Dolphins starting linebacker Jaelan Phillips and center Connor Williams did not practice on Wednesday because of injuries, and their status is in question for Sunday’s game at Buffalo (1 p.m., CBS).
Meanwhile, receiver Jaylen Waddle is due to practice on Wednesday afternoon and will leave concussion protocol if he exits practice without any concussion symptoms.
As for Phillips, he’s dealing with an oblique injury, while Williams has a groin injury. Both sustained those injuries in the 70-20 thumping of Denver on Sunday.
If Phillips cannot play on Sunday, Andrew Van Ginkel likely would start at outside linebacker.
If Williams cannot play, Liam Eichenberg likely would start at center. Eichenberg played 30 snaps against Denver after Williams’ injury. He had never played center in a game in his life before Sunday.
Eichenberg “rose to the challenge in a very necessary way” against Denver, coach Mike McDaniel said. “I put an asterisk, much like a backup quarterback coming in, because it’s a unique situation where you go 0 to 60 and touch the ball every play. There are things he can improve on for sure. He executed his assignments; there were a lot of appropriately called run and pass plays when he was in and that starts and ends with the center.”
Receiver River Cracraft (shoulder injury) is out for an undisclosed period of time. Asked if Cracraft is headed to injured reserve, McDaniel said: “We are taking a little time to try to assess that. That’s definitely not a certainty and definitely not out of the question, either. We’re seeing how his body responds day in and day out.”
Running back Salvon Ahmed (groin) will do “some stuff” during Wednesday’s practice, McDaniel said. “He was playing at a high level before he got hurt. It will be good to see him get going.”
McDaniel addressed other issues:
▪ He liked how Justin Bethel and Parry Nickerson played nickel corner against Denver.
“They didn’t do anything to warrant not having those jobs,” McDaniel said. “Those decisions will be made as the week progresses based on game plan and how the practice week goes. I was very happy how they rose to the challenge. They proved us right by putting them out there.”
During the first two weeks of the season, starting boundary cornerback Kader Kohou moved inside to the slot when Miami played three cornerbacks, and Eli Apple played on the boundary in those three-cornerback packages.
Against Denver, Kohou stayed on the boundary, Bethel and Nickerson shared work in the slot, and Apple didn’t play until late in the game.
▪ On playing the Bills, who had nine sacks in their 37-0 win against Washington on Sunday: “They have earned the right to be the division champion for several years and they continue to play at a high level. It’s a very, very difficult challenge that I think our players are comfortable with.”
▪ On the organizational decision to keep adding players with speed, McDaniel said that he and general manager Chris Grier have “always shared commonality for talent, particularly the skill positions. I definitely wasn’t here when Jaylen Waddle was drafted. There are a lot of guys who can run. There’s a difference being a fast guy who’s a football player.”
▪ On Tua Tagovailoa: “He has a God-given skill set that’s unique and special. He is so focused.”