Dolphins’ Edmonds challenges himself ‘to play better.’ And news from Dolphins coaches

David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com

In five weeks, Chase Edmonds -- one of the Dolphins’ first pickups in free agency -- has gone from starting the opener at running back to getting just one carry and 10 offensive snaps in Sunday’s Jets game.

Much of that is the byproduct of Raheem Mostert’s recent good work; he rushed 15 times for 69 yards against Cincinnati and 18 times for 113 yards against the Jets.

But there’s more to it than that. Myles Gaskin, who didn’t get a carry in the first four games, played ahead of Edmonds in the second half against the Jets and overall logged more snaps (13 to 10) and touches (7 to 1).

“I’m always a big time self reflector,” Edmonds said. “I’ve got to play better. The last two weeks, I had a couple of uncharacteristic drops, let it get to my head. I think I’ve had more drops the last two weeks than my whole career.”

Mostert is dealing with a knee injury but was on the practice field on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session. Mostert said he’s fine and will play Sunday against visiting Minnesota (1 p.m., Fox).

Edmonds - who ranked in the top 20 in the league in yards after contact on receptions for Arizona last season - dropped a potential touchdown pass in the Bengals game and had another drop against the Jets.

He said coaches didn’t tell him that the drops were the reason that he played sparingly in the second half against the Jets but “that’s what I [concluded].”

Edmonds, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 116 rushes for Arizona last season, is averaging 3.0 on 29 carries this season, well below his career 4.5 mark.

After getting 12 carries in the opener, he had five, six, five and one carry the past four weeks.

“I’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “I’ll be back to playing how Chase Edmonds plays. In life, you always have storms you go through. I’ll bounce back and be all right.”

Offensive coordinator Frank Smith said Edmonds responded well this week: “Chase’s opportunities are going to come. It’s a long season. We feel good to have two backs we feel really good about. [Edmonds] had an excellent day of practice [Wednesday]. He really challenged himself.”

As for Gaskin, he was pleased to get work after being inactive the previous two weeks.

“It felt good to be out there,” Gaskin said. “It’s tough as a competitor not to play.”

Gaskin, who started 10 games last season, had 4 carries for 9 yards against the Jets and caught 3 passes for 24 yards. “I could have affected the game better,” he said.

NEWS FROM COACHES

▪ Offensive coordinator Smith revealed that right tackle Austin Jackson is close to returning from an ankle injury. Jackson started the opener but has been on injured reserve the past four weeks; he’s now eligible to be activated and has practiced this week.

“We’re very optimistic and hopeful he will be able to help us this Sunday and the rest of the season,” Smith said. “He’s done a great job in his rehabilitation.”

Greg Little has started the past four games at right tackle in Jackson’s absence.

Why did Brandon Shell - who has been mostly been an NFL right tackle - play left tackle when Terron Armstead went out after eight snaps last week, considering the fact that right tackle Little began his career as a left tackle?

Smith said this staff does not believe in “flipping guys constantly. With our experience, we feel it can be extremely challenging” to flip players back and forth between the right and left sides.

Armstead, who hasn’t practiced for a month, hopes to play through a toe injury on Sunday, but it’s unclear if that’s possible.

▪ Quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell said Tua Tagovailoa - besides throwing passes - has been in quarterback meetings this week and is “chomping at the bit” to return. Tagovailoa has been ruled out for Sunday, even though there’s a chance he could clear concussion protocol by then.

Teddy Bridgewater is progressing through concussion protocol and was permitted to do non-contact work on Thursday. He would back up Skylar Thompson on Sunday against Minnesota if Bridgewater clears protocol by the weekend.

LONG VIEW

This will be an important next few months for Hunter Long, who was a healthy scratch last week while rookie Tanner Conner was kept active for the Jets game.

This is Long’s chance to make a case for a more prominent role this season and in 2023. It’s widely presumed that Mike Gesicki will move on after the season; he’s seemingly not an ideal fit for an offensive system that places more emphasis on tight end blocking that previous Dolphins systems.

Long came out of Boston College as a polished receiver. The Dolphins have pushed him to become a better blocker.

Playing in this system “has helped me immensely developing all aspects of my game,” Long said. “I’m a lot better as a blocker. It’s something I’ve always had to work on.”

Durham Smythe missed practice with a hamstring injury on Wednesday but was back on Thursday. If he cannot play Sunday, Long could have a significant role.

If Smythe cannot play on Sunday, do the Dolphins have enough blocking among Gesicki, Long and Conner to run their entire offense?

“There’s also options as far as schemes,” Smith said. “If Durham can’t make it, we have a plan.”