The Miami Dolphins got some reinforcement for their wide receiver corps Thursday, and more help could be on the way.
Rookie free agent Kirk Merritt was elevated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement Thursday, while Jakeem Grant returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.
Grant was listed as a limited participant, so his return to practice certainly doesn't guarantee he'll be able to play in the regular season finale against the Buffalo Bills. But clearly it's a step in the right direction.
DeVante Parker also is a question mark for the Buffalo game; he has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and again was limited in practice Thursday.
Merritt's practice squad elevation comes after the Dolphins promoted Isaiah Ford to the active roster earlier this week.
The other wide receivers on the roster are Lynn Bowden Jr., Mack Hollins and Malcolm Perry.
In a move that was expected after Brian Flores' earlier comments, the Dolphins placed linebacker Elandon Roberts on injured reserve.
Roberts sustained a knee injury during the 26-25 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night and Flores said earlier this week the injury was "significant."
In his first season with the Dolphins, Roberts played 13 games with 11 starts. He's fourth on the team in tackles with 61, and third in tackles for loss with eight.
The Dolphins injury report Thursday remained unchanged other than Grant returning to practice.
For a second consecutive day, Parker, guard Solomon Kindley (knee), safety Bobby McCain (ankle) and edge defender Shaq Lawson (shoulder) were limited.
The Bills injury report was the same as Wednesday: WR Cole Beasley (knee), G Jon Feliciano (illness) and TE Reggie Gilliam (knee/hamstring) again did not practice; and QB Jake Fromm (not injury related) again was listed as a limited participant.
It's looking like there's a good chance there'll be some snow falling in Buffalo on Sunday, but Flores says he's not concerned.
The forecast for Buffalo for Sunday, according to AccuWeather.com, calls for an 81 percent chance of precipitation.
“I mean, the elements are what they are," Flores said. "I don’t see it having much of an impact. I’ve played and coached in snow before, so 1 to 3 (inches) should be OK there as far as play-calling and things of that nature. I don’t see it being that big of an issue, to be honest with you.”
Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who grew up in Hawaii before attending the University of Alabama, said he has never played in snow, though it did snow in Alabama during his freshman year in college.
ON THIS DAY IN DOLPHINS HISTORY
1972 — Bob Griese comes off the bench at halftime to lead the Dolphins to a 21-17 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game as they continue their perfect season and advance to Super Bowl VII.
1994 — Dan Marino throws two touchdown passes and the Dolphins outlast Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17, in a first-round playoff game in Miami.
2017 — Jarvis Landry's nine receptions in the Dolphins' 22-16 season-ending loss against Buffalo helps him finish as the NFL leader with 112, at the same time breaking his own team record of 110 set in 2015.
Tight end Durham Smythe on the opportunity to make the playoffs: “I mean, it’s extremely important for us. We talk about finishing strong all year, dating back to virtual OTAs and training camp and things like that. When you have an opportunity in Week 17 to do just that, kind of the definition of the phrase ‘finish strong,’ I think it’s something that all of the guys are excited about. Obviously a situation where you can win a game and make the playoffs — there’s not a ton of playoff experience on this team and I think a lot of people are hungry to experience that. I think it’s just something that will get all of the guys excited. It’s something we’ve talked about for so long and there’s an obvious kind of reward there to be had.”