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Dolphins Notebook: Long Wait Over, X's Restructure, Lindsay Thoughts, More

Tight end Hunter Long likely will be active against Carolina for only the fourth time in his rookie season

Based on a lot of social media comments over the past several weeks, there's going to be a lot of joy and relief over rookie third-round pick Hunter Long getting back into the lineup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Long will be active for the fourth time this season because of the knee injury that will sideline fellow tight end Adam Shaheen.

Even though he's only played 29 offensive snaps all season along with five on special teams (all of those coming in the opener at New England) and he's obviously excited to get back in the lineup against Carolina, Long understands how things work.

"I knew coming in this year that I’d get some opportunities and have to try to make the most of them," Long said. "I’ve tried to keep it even the whole year and attack each week the same, so this week was no different and the past seven or whatever (weeks) were no different either.

"I came into this year with really no expectations for where I was going to fall and what chances I was going to get. I think that probably helped the most. I’m not expecting too much or too little and trying to stay as even-keeled as possible through it. Obviously we have a lot of good tight ends and I love those guys, so it’s been awesome to see them do their thing. But, like I said, I attack each week the same and I’m excited for this week.”


Some thoughts and tidbits on newly acquired Phillip Lindsay:

-- The Dolphins were the only team to put in a waiver for Lindsay after he was released by the Houston Texans on Tuesday.

-- Lindsay played for Houston on a one-year contract, meaning the fourth-year player will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason until he signs a new deal.

-- Lindsay will be wearing number 31 with the Dolphins after wearing 30 with both the Denver Broncos and the Texans.

-- Given that he didn't join the team until Wednesday afternoon and he'll basically have one walk-through and one practice before the Carolina game, it would seem highly unlikely Lindsay will be ready to contribute, but head coach Brian Flores didn't close the door on the idea Friday.

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“I think it’s safe to say it’s hard to get somebody ready in a walk-through and one practice and play him," Flores said. "Phillip is motivated to give himself an opportunity to do that. We’re going to try to get him as up to speed as possible but yeah, that’s not an easy thing to do – a walkthrough, a practice and you’re out there. I think a lot of this is getting to know his teammates, the names of all the offensive linemen, the names of all the receivers. I think that’s something that is an important piece to that and it’s hard to get that in a couple days, although he’s working towards it. He’s, ‘What’s your name? What’s your name?’ (It’s been) one day. He’s got a lot of juice, energy and excitement and we’ll see him in practice (Friday).”

-- Last one on Lindsay, even though both he and Duke Johnson came to the Dolphins from Houston, they never played together for the Texans because Johnson was cut in February. Lindsay does have a friendly relationship with running back Patrick Laird from their days in college when Lindsay was at Colorado and Laird at Cal. The two faced each other in 2017 and Lindsay rushed for 161 yards and Laird led Cal with 52 yards plus four receptions in Colorado's 44-28 victory in Boulder. "I actually remember the first time I met him, it was after a game that we played at Boulder and he came up to me and he knew my story," Laird recalled Friday. "He’s like, ‘Hey man, I know you’re a walk-on and now you’re starting. I think that’s awesome.’ To me, I’ve always thought he was a really good dude, so we’ve stayed in touch over the years.”


One of the remaining questions regarding the Dolphins roster for the Carolina game after the final injury report was released was whether center Michael Deiter will be in the lineup.

That answer will come no later than late Saturday afternoon, by which team the Dolphins have to activate him for the game if he is to play. Head coach Brian Flores didn't provide an indication one way or another before practice Friday, saying only Deiter had done "some good things" in his first practice back.

If the Dolphins do activate Deiter, they'll have to make a corresponding move to make room for him, though it won't necessarily involve an offensive lineman because they currently have eight players at that position and nine is far from an egregious total.


For the second time in 2021, the Dolphins have restructured the contract of All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, this time moving money around to create more cap space.

The move, reported Thursday morning by NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, created a little less than $3.8 million of cap space and provided the Dolphins some flexibility to make roster moves in the final weeks of the 2021 season.

Of course, the first restructure, completed in August, was done to address Howard's displeasure with his contract and resolved what had become a potentially messy situation.


Back to Laird, he had a huge play in the victory against the Jets last week when he kept the opening touchdown drive alive by breaking a couple of tackles to convert a third down after catching a short outlet pass from Tua Tagovailoa.

It turns out the play had a nice twist involving former Cal teammate Ashtyn Davis.

"It was funny because it was a teammate at Cal that was the first one to come at me," Laird said. "I didn’t even know that until after the game and he told me, so I felt bad about that. Not really. (laughter) He was another walk-on at Cal too, which is cool. So it was fun to play against him. Then obviously he made some good plays, so I got that one on him but he got us on a couple of other plays.”