With one preseason game left to play, Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings, the Miami Dolphin still aren’t exactly sure who their starting left guard will be or who their second tackle alongside Ndamukong Suh will be.
It seems they’re no longer sure who one of their starting cornerbacks will be either.
After watching Byron Maxwell blow at least one coverage assignment that led to a touchdown while allowing a few other passes to be caught in front of him last Thursday night, the Dolphins are contemplating a change in which Alterraun Verner would replae Maxwell in the starting lineup.
The blown assignment resulted in Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz delivering an easy strike to Torrey Smith on a play (above) during Philadelphia’s 38-31 victory last week in which safety Reshad Jones seemed to admonish Maxwell for his mistake right there on the field.
The admonishment has caused a bit of a stir in Miami, where Gase refused on Sunday to say whether he had a problem with the action. Gase’s own actions, though, suggest that while he might not have liked what Jones did, he probably didn’t disagree with the reason for it.
Gase didn’t get into specifics but he said he wished he had done a “couple things different’’ with Maxwell during the Dolphins third pre-season game, one in which Wentz completed 6-of-10 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Miami’s first-team defense.
“We’ve got to clean things up, keep competing and find ways to get better,’’ Gase said. “It really goes back to coaching and players taking coaching, because we’re always trying to get better. We’re always trying to find ways to correct the mistakes we made.
“You don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. That’s the best part of the preseason. They don’t count right now. We have another opportunity this Thursday. We have three practices this week (where) we have a chance to get better and correct some mistakes.’’
We also wrote at the beginning of camp and it still remains, that this veteran Pro Bowler is available.
At this point, the Dolphins still aren’t ready to admit that adding Maxwell in the first place might have been a mistake. After all, he did lead all NFL corners with four forced fumbles last year, but he’s salted to earn $10 million in 2018, and he’s yet to prove he’s worth that.
That’s why part of their plan this preseason was to look at potential replacements such as Xavien Howard and Tony Lippett. As it turns out, the replacement may be Verner and he may replace Maxwell sooner than anytone thought.