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Cornerback Xavien Howard trending in the right direction as Week 1 approaches

Howard, who has struggled with injures, is running well as the Miami Dolphins prepare to face the New England Patriots.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Roughly a week ago it seemed like it may be some time before cornerback Xavien Howard competes in a regular season game. However, things seem to be quickly changing in Davie as Howard is not only practicing, but is running well, according to Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post.

Howard was on both the COVID-19 and physically unable to perform lists less than a week ago, was activated on Aug. 27 and even competed in the team’s scrimmage at Hard Rock Stadium on Aug. 29.

With Howard back and looking strong in practice, it is possible that he could suit up when the Dolphins travel to New England on Sept. 13. While the Dolphins unloaded a few cornerstones shortly before the start of the 2019 season, Chris Grier and Brian Flores expect Howard to be a key member of the team’s future, especially after signing him to a five-year $76.5 million deal in May of 2019.

Howard, who is entering his fifth year, has struggled with injuries in the past and has only played 16 games once in his professional career. The optimistic buzz at camp will hopefully continue into the regular season as Howard will suit up across from Byron Jones, who the Dolphins signed this offseason.

If Howard and Jones can both stay healthy, the Dolphins will have one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL. However, if Howard isn’t ready for week 1, odds are first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene will line up as a boundary cornerback across from Jones.