DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins held a lighter version of practice on Tuesday, opting for a walk-through inside the team’s practice bubble.
The Dolphins are preparing for Thursday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium and after three straight days of hard workouts, the coaches decided to give the players a bit of a physical break.
The big news of the day had to do with injuries, as has been the case around the Dolphins of late.
Cornerback Tony Lippett, who was emerging as an ascending, trustworthy member of Miami’s secondary, will miss the 2017 season after suffering a torn Achilles.
The non-contact injury happened during Monday’s practice.
“He jumped up and came down. Nobody touched him,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said of the injury.
Lippett is the third player to suffer a season-ending injury since the beginning of training camp, joining quarterback Ryan Tannehill and rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
Both Lippett and Tannehill’s injuries came on non-contact plays.
Lippett had four interceptions in 2016 and was expected to be the Dolphins third cornerback.
“Anytime you lose a guy who started every game for you last year, that’s not ideal,” Gase said. “But that’s why we’ve collected the depth we have. That’s why we’re trying to get young players to go because this is what happens. We have to just keep developing these young players and that’s why every year we’re drafting a guy or when we get to college free agency, we feel like we found a couple of guys this year. We just want them to keep proving it to us. We feel like we’re pretty deep there and we just have to keep getting these guys better.”
The injury makes Miami’s signing of free agent Alterraun Verner that much more important.
Verner and rookie Condrea Tankersley will be the ones competing to take Lippett’s spot.
Verner has looked good so far during camp and made a nice pass breakup during limited snaps in Miami’s first presaeason game.
The other big news on Tuesday surrounded Miami’s top running backs.
Starter Jay Ajayi is no longer in the concussion protocol which means he should be cleared for full-contact.
The third year back is anxious to resume preparing for the upcoming season.
“It’s frustrating. You want to be out there with your teammates, practicing and grinding,” Ajayi said. “It’s the time we’re all working on our craft to be better; but at the same time, it is better that it happened now during the preseason. We’re not at the regular season yet, so I had time to just make sure I was healthy enough to be back out on the field again.”
Ajayi was seen working with teammates during practice this week but had not been officially cleared from his injury.
“I think he was excited to get back out there,” Gase said. “The things that he likes to work on, especially at this time of year, the passing game, he’s always wanting to do more. He lost of reps with the amount of time he missed. I know that’s one of his things. He wants to get out there and keep working on that.”
It’s unknown if Ajayi will see any preseason action this week.
“No indication right now; but I’m healthy, I’m good to go,” Ajayi said of Thursday’s game. “I’ve been practicing, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I played on Thursday.”
One positive for Ajayi is that he received a vote of confidence from his head coach.
“He looks good to me,” Gase said. “He’s executing really well and we just want to keep giving him reps just so he can really have the whole offense down.”
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Kenyan Drake has essentially taken Ajayi’s place after suffering a concussion during Monday’s practice.
Drake is now in the concussion protocol and will likely miss at least a few days, which should include Thursday’s preseason game.
If both runners sit out Thursday, don’t expect to see much of Damien Williams either.
Roster longshots De’Veon Smith, Senorise Perry and Storm Johnson will see the bulk of the carries against Baltimore.