A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Wednesday:
▪ Cornerback Byron Jones (groin) has been ruled out of Thursday night’s Dolphins-Jaguars game, news that while not surprising is certainly damaging to Miami’s hopes.
Jones lasted just four snaps before leaving Sunday’s Bills loss with the injury. And in his absence, the Dolphins’ pass defense was quite bad.
Noah Igbinoghene, Nik Needham and Xavien Howard all struggled, leading to a career day by Josh Allen, who had three completions of over 40 yards.
So what will the Dolphins do differently against Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars?
TBD, but one option is to move Bobby McCain from free safety back to his natural position at nickel corner, and play Brandon Jones more. They also could give the rookie Igbinoghene another chance to play most of the boundary snaps opposite Howard.
If the Dolphins want to add a fifth cornerback to the roster, they aren’t required to make a roster move for the game until 4 p.m. Thursday.
And there is now an NFL mechanism for them to activate one or two of their practice squad cornerbacks against the Jaguars (Tae Hayes, Javaris Davis, Cordrea Tankersley) without needing to cut a player off their 53-man roster.
Meanwhile, special teams ace Clayton Fejedelem (pec) is doubtful for Thursday while linebacker Elandon Roberts is out of the concussion protocol and available to play.
▪ Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey likes how tight end Mike Gesicki has come on.
“The [one-handed] catch on Sunday was highlight-reel stuff,” Gailey said.
“It was really an amazing catch, but I’ve seen him do it before,” Gailey said. “Doing it in the game, I didn’t expect it, but I understood it when I saw it because I’ve seen him do it before. He understands the game. He gets the game.
“He gets what he needs to do and where he needs to be. He’s able to catch the ball with his hands away from his body and he has such a big body that people have a hard time going around him to get to the ball. Right now he’s a tough target for people to cover.”
Gesicki caught 8 of 10 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Buffalo.
▪ Pro Football Focus blamed Ereck Flowers for one sack on Sunday (he was the only offensive lineman charged with allowing a sack) and said left tackle Austin Jackson allowed five quarterback hurries but no hits or pressures.
And PFF said Solomon Kindley and Jesse Davis both allowed two quarterback hits.
Kindley said offensive line coach Steve Marshall told him that he “played very well” against Buffalo.
He returns to his hometown of Jacksonville for Thursday’s game at the Jaguars. “It’s a dream come true that I’m even able to go back to that stadium and now I’m playing on Thursday Night Football,” he said.
Receiver Isaiah Ford also is playing in his hometown Thursday. “This will be my first time actually getting to play inside the stadium, so I’m really looking forward to that,” Ford said.
▪ PFF said the Dolphins who graded out the best on offense last Sunday, in order, were: Gesicki, Ford, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, tight end Durham Smythe and running back Myles Gaskin.
Four of those five are key parts of Miami’s passing game. But asked about his passing game this week, Brian Flores told Jacksonville media: “Not where it needs to be... Some things are better than others but nothing is where it needs to be. That’s where I’m at on the passing game.”
PFF said the Dolphins who graded out the best on defense, in order, were: defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, cornerback Jamal Perry (just five snaps), defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel.
Wilkins has graded out very well two consecutive games.
▪ This feels like something of a crossroads for Needham, who started his career so promisingly last season but struggled badly in December and had difficulties on Sunday against Buffalo.
“They know and I know that I can play way better than that,” Needham said of Dolphins coaches. “I definitely didn’t play close to what I know my caliber of play is. I’ve just got to get back to the drawing board and learn from that and learn from the mistakes.”
▪ Quick stuff: Ford, who has emerged into a highly competent slot receiver, caught 7 of 8 targets for 76 yards against Buffalo, and all seven went for first downs. The leader in that category is Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley; all 16 of his catches have gone for first downs.
Has anyone internally said they’re proud of Ford for going from a player on the bubble to a reliable slot receiver?
“A lot of guys have seen me mature throughout this entire process,” he said. “They gave me encouragement.”...
Because the Dolphins need receiver Mack Hollins as a gunner on special teams - “I’m really happy with how he’s performing,” special teams coordinator Danny Crossman said - that essentially forces the Dolphins to choose between Lynn Bowden Jr. and Malcolm Perry for one spot on the active roster, because it would seem unlikely that Miami would have seven receivers active for any game. Bowden got the nod against Buffalo and played four snaps on offense...
Thursday’s broadcast - televised on NFL Network as well as WPLG-ABC 10 in South Florida - will feature Fox’s lead announcing team (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman) but NFL Net’s studio team (Colleen Wolfe, Michael Irvin, Steve Smith, Joe Thomas). NFL’s Net’s “NFL GameDay Kickoff” will go on the air at 6 p.m., with kickoff at 8:20 p.m. Fox doesn’t start simulcasting Thursday night games until Week 4.
Here’s my Wednesday Miami Hurricanes 10-pack.