With Thursday practice is complete, we now have a better idea of whom is or is not going to be able to play this weekend in the NFL. And we’re most concerned with the Buccaneers, the Dolphins and the Jaguars and their matchups.
So, here is what we know to this point:
With Vernon Hargreaves having already been put on injured reserve earlier in the week due to a shoulder injury suffered in the opening game with the Saints, eyes are still trained on veteran Pro Bowl defensive back Brent Grimes. Grimes was, once again, not able to practice on Thursday making it highly unlikely that he will play Sunday against the Eagles. That means the Bucs will rely even more heavily on rookies M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis in their defensive backfield.
Also on the bad news front, defensive tackle Vita Vea is still not practicing, and it’s unlikely that he will be able to make his debut this Sunday. Vea has been out since the first week of training camp with a calf injury. Although coach Dirk Koetter indicated last Friday night to “Sirius/XM NFL Radio” that Vea would be “ready to go soon.” Whatever “soon” means.
The good news for the Bucs is defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was able to participate in practice after suffering a slight knee injury during the New Orleans game last Sunday. JPP told the media Wednesday that his knee was “jacked up” but that he intended to play Sunday.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, coming off a 146 yard receiving-two TD game is still into concussion protocol. And while he was out at practice in a limited role, if he is not cleared on Friday, then he will likely miss the game against his former team. Jackson is also suffering from a shoulder injury suffered, when he fell in the end zone being hit in his first quarter touchdown Sunday.
Wide receiver DeVante Parker was back going through the full workout Thursday. It is really the first time that he’s been able to practice in almost a month since suffering a broken finger. And Coach Adam Gase was “optimistic” with the media after practice Thursday that Parker has a chance to be active for this game with the Jets.
The former number one pick three years ago is in a real position battle with Danny Amendola, Albert Lewis and Jakeem Grant for playing time.
Defensive end William Hayes was sporting a cast on his hand Thursday, but was still a full participant in practice.
However, the news was not as good for free agent offensive lineman Josh Sitton, who missed practice for the second consecutive day with a shoulder injury suffered during the win over the Titans Sunday. And as was reported on Friday morning, Sitton will be lost for the season with what is now diagnosed as a torn rotator cuff.
For the second straight practice Leonard Fournette was not able to participate, although he was out at the work out Thursday in a limited role. Coach Doug Marrone has maintained that they would test him slightly on Friday, but the prevailing belief among media and observers in Jacksonville is that Fournette is not going to try to play with his strained hamstring.
Fournette told the media after practice Thursday that the hamstring is feeling better and that he believes he will be a game-time decision to try to play. A paragraph
Center Brandon Linder is also battling a knee sprain, but he was able to finish the game last week in New York, even though it’s limited him in practice this week, Linder is expected to play the all-important game with the Patriots Sunday.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill on track to be back Sunday?
It’s an encouraging Monday in South Florida, as it relates to the injury rehab for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Now, the real question is: will we see the veteran back on the field Sunday against Indianapolis?
Coach Adam Gase met with the media Monday with the Dolphins coming off their bye week, and shared encouragement that Tannehill looks on track to be able to play soon. In fact, he’s back throwing a football for the first time since being shut down the week after the loss to the Bengals:
Dolphins Live: Coach Gase meets with the media. https://t.co/WJdtPu7WcS
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 19, 2018
In that game in October, Tannehill took a couple of significant hits in the fourth quarter meltdown and suffered what was eventually revealed to be an injury to the shoulder capsule. He did try to practice on the following Wednesday, and apparently the throws got worse and more painful, as the workout went along.
Tannehill ended up not taking any of the throwing reps in the Thursday or Friday practices, the Dolphins ended up hiding that point and were eventually fined by the NFL for listing him as “questionable,” when they knew he was not going to be able to play in the game with the Bears.
Veteran backup Brock Osweiler quarterbacked the team to the dramatic overtime win over Chicago that weekend, but there’s been little success since. In fact as Miami dropped two of their last three games, they had a nine quarter stretch without scoring an offensive touchdown.
