By Abraham Gutierrez
Looking to snap a dreadful two-game losing skid, the Miami Dolphins return to South Florida to host a banged-up Tennessee Titans side. With question marks surrounding the health and (game-time) status of Tennessee’s starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, Miami will look to capitalize with a much-needed “W” Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
In total, head coach Adam Gase and his staff listed a total of seven hobbled players in their NFL Week 5 injury report. Luckily, no one has been ruled out, as there are five players listed as questionable and the pair whose statuses will be a game-time decision are expected to start.
Rey Maualuga set for Fins debut
For the first time all season, linebacker Rey Maualuga is absent from Miami’s weekly injury report. The best part is that, not only is he healthy enough to make his long-awaited Dolphins debut, but he is also expected to start.
“My feeling, the way I’ve been practicing all week with the first group, I would hope that I’m ready to go and they’ve got all the trust in me to go in there and line up and get the job done,” Maualuga said.
As a result, outside linebacker Mike Hull (shoulder injury—full participation in practice) will be coming off the bench after starting every game this season.
Meanwhile, the former Cincinnati Bengal will be asked to try ad contain Tennessee’s double-headed rushing attack consisting of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry – who have combined to average almost five yards per carry.
“I think it’ll be a good first game to come back to,” Maualuga said. “As long as they keep running the ball, I think the more you’ll see me on the field. We’ll see what happens.”
Dolphins’ cornerback issues
After suffering a shoulder injury in last week’s loss to New Orleans, all indications are that starting cornerback Xavien Howard (shoulder injury—full participation in practice) will start in Sunday’s home opener. That is particularly good news given the fact that Adam Gase has expressed very little faith in Byron Maxwell (hamstring injury—full participation in practice) as a starter.
“You’ll have to ask him that specific question,” said the Fins head coach when asked why he’d decided to demote the seventh-year-an out of Clemson. “[Maxwell] hasn’t shown me any signs as far as doing anything different than what he’s always done as far as working at practice and trying to find ways to get better. I know last week when we practiced, he came out and every day he battled. He did scout team. He did stuff with the regular defense. That’s more of a question for him. But as far as what I’ve seen. I haven’t really seen a change in his practice habits.”
Dolphins’ offense will have all hands on deck
Coming in ranked last in the National Football League in points scored (8.3 ppg) and total yards per game (249 typg), Fins fans would be glad to know that Gase and his staff all hands will be on deck on the offensive side of the rock.
The only offensive players listed in the team’s NFL Week 5 injury report were starting center Mike Pouncey (hip injury—did not practice all week) and first-string running back Jay Ajayi (knee injury—did not practice in Thursday’s).
However, all indications are that the purpose of their absence was described as a “customary Thursday off,” and they are both expected to start when the team finally plays in South Florida.
“I can’t wait to go out there and play in front of our home crowd,” Pouncey said. “Obviously we can never use that as an excuse. We got dealt this schedule and we’ve just had to deal with it, but it feels good to finally be able to play in a home game.”
Miami Dolphins NFL Week 5 Injury Report & Game Statuses
- (CB) Byron Maxwell (Hamstring) –Full Participation in Practice
- (CB) Xavien Howard (Shoulder) –Full Participation in Practice
- (DE) Terrence Fede (Shoulder) –Full Participation in Practice
- (DT) Jordan Phillips (Ankle) –Limited Participation in Practice
- (LB) Mike Hull (Shoulder) –Full Participation in Practice
- (RB) Jay Ajayi (Undisclosed Injury) –Did Not Participate In Practice
- (C) Mike Pouncey (Undisclosed Injury) –Did Not Participate In Practice