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Coach Mike McDaniel explains rookie CB Cam Smith’s lack of playing time against the Eagles

Miami’s coaching staff wasn’t ready to throw the second-round pick into the fire.

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins struggled without cornerback Xavien Howard as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-17 primetime win.

Miami leaned on cornerbacks Eli Apple and Kader Kohou, who each allowed over 100 yards in coverage, according to PFF. Apple was targetted 11 times in coverage, allowing eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. Hurts attacked Kohou in coverage nine times, completing eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Howard and Jalen Ramsey will soon bolster Miami’s secondary, but coach Mike McDaniel was asked about second-round rookie Cam Smith and his lack of playing time.

“It’s just the natural growth,” McDaniel explained on Sunday. “There’s many different journeys that players take and he’s got a room of very capable players and I think you have to do right by the team and right by the player to make sure they’re appropriately versed, and the main thing with him is that by all testaments he’s getting better and better and closer and closer to doing that.”

The Dolphins allow 233 passing yards per game, but considering they’re holding opposing quarterbacks to 7.4 yards per completion, McDaniel’s concerns are valid. The last time Smith saw extended action, Miami’s 31-18 preseason loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, C.J Beathard connected with Tim Jones for a 74-yard touchdown reception.

However, this doesn’t mean Smith is headed in the wrong direction just seven games into his NFL career. A 17-game season features plenty of twists and turns and McDaniel is confident Smith’s time will come.

“You don’t just have guys learn on the fly with a position like that in my opinion because it’s like a quarterback where you don’t want to hurt their progression by having them see the field too soon,” McDaniel said. “There can be scar tissue with that.

“I really like the way Cam goes about his business and he’ll see his time on the field at some point but [Sunday] was not that [day].”