Still, at 5 – 5, the Dolphins are on the verge of the AFC playoff picture and Gase has a decision to make about how soon he brings Tannehill back, as opposed to going with a healthier Osweiler at least for this week at the Colts.
Tannehill helped the Dolphins get off to a 3 – 0 start to the season, but that was with a more talented and healthy receiving corps than what they currently have. Free agent acquisition Albert Wilson has been put on injured reserve with a hip injury and the Dolphins, will also put Jakeem Grant on injured reserve with an Achilles injury suffered in their loss to the Packers eight days ago.
Veteran deep threat Kenny Stills has been bothered by a groin injury, but the hopes are that the extra week of rest with the bar I will help him for the stretch run of the season. Also, former number 1 pick DeVante Parker, who has seen his role increase with all of the injuries, had his left arm in a sling after the Packer game and his status is not known.
Back to Tannehill, as you probably know, he missed all of 2017 after ACL surgery and now, with having missed another five games to this point, there are question marks about his long-term future with the Fins?
So Gase has to weigh all of that in the decision-making of when to bring Tannehill back in a season that could still be salvaged down the stretch
Dolphins beaten up every way possible after latest loss in Green Bay
Make no mistake, the Dolphins season is not officially over at 5 – 5 headed in the bye week.
It just looks and feels that way.
Mostly, it does, because the Dolphins are banged up, not only physically, but also it appears emotionally and psychologically. So, much so, they don’t appear to have a whole lot left for the stretch run.
Let’s start with the actual physical injuries and that began Sunday with the inactives. The Fins starting offensive line was minus Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, which were not unexpected. However, after being able to practice some this week, former number 1 pick defensive end Charles Harris was not able to play against Green Bay today, either.
Then, as the game wore on, it was one Dolphin leaving after another. Whether it was Kenyan Drake with a shoulder injury in the first half or Bobby McCain with a concussion in the third quarter or when receivers Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker both had to leave on the same Drive, it was tough to watch the Dolphins walking wounded.
The biggest fear is for the smaller but explosive Grant, who may have torn his Achilles in the third quarter. Grant was already suffering from Achilles tendonitis and came up hobbling right away on a slant pass and could not put weight on the foot. He was then carted shortly thereafter to the Dolphins locker room.
Coach Adam Gase offered no real update on Grant’s status other than that it’s a wait-and-see. As for Parker, same thing is being hoped, even though, the media reported him walking around in the locker room after the game with his left arm in a sling. You combine those injuries with Kenny Stills being slowed by a groin injury and Albert Wilson already out for the year having hurt his hip a few weeks ago, and the Dolphins may be looking for Mark Duper or Nat Moore to come out of retirement at this point.
Bigger than just the physical injuries, the Dolphins appear spent in the figurative sense as well. The frustration mounted as Aaron Rodgers continued to carve them up throwing darts all over the football field Sunday night in the Lambeau cold. He finished with only 195 yards passing, but did have two TDs. And, they marched on the Dolphins defense, whenever he wanted.
It was almost as if Miami was just helpless to do anything against him, and they are watching their season wind down.
Consider that backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was not able to spark the team for the third consecutive game. So poor is the offensive output, that Miami has not scored a touchdown in their last nine quarters dating back to the Thursday night loss in Houston.
The Dolphins aren’t playing with any confidence, at least from the guys that are replacing the injured players. Remember, with Miami at full strength early in the year they got off to a 3 – 0 start.
So, the bye week comes now and perhaps, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder will be healed enough that he can practice in 10 days and maybe play at Indianapolis. It’s anybody’s guess as to who, out of the names above, will actually be healthy enough to help Tannehill and the Dolphins for the final six games.
Finally, even though Miami would appear by record to be very much in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot, they don’t look like a playoff team.
No. They’re banged up and look like a team that will be watching the postseason like everybody else.
Gameday- Dolphins travel to chilly Lambeau Field
Who: Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1)
When: Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Spread: Packers by 10 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
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