There might soon be more Dolphins players missing or limited in practice than in full pads.
DT Tony McDaniel (knee) and LB Austin Spitler (groin) missed a second straight practice on Thursday, and CB Richard Marshall (back) was downgraded and also sat out after being limited on Wednesday. RB Reggie Bush (knee), CB Nolan Carroll (achilles) and WR Marlon Moore (hamstring) were limited on Thursday.
This injuries to Marshall and Carroll are especially troubling. The team's defensive backfield is very thin, with S Jimmy Wilson already taking reps at nickel and dimeback. And that's not a good thing. Wilson was burned on a late touchdown pass against the Jets when he easily gave up inside position on a slant route near the end zone. Carroll also has struggled in his increased role.
“There's certainly room for improvement and development,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “We hope we see that as the season progresses, but I think they prepare well. I think they're guys that can make some plays and hopefully we'll see more of those as the year unfolds.”
That's not good news with a trip to Arizona looming on Sunday.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald must be licking his chops. The reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week made nine catches for 114 yards with a touchdown in a 27-6 win over the Eagles last week. Fitzgerald is averaging 12.9 yards per catch this season.
“He obviously has some physical skills that are outstanding; both his size and his speed. You know he is an instinctive player,” Philbin said. “He catches the ball very well, but the thing that I was impressed with the most was his professionalism and his love of the game, his enthusiasm for the game.”
Officially over: The Miami Dolphins aren't spending much time celebrating the return of the real officials, who reached a deal this week with the NFL.
“I don't have a lot of control over that obviously and we were going to show up and play the game,” Philbin said. “I thought the guys that have done our games have done a good job and looking forward to working with the guys as they come back. I really didn't have much of a reaction.”
However, he did take notice of Monday night's game between Seattle and Green Bay that had a controversial ruling on a Hail Mary pass at the end of regulation. Philbin was the offensive coordinator of the Packers last season.
“My wife told me at midnight of whenever the play came about that they got robbed. That's a true story,” Philbin said. “So it's tough, it's tough. If the players play hard enough and the coaches prepare hard enough, then you want the game to be officiated fairly. Everybody that's in coaching realizes that there is no thing as a perfect official, but with what appears to have been an evident call, you would hope that they would get it right, get the result of the game right. So that's a tough pill, sure.”
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