Dolphins’ Brian Flores updates Xavien Howard situation and praises one Miami rookie

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Barry Jackson, Adam Beasley
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Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores addressed multiple issues during his media briefing Wednesday, with defensive backs dominating part of the conversation:

He said cornerback Xavien Howard “came out well” from his first game since major knee surgery in December.

“It’s good to get him in there, get some snaps,” Flores said. “Been awhile since he played. Did some good things. We’ll continue to move him along and get him more reps this week and see how it goes.”

Per a source, Howard was on a 30-play snap limit Sunday. That number is expected to rise this week. He ended up playing 27 on Sunday, with Noah Igbinoghene alternating with him. Igbinoghene finished with 37 snaps.

Why the decision to use Jamal Perry for 31 snaps Sunday and not give any snaps to Nik Needham? Flores noted Perry has spent more time in that role, in the nickel package defending the slot receiver.

“Nik spent a little bit more time on the perimeter over the course of training camp,” Flores said. “Jamal was more inside, but we have a lot of confidence in both guys, and obviously they’ll both go out there and practice and compete this week and we’ll see how it goes.”

A big challenge for the defensive backs awaits Sunday, with Buffalo receivers John Brown and Stefon Diggs.

“This is a very good group of receivers,” Flores said. “This is as good a group as there is around the league. This will be a great challenge for us as a defense to go along with the quarterback [Josh Allen] and his ability to scramble. They present a lot of issues. We have to do a great job with our technique. They’re good.”

Why did cornerback Ken Webster leave the practice team? Flores said he “had an opportunity to go to another team,” which has not yet been reported. [UPDATE: According to a source, he’s signing with the 49ers’ active roster.]

That leaves Tae Hayes and Javaris Davis as the cornerbacks on Miami’s practice squad.

The Dolphins can protect four players from being poached from their practice squad each week, and Hayes is again one of them — along with tight end Chris Myarick, new quarterback Reid Sinnett and long snapper Matt Orzech.

On safety Brandon Jones, who had 10 tackles Sunday, Flores said: “For his first time out, I thought he played well. I thought he tackled well. He showed good speed. A lot of things we saw in training camp — this kid is fast, aggressive, he tackles well. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

“There were some plays I know he wished he had back that we talked about it on the sideline. I would say they were in some of the critical moments of the game. Hopefully he learns from them. Every play for these young guys is a learning experience. Hopefully he comes out and plays better this next week.”

We had an update here on Tuesday night about wide receiver DeVante Parker, who avoided a major injury to his hamstring. Regarding his status for this week, Flores said Tuesday: “He’s been rehabbing and getting treatment. We’ll make the best decision for DeVante and obviously for the team.”

[UPDATE: Parker was practicing in full pads on Wednesday].

Flores isn’t sure if new receiver Lynn Bowden — the rookie third-rounder acquired early this month from Las Vegas — is going to contribute in a game just yet but said he’s making progress.

“He’s been here two weeks, three weeks – somewhere in there – so he’s worked extremely hard,” Flores said. “He’s been meeting one-on-one with ‘Grizz’ (wide receivers coach Josh Grizzard) trying to get caught up; but when you’re a rookie, you’re young, you need reps. So we’re trying to get him as many reps in practice as possible, but as far as getting caught up, there’s going to be, I think at best for a young guy in that situation, a couple packages, a couple things he could feel comfortable doing and maybe get him out there; but I’m not sure we’re there yet, so we’ll see.”

Flores said there’s no special package for Jakeem Grant.

“If he’s open, we try to get it to him,” Flores said. “He’s a receiver. They’ve got to get releases, do a good job with route technique. Jakeem is an explosive guy. We want to get him on some things where he’s on the move and can make people [miss].”

PRACTICE NOTES

Linebacker Elandon Roberts was not spotted during the portion of practice open to media... Safety Clayton Fejedelem was back at practice - and dressed in pads - after missing Sunday’s game with an injury.