Interesting stuff happening at Miami Dolphins camp today.
Firstly, Rishard Matthews returned to practice and worked the whole way (full) so if he continues on that arc, expect him to play Sunday against Indianapolis. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins return Matthews to the starting role he had prior to getting injured or DeVante Parker will keep that role.
My guess is that Matthews gets his starting job back.
Dan Campbell is that kind of guy. He's a former player and he defers to veterans. And veterans don't like losing their jobs to injuries -- Wally Pipp aside.
Parker, however, is coming off a good game against San Diego and will nonetheless play a lot.
I thought he took a huge step up last week," Campbell said of Parker. "I thought he played pretty well. There are still a few things, just details of the game for him that he’s got to be better at, but his physical ability is beginning to show up. He’s turning into a pretty solid receiver right now. There’s enough that’s going on where he’s playing with size. Watching that tape against San Diego those corners tried to stick him a few times, jam him and he was getting off press. He was working them. He was pushing at the top of the route. He played big. He played big, he played physical, he used his speed, he had separation and there towards the end of the game it looked like they started to back off of him. They started to feel the stress he was putting on him which is good. He’s improving. We talked about this. He did some good things in Baltimore and then Monday night when we played the Giants he kind of took a step back and then this week he took a jump. That’s what we’re anticipating. I think he’ll be even better than he was last week. That’s what we’re looking for.”
This matters, as I've written in the past. The Dolphins have a decision to make on Matthews this offseason and he has one to make about them because he is unsigned. So does he return for next year knowing he might not able to hold off Parker from the starting lineup? And do the Dolphins pay Matthews knowing he might not be a starter given that they have Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills and all of them are able to start?
Ja'Wuan James returned to practice but only on a limited basis and working with the scout team. He is expected to work at right tackle some with the starting unit on Thursday. We'll see how that goes.
Branden Albert did not practice on Wednesday but it was a so-called rest day. Campbell said he expects Albert to practice on Thursday, suggesting he might be playing Sunday despite missing much of the San Diego game with an injury to his right knee -- the same knee he had reconstructed in the offseason.
Mike Pouncey, in a walking boot, continues to say he wants to play Sunday and in the season finale against New England. Campbell wants him in there but isn't necessarily expecting it.
“If you asked me that today, if he’ll play? I don’t see it, but I didn’t think after the Jets game he would play either and he came out and played for us," Campbell said. "We’ll see and it’s just day-to-day for him."
Jamil Douglas would play center if Pouncey cannot.
Both Reshad Jones and Ndamukong Suh were selected as alternates to the Pro Bowl although neither was selected to play right off. And it seemed something a sore subject for both men, at least temporarily.
Jones initially peeved at the perceived slight, said he would not go even if he's called upon to do so as a replacement. After thinking it over, however, and getting some sage advice from some older folks, Jones said he would play in the game after all if asked.
Suh was asked if he was surprised about not being selected.
"Next question," he said.
Suh was asked if he thought making the Pro Bowl is important to his legacy?
"Next question," he said, clearly delivering the message that getting snubbed was sore subject for him.
But here's something more important to a person's legacy: Whether they're the same person in good times and in adversity. It's easy to be a nice guy in good times. The measure of a man is how he conducts himeslf in tough times.
Speaking of tough times, Jamar Taylor is squarely in the middle of those right now.
Taylor is in the doghouse. He's struggled this year. He didn't improve. And coaches finally marginalized him to the point he's been inactive some, despite being healthy, and been unused when he was active -- such as last week. And that isn't likely to change unless someone in front of him gets hurt.
So the Dolphins are going to be giving more playing time to Bobby McCain, who is starting, and Tony Lippett, who is going to get work again against the Indianapolis Colts.
So anything going on with Jamar, coach?
“No," Campbell said. "It’s just that we wanted to get a look at (Tony) Lippett and Bobby (McCain). They’ve been the next in line.”