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By Abraham Gutierrez 

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In last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins gave their fans a glimpse into what a healthy squad – particularly the offensive line — can do against one of the premier teams in the National Football League. With Adam Gase and his troops ready to host Buffalo on Sunday, Miami’s Week 7 injury reports could determine weather the Fins will pull off back-to-back upsets, or whether Rex Ryan’s sophisticated blitz packages will expose Ryan Tannehill and this fragile offense yet again.

Reshad Jones, Arguably Best Defender, Out For Season

The good news is that out of the nine players listed in this week’s injury report, none belongs to the offensive line. The bad news is that Pro Bowl free safety Reshad Jones (2016 NFL stats: 50 tackles, 0.5 sacks, INT), arguably Miami’s best defender, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury.

“Reshad is a big part of what we’ve done in the past and going forward,” said Dolphins defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph. “I’m not overly concerned. It definitely hurts with Reshad, but we can’t worry about that.”

Miami’s immediate solution for filling the huge void left by Reshad Jones’ absence will be a multi-player effort with free safety Michael Thomas and strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus alternating reps and roles.

“When you make a change like that, you are hoping to keep the guy who’s played in the same role,” explained Joseph. “That’s sometimes tough to do. We will have different packages where Isa is playing [Jones’] role and Michael’s playing [Jones’] role, kind of play to both guys’ strengths. It will be a little bit different than what you see with [Jones] out there.”

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In addition to personnel problems in the secondary, the Dolphins will also be thin when it comes to Tannehill’s options down the middle of the field. That’s because first and second-string tight ends, Jordan Cameron (6 catches, 60 yards, TD) and Dion Sims (8 catches, 94 yards), have been ruled out due to concussions. Thus, Gase will rely on MarQueis Gray (3 catches, 81 yards) and Dominique Jones (3 catches, 12 yards) to pick up the slack in Cameron and Sims’ absence.

Rookie Cornerback Ruled Out For This Week’s Game

Moving along, there’s one more player that will be a DNP on Sunday and one whose game status remains a mystery. Dealing with a knee injury, cornerback (CB) Xavien Howard (28 tackles, forced fumble) was unable to participate in this week’s practice. The rookie out of Baylor will miss his third straight ballgame.

Finally, after being seen in the practice field all week, it is unknown weather defensive end Jason Jones (16 tackles, 1.5 sacks) will play versus the Bills. Gase and his coaching staff listed the ninth-year man out of Eastern Michigan as having had Full Participation In Practice this week, despite the fact that he wasn’t wearing pads or a helmet. Here’s how the Fins’ final Injury Report for Week 7 of the 2016 NFL season looks like:

Questionable:

  • (CB) Tony Lippett (Hamstring)–Limited Participation in Practice
  • (LB) Jelani Jenkins (Groin)–Full Participation in Practice
  • (LB) Spencer Paysinger (Calf/Hamstring)–Limited Participation in Practice
  • (RB) Arian Foster (Hamstring)–Full Participation in Practice

Out:

  • (CB) Xavien Howard (Knee)–Did Not Participate In Practice
  • (TE) Dion Sims (Concussion)–Did Not Participate In Practice
  • (TE) Jordan Cameron (Concussion)–Did Not Participate In Practice
  • (S) Reshad Jones (Shuoulder)–Did Not Participate In Practice
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Unknown:

  • (DE) Jason Jones (Not Injury Related)–Full Participation in Practice