It's the start of another game week for the Miami Dolphins, and it's the same old, same old when it comes to wide receivers Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker.
Both players have been eligible to return to practice because it's been more than three weeks since they were placed on injured reserve, but head coach Brian Flores repeated the same answer he's used for a few weeks when asked about their status for the upcoming game against the New York Giants next Sunday.
“Again, with both of those guys, it’s no different than where we were at this time last week," Flores said. "We’ll see on Wednesday. Both are obviously getting better and getting closer. They’ll work out today and tomorrow, which will tell us a little bit more, and kind of if we’re there yet. We’ll make the best decision for each one of those guys individually and for our team.”
In case anyone has forgotten, Fuller has been sidelined by a finger injury he sustained in the Week 4 game against the Indianapolis Colts, while Parker has missed the past four games with a hamstring injury.
While they're both high-profile wide receivers with plenty of ability, their absence hasn't been devastating because of how much rookie Jaylen Waddle has been able to contribute and because of the way Tua Tagovailoa has been distributing the ball in the short passing game.
Having said that, it obviously wouldn't hurt if either or both player came back to the lineup, but there's just no guarantee it's going to happen this week and it's not like the Dolphins haven't won four games in a row with both sidelined.
Center Michael Deiter also is on injured reserve, but he practiced last week and it probably shouldn't be a surprise if he returned to the starting lineup against the Giants.
Deiter started the first three games of the season, and Greg Mancz and Austin Reiter have started in his absence. But Reiter is coming off a game where he delivered two low shotgun snaps, the second of which actually bounced on its way to Tagovailoa.
Back to Deiter, the Dolphins have two more weeks to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or keep him on IR for the rest of the season.
“I thought he played well early in the season," Flores said. "It’s a while back now. But, yeah, it was unfortunate that he got injured but he’s worked his way back. Obviously he practiced last week, as you know. I thought he did some good things last week in practice. Obviously he wasn’t ready for us to call him up, but we’ll take this one day at a time and see how he practices this week. But he’s working his butt off to get back out there and he’ll try to get out there as soon as he can.”
Perhaps one indication that Deiter is ready to return came in the series of practice squad moves the Dolphins made Monday.
That move saw the Dolphins release veteran/guard Evan Boehm, who has started 21 games in four NFL seasons, including eight for Miami in 2019.
The Dolphins signed two players to the practice squad Monday: wide receiver Cody Core and defensive back Chris Milton. Core has played 51 NFL games with seven starts in four seasons, and he most recently played 16 (no starts) for the Giants in 2019. As for Milton, he comes to Miami having played 55 games with one start for the Colts and Titans. He played 14 games (no starts) for Tennessee last season.
Along with Boehm, the Dolphins also released linebacker Kobe Jones from the practice squad.
Finally on the practice squad, CB Javaris Davis and S Sheldrick Redwine reverted there after being elevated for the game against Carolina.
PHILLIPS FINDS A WAY
Edge defender Jaelan Phillips enjoyed a rare performance against the Panthers, tying a rookie franchise record with his three sacks.
It's a feat that hadn't been done since 1992 when Marco Coleman did it against the Indianapolis Colts. A.J. Duhe, like Phillips and Coleman a first-round pick, did it in 1977 against the New York Jets.
Additionally, Phillips was the first rookie in the NFL to get three sacks in a game since 2019 when Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby had four against Cincinnati.
“Honestly, I’ve got to give all the credit to my teammates," Phillips said Monday. "Without them, it wouldn’t have been possible. The first sack, Duke (Riley) and Christian (Wilkins) flushed Cam (Newton) out. The next sack, Zach (Sieler) flushed PJ (Walker) out and then the next one, ‘Gink’ (Andrew Van Ginkel) helped flush him forward in the pocket. I think honestly, as a team, we’ve been doing really well these last few weeks just continuing to play together and to build on what we’re working on. Give a lot of credit to the DBs for giving us time to get to the quarterback and for the other d-linemen for getting pressures to make it happen.”
FLORES' GIANTS CONNECTIONS
The matchup at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday will bring together a bunch of friends and former colleagues, starting with the two head coaches.
Brian Flores and Joe Judge, of course, worked together during their time with the New England Patriots and the Giants staff also includes former Dolphins assistants Patrick Graham and Jerry Schuplinski.
Graham served one year as defensive coordinator under Flores and is now the assistant head coach/DC for the Giants.
“Pat and I are good friends," Flores said. "We shared an office together. We’ve had our spats. Our wives are best friends. Our kids hang out. Pat is a great friend of mine. From a football coaching standpoint, we’re more brothers than anything. So I have a lot of respect for him."
Flores then explained Graham's departure after that 2019 season.
"I would never stand in the way of somebody doing something that they wanted to do," Flores said. "That was something that Pat wanted to do. I have a lot of respect for him and his family and that’s something that – I support him. I support him in that situation. I’m always going to support him. But Pat and – that’s my man 50 Graham as many will say. A lot of respect for him and Joe and Jerry.”