The Dolphins, a team focused on limiting turnovers, spend part of a practice period every day running a gauntlet drill during which offensive players grasp foam footballs and try to hold on to them as defensive players attempt to snatch them away.
The players then run over pads as coaches smack them with other pads to get them used to carrying the football in practice. For obvious reasons, chief being that you don't want players tugging at your quarterback's arms, Ryan Tannehill does not participate in these drills.
The problem for the Dolphins is Tannehill leads the team in fumbles. He has six. He's lost three.
So I asked coach Joe Philbin today what the team does to get Tannehill to stop fumbling.
"We work the quarterbacks all the time," Philbin said. "here's drill work we do, maybe not necessarily in a gauntlet with guys pulling at his arm and things like but we have individual drills where we work on things like that."
"There's a couple of different ones," Philbin added. "Sometimes we'll have a guy knock the ball loose from him. We'll have a guy come back and he'll try to recover it. We want to teach him how to step up on the pocket and protect the football type of things."
Cornerback Dimtri Patterson seems to be improving every day as he tries to return to the lineup after missing four games but he has been limited in drills much of this week and said today he's a game-time decision on Sunday.
Linebacker Dannelll Ellerbe seems unlikely to play as he missed practice for the third consecutive day this week.
The Dolphins have just emerged from a group of games against Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco. One would think they'd be able to keep Patterson out this week against Thad Lewis so that he could be fully healthy and actually practicing in full before facing Tom Brady and New England next week.
The Dolphins injury report is due in a few minutes so check back for the update.
[Update: Ellerbe is doubtful while Patterson is questionable. WR Brandon Gibson (hip) is questionable but I expect him to play, barring a setback.]
The Dolphins still have only 52 players on the active roster instead of 53. Philbin declined to say if the team is going to fill that spot prior to Sunday's game -- obviously with a practice squad player -- or keep the spot open.