The Dolphins didn’t escape completely unscathed in their 70-20 trouncing of the Denver Broncos, but injuries to two starters don’t appear to be longterm issues.
Phillips is “doing better than yesterday,” coach Mike McDaniel said. Williams is “in same boat as Jaelan. We’re acquiring more information. Day to day.”
But receiver River Cracraft’s shoulder injury will cause him to miss some time, it appears. “It’s not day to day,” McDaniel said. “No doubt we will see him again in near future; how near I don’t know.”
Though receiver Jaylen Waddle missed three weeks with an oblique injury during training camp, McDaniel said the team was being overly cautious with that injury, and that doesn’t mean that Phillips will miss weeks.
Waddle, who played in the first two games of the season, missed Sunday’s game in concussion protocol but McDaniel said he’s “very optimistic” about his status moving forward. He had advanced past the early stages of protocol.
Cornerback Eli Apple, who left the game to be examined for a concussion, is fine and not in concussion protocol, McDaniel said.
▪ McDaniel mentioned the improvement in the team’s pre-snap penalties. Miami has committed only three; among teams that have played three games, only Detroit has committed fewer (two). Last season, Miami was in the bottom five in that category.
“I’m very proud of that,” McDaniel said of improvement in that area.
McDaniel showed the team all of their pre-snap penalties, on video, when the offseason program began.
“The fact the players didn’t lose interest and it had a visceral feeling they wanted to correct, and how focused people were on it trying to get it right” was a good sign, McDaniel said.
Miami had 59 pre-snap penalties last season, including eight illegal shifts, eight delay-of-game infractions and four illegal formations.
▪ McDaniel had fullback Alec Ingold address the team before the game.
“The most impactful thing is when guys hear from their peers,” McDaniel said. “So I ask a lot of the captains in moments like that, and it’s not exclusively before the game. They say the last words to each other the night before the game and pretty much every activity we have culminates with a team breakdown.”
McDaniel said players “are able to give more powerful messages than any other coach can deliver.”
NOTES BY POSITION
Some notes on most Dolphins positions:
▪ Running back: Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane - who each tied a Dolphins record with four touchdowns in Sunday’s game - shared the workload relatively evenly on Sunday. Mostert had 37 offensive snaps, Achane 30.
Achane’s 203 yards rushing were the most by any NFL player (since 1970) in the first or second game of his career. Ottis Anderson (193) held the old record. William Andrews, Darren McFadden and George Rogers are 3, 4 and 5 on that list.
Also, Achane’s 203 yards were 25 yards short of Ricky Williams’ team record for rushing yards in a game.
Rookie Chris Brooks logged 13 snaps in the fourth quarter. Salvon Ahmed missed the game with a groin injury. Jeff Wilson Jr. is eligible to come off injured reserve after the Buffalo game.
McDaniel said the “plan wasn’t for” Hill “to play that much. You saw much less of Smythe and Ingold” because a package with Hill was having success and because of Denver’s scheme.
“Julian did well with that adjustment and took advantage of some reps,” McDaniel said. As for Smythe, his health is fine. “Durham is durable,” McDaniel said.
▪ Wide receiver: With Waddle missing the game in concussion protocol and Cracraft leaving after 25 snaps, the Dolphins gave 42 snaps to Robbie Chosen (who was elevated from the practice squad for the game), 39 snaps to Tyreek Hill, 37 snaps to Braxton Berrios and 34 to Cedrick Wilson Jr.
Erik Ezukanma was inactive for the game.
Hill’s 412 receiving yards are the most in franchise history through three games.
▪ Offensive line: With Williams departing after 43 snaps, Liam Eichenberg logged 30 snaps at center - the first time he has played center in a game at any level. Kendall Lamm played 17 snaps and Lester Cotton 12 off the bench, while veteran starters rested late.
Bethel played 51 defensive snaps, most on the team, as Xavien Howard and Kader Kohou sat out most of the fourth quarter. Nickerson played 19 snaps and Apple 4. Kelvin Joseph, acquired from Dallas for Noah Igbinoghene, played his first 15 defensive snaps as a Dolphin.
▪ Safety: With DeShon Elliott leaving after 46 snaps (no serious injury was reported), Brandon Jones played 16 defensive snaps, after logging just two combined defensive snaps in the first two weeks of the season. Elijah Campbell, playing in his first game of the season after missing time with a leg injury, also played 16 defensive snaps.
Meanwhile, Jevon Holland became the first Dolphins player to force two fumbles in a game since Kiko Alonso in 2018.
▪ Linebacker: The lopsided score allowed Cam Goode (14 snaps) and Channing Tindall (9) to get their first defensive snaps of the season. Goode, who has been elevated the maximum three-permitted times this season because of his special teams acumen, must be signed to the 53-man roster to play again this season.
Emmanuel Ogbah played 23 snaps and had his first career interception. His 38 career passes defensed are third-most by an NFL defensive lineman since 2016, the year he entered the league.