The Dolphins have begun their week of preparations for their NFL regular-season opener at Seattle on Sunday. Well, most of the Dolphins have begun prepping.
As the team practiced today, there were a handful of notable absences.
Center Mike Pouncey was nowhere on the field. He's recovering from a hip injury.
Receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) was jogging around the field but not practicing.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (knee) was jogging around the field but not practicing.
Coach Adam Gase sounded optimistic that Jenkins could play against Seattle on Sunday.
“I don’t want to jinx myself," Gase said. "I think he’s on a good track right now. I know he’s been working really hard. It seems like he’s around here a lot because he doesn’t want to miss that first game. I think all of those guys that are really kind of on the sideline right now are itching to get out at practice. They do not want to miss an opportunity to go play this team because this is a really good team. This is a great organization that’s been very consistent; especially since (Head) Coach (Pete) Carroll has gotten there. I think these guys know that this is a good team and they want to showcase what their talents are.”
The rest of the team is mostly healthy. Backup quarterback Matt Moore told me earlier today he's 100 percent following that concussion a couple of weeks ago. He's practicing full go.
Kenny Stills, who left practice one day last week with a back issue, is practicing full go today.
The Dolphins will release their depth chart at some point in the next few minutes -- so check back here for that update.
My prediction is that MY LINE, which I wrote about August 14, will be the starting line against the Seahawks. Sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut.
Update: And my line of LT Branden Albert, LG Laremy Tunsil, Center Mike Pouncey, RG Jermon Bushrod and right tackle Ja'Wuan James is indeed the starting line on the depth chart.
The national reporters may make a thing about Tunsil winning the starting job. Really? You know that was the plan all along if you read this blog with regularity.
Arian Foster is listed as the starting running back ahead of Jay Ajayi.
Why is Foster the Dolphins' starter?
"I think a little bit of the reason is experience; but at the same time I think Arian, from the time he’s gotten here, has really shown that, that is the correct spot for him to be in," coach Adam Gase said. "He had a really good camp. He did everything we asked him to do as far as what we wanted to see in the preseason and he’s been very consistent in his knowledge of the offense in the short period of time that he was here – it was impressive to watch him (and) how quickly he picked it up."
It should not be forgotten that Ajayi, given the opportunity to shine in the final preseason game, fumbled on one carry and dropped a pass. That made what seemed like a close race for the starting job into something else.
Earl Mitchell and Ndamukong Suh are the defensive starting tackles. Cameron Wake and Mario Williams are the starting defensive ends. On Wake, I'd be careful to expect him to start every game. The Dolphins are making no secret of the fact Wake is going to be mostly a pass rusher early in the season. So if the Seahawks, for example, roll out double tight ends, a half back and fullback for their first play on Sunday, Wake is not going to be in there. Jason Jones probably would be the starter in that case.
The starting corners are Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard. Again, no surprise on Howard because I reported as much on Aug. 28.
“I think in the time that we saw him practice in the spring, we were feeling that’s where it was headed," Gase said of Howard. "He really did show the skill set that we thought he had when we drafted him. The injury really set him back as far as just being able to showcase that, really on the field more than anything. I think in the limited time he’s been back, he’s really shown that he didn’t fall off from the time he missed. Mentally he knows exactly what’s going on. I don’t know if sometimes, maybe for those rookies, when they can sit back and they can’t actually practice but they’re able to watch and learn from others mistakes, or what somebody else has done well. He did a good job of making sure he stayed up with everything so when he got a chance to get out there, it wasn’t like he was starting over again.”