With Tannehill Healthy Miami Has Edge Against Titans
By Jeremiah Thermidor
Miami rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury which he suffered against the Jets didn’t keep him out of last Sunday’s matchup versus the Colts and it won’t keep him out of this weekend’s contest against the Titans. Tannehill had a great week of practice and he’s looking sharp and moving around pretty well. Despite hurting his quadriceps and knee in Week 8, Tannehill was quickly back to form, passing for 290 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s first loss in three games. Tannehill is listed as probable on the injury report along with eight other Dolphins players.
Those players include cornerback Nolan Carroll (Knee), linebacker Karlos Dansby (Bicep), wide receiver Brian Hartline (Hamstring), full back Jorvorskie Lane (Knee), tackle Jake Long (Back), linebacker Koa Misi (Calf), center Mike Pouncey (Knee/Ankle) and defensive tackle Paul Soliai (Ankle). A bicep injury most certainly wouldn’t keep Dansby out of action. He’s one of the most determined and fiery players on Miami’s highly touted defense. The ninth-year pro doesn’t receive enough credit for what he is able to do at the middle linebacker spot. As far as leadership is concerned, he’s done an excellent job reading offenses well and making sure his teammates on defense are lined up in the right spot. He’s a huge part of the reason why Miami’s defense ranks third at stopping the run, and he’s also done a great job disrupting passes. Whenever his name shows up on an injury report it’s a concern. Fortunately for the Dolphins his injury isn’t serious at all.
Miami defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (Knee) and tight end Jeron Mastrud (Hamstring) are listed as questionable on the injury report. McDaniel has only played in four games this year, missing action due to a nagging knee injury. He hurt his knee again against the Jets and didn’t play in last Sunday’s contest versus the Colts. Whether or not he sees action Sunday will likely be a game-time decision. McDaniel only has three tackles this season. Rookie defensive tackle Kheeston Randall has stepped up in McDaniel’s absence when his number has been called, raking in eight tackles in a reserve role and being very physical in the trenches.
Notably missing on this week’s injury report is cornerback Richard Marshall. A back injury forced Marshall to miss four straight games and he clearly wasn’t improving, so, this week the Dolphins placed Marshall on injured reserve. “From a medical standpoint, they thought that was the best thing to do,” said Miami coach Joe Philbin when asked how tough a decision it was to put Marshall on injured reserve. “We’ve been functioning the last month without him and we’re just going to have to continue to do that.”
Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker will be returning this week after missing five games with a shoulder injury. The second-year star is most certainly the future of the franchise and the Titans wanted him back on the field quickly, considering backup Matt Hasselbeck hadn’t been performing too well during the last few games. Locker is listed as probable on the injury report.
The Titans have two players ruled out of this weekend’s matchup. Tennessee linebacker Xavier Adibi (Knee) and strong safety Al Afalava (Ankle) won’t play this Sunday. Adibi left Tennessee’s Week 9 matchup against the Bears early. On Monday, doctors diagnosed Adibi with stretched ligaments in that knee. Having him return too soon would cause further damage, so, sitting him out was certainly the best decision. Afalava will miss the next two to three weeks with a high ankle sprain, which is a significant loss for the Titans considering he’s their backup behind Jordan Babineaux. Tracy Wilson, who contributes a great deal on special teams, is expected to fill in well for Afalava.
Players listed as questionable for the Titans include linebacker Patrick Bailey (Ribs), cornerback Tommie Campbell (Ankle), linebacker Colin McCarthy (Ankle), tackle Byron Stingily (Back) and linebacker Will Witherspoon (Hamstring). In addition to Locker, wide receiver Kenny Britt (Knee), cornerback Alterraun Verner (Thigh), receiver Nate Washington (Illness) and receiver Kendall Wright (Elbow) are listed as probable for the matchup.
The Miami Dolphins (4-4) will play host to the Tennessee Titans (3-6) on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. You can watch full coverage of the game right here on CBS 4.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.