The Miami Dolphins returned from their bye this week with their sights set on extending their winning streak to three games when they face the Los Angeles Rams at Hard Rock Stadium.
The overwhelming majority of the focus from the outside this week was about the impending NFL starting debut of rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa, though it wasn't the only topic that made the news.
Here then are the five biggest stories of the week:
Like there's any debate about this! Tua's first NFL start has dominated the news cycle since word got out that the Dolphins were making a quarterback change, and it was the overriding focus of every Zoom media sessions players and coaches conducted this week. Every angle of Tua's first start seemingly was covered, from his performance in practice, to the challenge of the Rams defense, to his leadership style.
The Dolphins fired back forcefully after the South Florida Sun-Sentinel story suggesting the team was fielding trade offers for 2018 Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and was seriously considering moving him. The story came after a tweet by former NFL defensive lineman Leger Douzable suggesting Howard was on the trading block. The bottom line in all of this is that it's possible — maybe even probable — that every side is accurate here because it certainly makes sense for teams to make calls inquiring about players and entertaining offers and considering them isn't the same as actively shopping a player. The bottom line is the story appeared Tuesday and Howard's name hasn't come up in trade speculation since then.
The Dolphins have made a lot of trade in recent years, some more successful than others, and the one for tight end Adam Shaheen sure looks good to this point. Shaheen has done enough in his short time in Miami to convince the organization to keep him around, and to that end the Dolphins signed him to a two-year contract extension this week. Considering the Dolphins gave the Chicago Bears a conditional sixth-round pick to get Shaheen, this looks like a steal.
4. Showing Sanders Some Respect
Kicker Jason Sanders was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, earning the award for the second time in his three-year career. But when he was honored last December, it was because of his part in the NFL Play of the Year ("Mountaineer Shot") along with his team-record seven field goals against the Jets. This time was better. Sanders was recognized for perfection because he was 11-for-11 on field goals and 7-for-7 on PATs during the Dolphins' three games this month. Oh, and he had back-to-back games with five goals, something that hadn't been done in the NFL since 2010.
5. Back In Action
The bye week was good for the Dolphins in that it allowed the four players injured in the 24-0 victory against the Jets on Oct. 18 to come back. The four were wide receiver DeVante Parker, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. Also back at practice and ready to play is linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who missed the Jets game with foot and groin injuries.