do on limiting tight ends.

This is nothing new, by the way. Long-time Dolphins fans know the team has for some reason struggled covering tight ends for years and years. (No idea why).

But as the Dolphins actively tried to improve their pass coverage this year -- including the signing Phillip Wheeler -- so the hope remains the team can improve on tight end coverage as the season unfolds.

One variable that should buoy the Dolphins is that in Sunday's game, the Falcons won't bring the best tight end in the league to the game. Yes, Gonzalez has been in the past. But he's 37 years old now. He's off to a slow start with only seven receptions for 69 yards. And he's averaging a modest. 9.9 yards per catch, which is over two yards less than his career average per catch.

Despite this apparent decline the Dolphins respect Gonzalez and know he can hurt them.

 "He’s outstanding," Philbin said. "He just knows he has so much route skills. He’s just a tough guy to defend, no doubt about it. He knows how to get open. He’s got extremely good hands. It will be a challenge, but I think we are capable."