Dolphins’ Flores updates injuries with Tua, running backs. And feats for Gesicki, Sanders

Barry Jackson, Adam Beasley
·4 min read

A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Thursday:

▪ Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores remained non-committal on Thursday about whether Tua Tagovailoa would play Sunday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

Tagovailoa, who missed Sunday’s game against the Jets because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand, was again limited in practice on Wednesday, unable to participate in some aspects of the practice.

Flores has said Tagovailoa will start if he’s healthy. But he’s not yet healthy.

“He was limited in practice,” Flores said. “We’ll take it one day at a time. Both quarterbacks practiced yesterday. We’ll see how he progresses throughout the week and make a decision on Sunday.

“It’s pretty well known he’s dealing with something. Anytime you’re not at full strength, there’s always some type of impact. Nobody is really at 100 percent. Everyone is dealing with something. That’s the case with a lot of players on our team. Guys find a way to work through things in this league and Tua is no different.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick would start if the Dolphins believe that Tagovailoa wouldn’t be effective Sunday because of the injury.

What if Tagovailoa is only 80 percent healthy? Flores was asked if he would again prefer a full healthy Fitzpatrick over a somewhat limited Tagovailoa.

“A lot goes into that decision,” Flores said. “What’s best for the player, what’s best for the team, what we need to be able to do to win a ballgame. That’s the top of the priority list.

“But every player in this league who’s played a significant amount of snaps is dealing with something. You try to work through it and that’s what Tua is doing.

“I know you guys want to know right now if he’s playing or not playing but we’ve still got two days of practice and as always, we’ll make the best decision for the team.”

▪ Flores said the Dolphins have enough at running back even with Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) and DeAndre Washington (hamstring) injured and Myles Gaskin working his way back from a sprained MCL.

Flores didn’t rule out any for Sunday, though Washington missing practice Wednesday was a concern. And Ahmed was again limited on Wednesday with the shoulder injury that sidelined him last Sunday against the Jets.

“It’s good to get Ahmed back,” Flores said. “D-Washington we had to hold him back. We feel good about our backs. We’ve got enough guys that we can line up and play.”

Flores likes what he has seen from safety Eric Rowe and cornerback Nik Needham: “Both guys have played well, both given us competitive coverage. How they prepare this week will say a lot about how they play. They’ve attacked each week in the correct manner and it’s shown up on game day. Hopefully that continues.”

As Dolphins’ in-house reporter Travis Wingfield noted, Needham is third in the league in passer rating against (77.2) among qualifying slot cornerbacks (minimum 20 targets).

Rowe has covered tight ends more effectively than any Dolphins defensive back in many years.

▪ Quick stuff Part 1: Not only does Mike Gesicki have eight touchdown receptions in his past 17 games, but his 15.0 yards per reception average this season is best in the league for tight ends.

There have been seven times in the past five years that an NFL tight end averaged at least 15 yards per catch during a season. Jared Cook did it last year (16.4) for New Orleans. Rob Gronkowski has done it twice since 2015….

The Dolphins are allowing teams to convert just 32.8 percent of third downs, which is best in the league from a defensive standpoint.

▪ Quick stuff Part 2: The Dolphins’ streak of 17 games in a row with a takeaway is the longest active streak in the NFL and Miami’s longest since 2000-2001…

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders is 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from 50-plus yards in his career and has made 10 in a row from that distance. His 85.7 field goal percentage from 50-plus is the best in the NFL since at least 1991. No other NFL kicker is better than 80 percent in his career from 50 plus, with a minimum of 10 attempts.

“I’m excited to see where it’s going to go,” Sanders said of his career.

▪ Receivers coach Josh Grizzard said coaching young players Malcolm Perry, Lynn Bowden Jr. and Antonio Callaway has been “fun because they are so young. They are just like ‘Can we watch more film? Can we still spend some time at night?’ In this climate we’re in with Zoom, you can get on a call with these guys and watch the tape even when you’re sitting at home.

“Those guys are all eager to learn, not only the playbook, but taking it to the next level on their understanding of not only our scheme but what the defense is trying to do.”

But Perry missed Wednesday’s practice with a chest injury and his status for Sunday is very much in question.