The Miami Dolphins defense has been torched through the air several times this season. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the team struggled mightily to slow down MVP candidate Russell Wilson, particularly in the second half. Luckily for head coach Brian Flores and company, it looks as though Miami will be getting marquee free agent acquisition Byron Jones back from injury for this week’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Per Thursday’s injury report, Jones, the highest paid player on Miami’s roster, got in his first full session of practice since injuring his groin against the Buffalo Bills back in Week 2. Jones had been a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice session. His addition to the starting lineup would do wonders for a unit that has been relying on rookie cornerback Noah Igbinoghene on the boundary.
Though Igbinoghene’s athleticism and motor have been on full display for several contests, he’s had significant trouble slowing down top talents on opposing offenses in coverage. The 2020 first-round pick out of Auburn is clearly still raw after transitioning to the cornerback position just a couple of years ago, and it’ll take some time before he’s ready to cover top receivers like DK Metcalf and Stefon Diggs one-on-one. Adding Jones to the starting lineup will allow Flores to play Igbinoghene in the slot or in less-frequent bursts, giving the rookie time to adjust to the NFL at a slower pace.
The Dolphins had three players miss Thursday’s practice entirely. Rookie tackle Austin Jackson (foot) was absent for the second straight day after suffering an injury midway through Miami’s game against Seattle. It’s unclear if he’ll practice on Friday and be ready for Sunday’s contest. Wide receiver/running back Malcolm Perry (illness) was also absent after practicing Wednesday. It does not appear as though Perry’s issue is related to COVID-19. Tight end Durham Smythe (knee) was also entirely absent. It’s looking unlikely for Smythe to suit up against San Francisco, meaning Adam Shaheen will likely see extended playing time behind Mike Gesicki.
Defensive end Shaq Lawson (shoulder) was upgraded to “limited” on Thursday after being unable to practice on Wednesday. Lawson suffered his shoulder injury during last week’s game against the Seahawks, but was able to return to the game and play through the issue.
Rookie guard Solomon Kindley (foot) and wide receiver DeVante Parker (ankle) were upgraded from limited participants in Wednesday’s practice to full participants on Thursday. Both should be good to go for Sunday’s game. Safety Clayton Fejedelem (pectoral), safety Kavon Frazier (shoulder), and cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) were all listed as full participants on Thursday’s report.