The Dolphins are expected to reintegrate four of their first-round draft picks back into their lineup on Sunday at Indianapolis, while a fifth (DeVante Parker) said it’s not yet clear if he will be ready.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will start Sunday after missing five games with a shoulder injury, practiced on a limited basis for a second day in a row – by design – and has looked good throwing, according to receivers Kenny Stills and Leonte Carroo.
“He was good,” coach Adam Gase said of Thursday’s practice session.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins also are expecting offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James to return Sunday, barring a setback, after missing the Green Bay game with knee injuries. Both were limited in practice, but Tunsil said he will play Sunday. James was non-committal but said: “I’m better than last week.”
Meanwhile, defensive end Charles Harris, who has missed four games with a calf injury, also practiced without limitations. Harris has a lot to prove; he has 11 tackles and no sacks in five games this season and has just two sacks in 21 NFL games.
“I’m blessed to be back,” he said. “I feel better now than I ever have.”
Though he injured his calf on the final play of a mid-October practice, he said: “I don’t believe in [bad] luck. Everything happens by design.”
Defensive coordinator Matt Burke said Harris has looked good in practice. “He’s looked explosive,” Burke said. “He did a good job putting some strength and some weight on. [In his career], he’s had up and down moments.”
Parker, who has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, practiced with a red non-contact jersey and said it’s “hard to say” if he will play Sunday. “We’re taking it slow; we’ll see how it feels,” he said.
As for Tannehill, he didn’t take all the first team reps but didn’t have a setback.
Carroo said the pop on his passes is the same as it was before his shoulder injury and that he’s throwing deep in practice. “He looks great; I haven’t noticed a change,” Carroo said.
▪ In other injury news: Running back Kenyan Drake was limited with a shoulder injury; he played through pain after sustaining the injury in the Green Bay game. Tight end A.J. Derby (foot/knee), safety T.J. McDonald (knee) and guard Ted Larsen (neck) were limited, too… Cornerback Bobby McCain was removed from concussion protocol and is expected to play Sunday.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Perhaps Tannehill’s return will help receiver Kenny Stills.
Stills has been thrown just 33 passes, tied for 122nd in the league. He has caught 19 of those passes for 326 yards (a 17.4 average) and four touchdowns, with five catches of 20 yards or more.
By contrast, Stills was tied with the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski for 29th in the league in targets last season with 106. He caught 58 of those for 847 yards, a 14.6 average, with six touchdowns and 14 receptions of 20 yards or more.
“Nothing productive comes out of me complaining about targets, catches, balls,” Stills said Wednesday. “As long as we’re winning, I’m happy. If we’re not winning, I’ve got to figure out ways to help the team win.”
Stills missed one game with a groin injury but said that hasn’t been affecting him.