By Jeremiah Thermidor
Miami Dolphins receiver Davone Bess has never missed a regular-season game during his five-year career in the NFL. However, his streak of 77 straight regular-season matchups played will be snapped this Sunday when the Dolphins battle the Jacksonville Jaguars at Sun Life Stadium. Bess will sit out the contest with a back injury which kept him out of practice all week. Although Miami’s receiving core has struggled to make an impact for the offense as whole, Bess individually has performed well. In fact, this season the 27-year-old has put forth the second best numbers of his career. His best year by far was in 2010 when he caught 79 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns. This season he’s had 61 receptions for 778 yards and a score. He’s averaged 12.8 yards per catch this year, which is the best of his career. So, his absence will certainly be felt this weekend.
With Bess out, Miami receivers Marlon Moore and Richard Mathews are expected to be targeted more and could have the breakout performances which have eluded them during their fledgling careers. Mathews, a rookie, has only played in five games and has three receptions for 55 yards this season while Moore, a third-year wide out, has seen action in 11 games and has caught four passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. “I like what they’ve done,” said Miami head coach Joe Philbin regarding the confidence he has in his young receivers. “They’ve made some nice plays so far and we’re looking forward to them contributing.”
On Monday, the Dolphins picked up former Cincinnati receiver Armon Binns whom they were awarded off waivers after he was released by the Bengals this month. Binns had 18 catches for 210 yards this season before he was waived by Cincinnati. When asked on Wednesday whether Binns would see action in Miami’s final three matchups, coach Philbin said, “We’ll take a look at the tape and see if he can fit into the plan. We’ll see.”
In addition to Bess, third-year starting outside linebacker Koa Misi will also miss Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. This will be the first game Misi has sat out all season. The 25-year-old is having the best statistical season of his career. He’s racked up 64 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Stepping in for Misi will be reserve left outside linebacker Jason Trusnik who has accumulated 139 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble during his six-year career in the league. So, he’s a guy who is definitely capable of carrying the load in place of Misi.
There are no Miami players listed as doubtful or questionable for the game. Seven guys, though, are listed as probable and they are all expected to see some action this weekend. Those players include safety Jonathan Amaya (Neck), safety Chris Clemons (Ribs), linebacker Karlos Dansby (Biceps), punter Brandon Fields (Right Knee), wide receiver Brian Hartline (Glute), linebacker Austin Spitler (Ankle) and safety Jimmy Wilson (Hip).
Jacksonville, meanwhile, has five players ruled out of the matchup. Running back Rashad Jennings (Concussion), running back Maurice Jones-Drew (Foot), cornerback Aaron Ross (Calf), defensive end George Selvie (Concussion) and running back Jordan Todman will sit this one out. Players listed as probable for the Jags who will likely play this weekend include defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (Calf), cornerback Derek Cox (Hamstring), fullback Greg Jones (Thigh), safety Dwight Lowery (Foot), cornerback Rashean Mathis (Groin), center Brad Meester (Foot) and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (Concussion).
The Miami Dolphins (5-8) will play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) 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.